Babel?s Tower Translated: Genesis 11 and Ancient Jewish Interpretation

Babel?s Tower Translated: Genesis 11 and Ancient Jewish Interpretation

by Phillip Michael Sherman


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In Babel's Tower Translated, Phillip Sherman explores the narrative of Genesis 11 and its reception and interpretation in several Second Temple and Early Rabbinic texts (e.g., Jubilees, Philo, Genesis Rabbah). The account of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9) is famously ambiguous. The meaning of the narrative and the actions or both the human characters and the Israelite deity defy any easy explanation. This work explores how changing historical and hermeneutical realities altered and shifted the meaning of the text in Jewish antiquity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789004205093
Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 03/07/2013
Series: Biblical Interpretation Series , #117
Pages: 364
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Phillip Michael Sherman, PhD. (Emory University, 2008) is Assistant Professor of Religion at Maryville College (Maryville, TN USA).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements ix

Abbreviations xi

Introduction: Interpretation as Translation or Exegesis and Historical Hermeneutics 1

Part I Unearthing The Tower

Introduction to Part I 11

1 Return to Babel: Reading without the Canon 17

2 Reading Babel Backwards. Canonical Foundations for Exegetical Expansion 43

Part II Rewritten Babel

Introduction to Part II 87

3 The Holy Language in the Book of Jubilees: The Tower of Babel and the Eclipse of Sacred Tradition 97

4 Pseudo-Philo's Biblical Antiquities: Echoes of the Tower 121

5 Josephus and the Influence of Anxiety: Colonizing the Tower and the Politics of Dispersion 153

6 Translated to Heaven: The Tower of Babel and Third (Greek)Baruch 195

7 The Inner Tower: Philo and the Translation of Cultures 217

Part III The Rabbinic Babel: Midrash As Translation

Introduction to Part III 277

8 A Just Translation: Reading the Rabbinic Babel in Genesis Rabbah 289

Conclusion 333

Bibliography 337

Index of Ancient Sources 355

Index of Modern Authors 361

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