The Priestly Blessing in Inscription and Scripture: The Early History of Numbers 6:24-26

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9780199399970: The Priestly Blessing in Inscription and Scripture: The Early History of Numbers 6:24-26
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The Priestly Blessing found in Numbers 6:24-26 left a deep imprint upon Jewish and Christian religious practice and tradition. The various ways in which the blessing was incorporated into these liturgical traditions, for example, are well documented in a variety of written sources from the past two thousand years. Rabbinic literature demonstrates that the blessing held a central place in early Jewish traditions, especially as part of the development of the Amidah and other liturgical prayers. Christian tradition also attests to a rich diversity of applications of the blessing in Byzantine and Medieval Christian practice. While the Priestly Blessing's development and significance in Judaism and early Christianity are well documented, considerably less is known about its earliest history in the ancient world.

The Priestly Blessing in Inscription and Scripture breaks new ground in the study of the origins and early history of the blessing by examining its appearance on two Iron Age amulets discovered at the site of Ketef Hinnom in Jerusalem. Jeremy Smoak provides a comprehensive description of the two amulets and compares the inscriptions on their surfaces with several Phoenician and Punic inscribed amulets. He argues that the blessing's language originated within a wider tradition of protective words, which were often inscribed on metal amulets as protection against evil. He contends that the Priestly writers of the biblical texts incorporated the specific words into the blessing's formulations precisely due to their wide popularity and appeal as protective words in the eastern Mediterranean world.

Smoak's argument represents an important departure from earlier studies on the background of the blessing's language in the ancient Near East, and it sheds significant new light on the history of their use within early Judaism and Christianity.

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About the Author:


Jeremy D. Smoak is a Continuing Lecturer in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at UCLA, where he teaches courses in Hebrew Bible, Israelite religions, and ancient Near Eastern literature. His current research focuses on inner-biblical exegesis, prophetic literature, and northwest Semitic inscriptions.

Review:


"Smoak's carefully constructed and well-presented monograph leaves us with much to think about and with an impressive set of plausible explanations for numerous, intriguing problems." -- Stefan C. Reif (University of Cambridge), Biblische Notizen Biblical Notes Vol.176


"In his new study on this important topic, Jeremy Smoak has done a masterful job of bringing together and carefully considering all the relevant texts-both in and outside the Bible-that bear on this issue, as well as giving a comprehensive, prudent, and completely up-to-date evaluation and assessment of all the relevant scholarly analyses on the relationship of the Numbers passage to the Ketef Hinnom and other similar texts. Smoak's book thus lays an essential foundation for all further discussion on this topic and will thus prove invaluable to all who would focus on further study of this prayer and how it functioned in ancient times." --Bruce Zuckerman, Professor of Religion and Linguistics, University of Southern California


"Smoak's book is a fresh approach to the interpretation of the Priestly Blessing in the Book of Numbers, especially in the light of the significance of the amulets from Ketef Hinnom. Smoak draws on some of the other contemporaneous extra-biblical inscriptions for unique insight into the background of the Priestly Blessing. Smoak carefully examines the intricacies of the wording of the blessing, and presents an original analysis of its function. I highly recommend this book." --Judith Hadley, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible and Archaeology in the Theology and Religious Studies Dept., Villanova University


"Alone among biblical texts, the Priestly Blessing is the only one for which direct evidence survives from ancient Judah, and Smoak richly illuminates its life context in the numerous amulets from this period. In addition to being the single best resource on a prayer central to the Hebrew Bible and Jewish identity, this book is also a compelling argument for using inscriptions as primary sources to reorient our view of an ancient world usually seen through a biblical lens." --Seth L. Sanders, Associate Professor of Religion, Trinity College


"...The Priestly Blessing in Inscription & Scripture is still invaluable for studies on Numbers and ancient Israelite religion... The Priestly Blessing in Inscription & Scripture by Jeremy Smoak must be addressed, and perhaps purchased, for solid methodology and excellently evidenced and fresh conclusions." --The Biblical Review


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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2015. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The biblical Priestly Blessing found in Numbers 6:24-26 left a deep imprint upon Jewish and Christian religious practice and tradition. The various ways in which the blessing was incorporated into the liturgical traditions, for example, are well documented in a variety of written sources from the past two thousand years. Rabbinic literature demonstrates that the blessing held a central place in early Jewish traditions, especially as part of the development of the Amidah and other liturgical prayers. Christian tradition also attests to a rich diversity of applications of the blessing in Byzantine and Medieval Christian practice. While the Priestly Blessing s development and significance in Judaism and early Christianity are well documented, considerably less known about its earliest history in the ancient world. The Priestly Blessing in Inscription and Scripture breaks new ground in the study of the origins and early history of the blessing by examining its appearance on two Iron Age amulets discovered at the site of Ketef Hinnom in Jerusalem. Jeremy Smoak provides a comprehensive description of the two amulets and compares the inscriptions on their surfaces with several Phoenician and Punic inscribed amulets. He argues that the blessing s language originated within a wider tradition of protective words, which were often inscribed on metal amulets as protection against evil. He contends that the Priestly writers of the biblical texts incorporated the specific words into the blessing s formulations precisely due to their wide popularity and appeal as protective words in the eastern Mediterranean world. This argument represents an important departure from earlier studies on the background of the blessing s language in the ancient Near East, and it sheds significant new light on the history of their use within early Judaism and Christianity. Seller Inventory # AOP9780199399970

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2015. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The biblical Priestly Blessing found in Numbers 6:24-26 left a deep imprint upon Jewish and Christian religious practice and tradition. The various ways in which the blessing was incorporated into the liturgical traditions, for example, are well documented in a variety of written sources from the past two thousand years. Rabbinic literature demonstrates that the blessing held a central place in early Jewish traditions, especially as part of the development of the Amidah and other liturgical prayers. Christian tradition also attests to a rich diversity of applications of the blessing in Byzantine and Medieval Christian practice. While the Priestly Blessing s development and significance in Judaism and early Christianity are well documented, considerably less known about its earliest history in the ancient world. The Priestly Blessing in Inscription and Scripture breaks new ground in the study of the origins and early history of the blessing by examining its appearance on two Iron Age amulets discovered at the site of Ketef Hinnom in Jerusalem. Jeremy Smoak provides a comprehensive description of the two amulets and compares the inscriptions on their surfaces with several Phoenician and Punic inscribed amulets. He argues that the blessing s language originated within a wider tradition of protective words, which were often inscribed on metal amulets as protection against evil. He contends that the Priestly writers of the biblical texts incorporated the specific words into the blessing s formulations precisely due to their wide popularity and appeal as protective words in the eastern Mediterranean world. This argument represents an important departure from earlier studies on the background of the blessing s language in the ancient Near East, and it sheds significant new light on the history of their use within early Judaism and Christianity. Seller Inventory # AOP9780199399970

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