Rethinking ‘Authority’ in Late Antiquity: Authorship, Law, and Transmission in Jewish and Christian Tradition, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Rethinking ‘Authority’ in Late Antiquity

Authorship, Law, and Transmission in Jewish and Christian Tradition, 1st Edition

Edited by A.J. Berkovitz, Mark Letteney

Routledge

226 pages

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Description

The historian’s task involves unmasking the systems of power that underlie our sources. A historian must not only analyze the content and context of ancient sources, but also the structures of power, authority, and political contingency that account for their transmission, preservation, and survival. But as a tool for interpreting antiquity, "authority" has a history of its own. As authority gained pride of place in the historiographical order of knowledge, other types of contingency have faded into the background. This book’s introduction traces the genesis and growth of the category, describing the lacuna that scholars seek to fill by framing texts through its lens. The subsequent chapters comprise case studies from late ancient Christian and Jewish sources, asking what lies "beyond authority" as a primary tool of analysis. Each uncovers facets of textual and social history that have been obscured by overreliance on authority as historical explanation. While chapters focus on late ancient topics, the methodological intervention speaks to the discipline of history as a whole. Scholars of classical antiquity and the early medieval world will find immediately analogous cases and applications. Furthermore, the critique of the place of authority as used by historians will find wider resonance across the academic study of history.

Reviews

"This book delves into two of the most crucial themes in contemporary critical theory: authority and transmission. The essays cover a a wide variety of themes in Jewish and Christian textual history, but share one mission: to revisit, question and complicate the common (mis)conception that subjugates transmission to authority, and sees the latter as the key to the former. This superb collection is essential reading for anyone grappling with questions of literary transmission, authority in literature, and the complicated connections between them."

- Ishay Rosen-Zvi, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Table of Contents

List of contributors

Acknowledgements

CHAPTER 1: A.J. BERKOVITZ AND MARK LETTENEY, "AUTHORITY IN CONTEMPORARY HISTORIOGRAPHY"

The Problem

History Beyond Authority

Authorship and Authority

Authority and the Law

Transmission Beyond Authority

Conclusion

CHAPTER 2: HINDY NAJMAN, "READING BEYOND AUTHORITY"

The Authority Paradigm in Seconding Sinai

Philology Beyond Authority: The Case of Homer

AUTHORSHIP AND AUTHORITY

CHAPTER 3: MARK LETTENEY, "AUTHENTICITY AND AUTHORITY: THE CASE FOR DISMANTLING A DUBIOUS CORRELATION"

Reading Councils

Reading Acts

The Unreliability of Acts

The Chorus at Chalcedon

The Hand of the Editor

The Unreliability of Acts (Continued)

Resistive Readings and an Institutionalized Suspicion of Documents

Another layer of reading: Chalcedon at Constantinople

Christos Epistolographos

A dissenting opinion

Conclusion

CHAPTER 4: MATTHEW D. C. LARSEN, "CORRECTING THE GOSPEL: PUTTING THE TITLES OF THE GOSPELS IN HISTORICAL CONTEXT"

Didymus Chalkenturus and the Personal and City Editions of The Iliad

Galen and the Correcting Literary Activities of Mnemon of Side

2 Maccabees 2:13 and Nehemiah’s records

Gospel Texts and the Kat’ Andra Formula

Irenaeus and "gospel authorship"

Conclusion

CHAPTER 5: AJ BERKOVITZ, "BEYOND ATTRIBUTION AND AUTHORITY: THE CASE OF PSALMS IN RABBINIC HERMENEUTICS"

Identity of Author: Asaph as Case-Study

Compositional Circumstances of Psalmist

Authorship and Historical Anchoring

Conclusion

AUTHORITY AND THE LAW

CHAPTER 6: MARIA DOERFLER, "GLIMPSES FROM THE MARGINS: RE-TELLING LATE ANCIENT HISTORY AT THE EDGES OF THE LAW"

The Apostolic Past in the Didascalia Apostolorum

Glimpses of Late Antiquity in the Canonical Writings of ‘Abdīshō‘ bar Brīkhā

History from the Margins of the Law in Syriac Christian Writings

CHAPTER 7: JONATHAN A. POMERANZ, "CONCEALING THE LAW: THE LIMITS OF LEGAL PROMULGATION AMONG THE RABBIS OF BABYLONIA"

Rabbinic Teaching to Non-Rabbis: The Absence of Civil Law

Exclusive Legal Knowledge and the Advantages of Sages in Court

Concealing the Law and Judicial Discretion

Textual Authority without Textual Transmission

Legal Flexibility: An Ancient Near Eastern Tradition

Conclusion

AUTHORITY AND TRANSMISSION

CHAPTER 8: EVA MROCZEK, "TRUTH AND DOUBT IN MANUSCRIPT DISCOVERY NARRATIVES"

Find Stories as Authority

Find Stories Beyond Authority

CHAPTER 9: WINRICH LÖHR, "THE ORTHODOX TRANSMISSION OF HERESY" 190

Irenaeus of Lyon, Against the Heresies

Tertullian, Against the Valentinians

Hippolytus of Rome, Refutation of all Heresies

A provisional conclusion

Pirating Heretical Texts in the Defense of Orthodoxy: Epiphanius of Salamis and Augustine

Epiphanius, Aetius, and dueling editions

Augustine as editor of Pelagius

Conclusion

CHAPTER 10: SARIT KATTAN GRIBETZ, "CONSUMING TEXTS: WOMEN AS RECIPIENTS AND TRANSMITTERS OF ANCIENT TEXTS"

Rabbinic Texts and Traditions

The Soṭah Ritual, the Transmission of Torah, and the Consumption of Biblical Texts

The Transmission of the Soṭah Text by a Woman

Food Consumption and Female Transmission of Rabbinic Knowledge

Christian Texts and Traditions

Women as Readers and Transmitters of Written Texts

Reading as Eating

Conclusions: Every corpus has a corpus

EPILOGUE: C. M. CHIN: READING WITHOUT AUTHORITY

Index

About the Editors

Editor

Mark Letteney

Princeton, New Jersey, United States

Learn more about Mark Letteney >>

A. J. Berkovitz is Assistant Professor of Liturgy, Worship, and Ritual at Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion, USA. His forthcoming book focuses on the reception and practice of the Psalms in Late Antiquity, and explores issues related to book history and the Jewish-Christian encounter.

Mark Letteney is a PhD candidate in Princeton’s Department of Religion, USA. His dissertation considers the effects of Christian governance on scholarly practices in the late fourth and fifth centuries. He is also an archaeologist, co-directing the Solomon's Pools Archaeological Project in Palestine.

About the Series

Routledge Monographs in Classical Studies

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HIS002000
HISTORY / Ancient / General