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.
"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
List of contributors
CHAPTER 1: A.J. BERKOVITZ AND MARK LETTENEY, "AUTHORITY IN CONTEMPORARY HISTORIOGRAPHY"
History Beyond Authority
Authorship and Authority
Authority and the Law
Transmission Beyond Authority
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"
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
A dissenting opinion
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"
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
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
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
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