Holy Lives, Holy Deaths: A Close Hearing of Early Jewish Storytellers

Hardcover (Print)
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This volume guides the reader in listening to Early Jewish stories about holy figures which appear to have first been told between 150 B.C.E. and 150 C.E. Following new translations, the book provides a close hearing of the oral storytelling that generated these narratives now surviving only in literary form. Historical folklore must reconstruct storytelling performance from literary remains. Making use of contemporary folklore methods, the author examines the text, texture, and context of over one hundred stories, including birth prophecies, provision legends, prophetic stories of destruction or deliverance, and tales of martyrdom. A broad range of stories of these four types is presented in a way that reveals and illumines the oral patterns and characteristics of the storytellers. The stories are drawn from apocryphal and pseudepigraphical literature, Early Jewish historians, first-century Christian texts, and the Mishnah and early Talmudic writings. The Christian tradition is included here because it was generated within sectarian Judaism, and the first reports about Jesus appeared from Jewish storytellers. This work aims to shift the attention of biblical scholars and historians of religion away from an exclusive focus on the thought and art of writers or authors, and toward a wider recognition of the work of the storytellers, men and women alike, who generated the traditions that ultimately came to be preserved in written form.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (www.sbl-site.org)

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Editorial Reviews

Wire (New Testament, San Francisco Theological Seminary and Graduate Theological Union) presents and analyzes 129 stories about prophecy at birth, wondrous provision, prophets' signs, and martyrdom and vindication. She also draws conclusions about the stories themselves, their function, storytellers, women storytellers, gospel formation, and the cultural legacy. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Antoinette Clark Wire, Ph.D. (1974), Claremont Graduate School, is Robert S. Dollar Chair of New Testament Studies, San Francisco Theological Seminary, San Anselmo, California, and the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California, USA.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Storytelling World 1
Pt. I Early Jewish Stories of Prophecy at Birth 25
1 Birth Prophecy Stories: Early Biblical Figures 27
2 Birth Prophecy Stories: Later Biblical Figures 54
3 Birth Prophecy Stories: Contemporary Figures 74
4 Telling Early Jewish Stories of Prophecy at Birth 95
Pt. II Early Jewish Stories of Wondrous Provision 103
5 Wondrous Provision Stories: The Need 105
6 Wondrous Provision Stories: The Need Voiced 124
7 Wondrous Provision Stories: The Need Met 143
8 Telling Early Jewish Wondrous Provision Stories 168
Pt. III Early Jewish Stories of Prophets' Signs 181
9 Signs of Destruction Attributed to Biblical Prophets 183
10 Signs of Destruction Attributed to Contemporary Prophets 200
11 Signs of Deliverance Attributed to Biblical Prophets 224
12 Signs of Deliverance Attributed to Contemporary Prophets 240
13 Telling Early Jewish Stories of Prophets' Signs 267
Pt. IV Early Jewish Stories of Martyrdom and Vindication 279
14 Martyrdom and Vindication Stories of Biblical Figures 281
15 Martyrdom and Vindication Stories of Maccabean and Hasmonean Period Figures 304
16 Martyrdom and Vindication Stories of First Century C.E. Figures 330
17 Martyrdom and Vindication Stories of Early Second Century C.E. Figures 360
18 Telling Early Jewish Martyrdom and Vindication Stories 374
Conclusion: Holiness Enacted in Early Jewish Storytelling 381
Indexes 397
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