Alexey Somov’s New Book: Representations of the Afterlife in Luke-Acts

Dr. Alexey Somov very kindly mentions my Revue de Qumran’s article on Sheol in his new book entitled Representations of the Afterlife in Luke-Acts. This is the first time my work has been cited! 🙂

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For those of you interested in the New Testament studies and historical concepts of afterlife, you may not want to miss out this new book!

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Here is the abstract of the book:

Questions regarding the afterlife are many, and the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts pay a great deal of attention to them: why does Luke speak about several different forms of the afterlife? Why is resurrection described as a person’s transformation into an angelic being? How many abodes are appointed for the righteous and the wicked after death? Alexey Somov addresses these queries in relation to the apparent confusion and variety found in the text, and in respect of the interrelatedness of these issues, and their connection with other eschatological issues in Luke-Acts, and in relation to the wider cultural context of the Mediterranean world to which Luke belonged.

Every culture expresses its beliefs by means of special metaphors that allow it to comprehend supernatural realities in terms of everyday experience. Belief in the afterlife was part of this metaphorical system which Luke shared with the ancient eastern Mediterranean culture. Somov takes his analysis one step further by applying Cognitive Metaphor Theory to selected metaphorical aspects of the afterlife. While the inconsistencies and incoherence of the combined metaphors may seem jarring to a contemporary Western reader, Somov’s reading enables a recognition of the specific religious metaphors used, which for Luke would have been current and widely accepted.

(excerpt taken from the publisher’s website)

Article: ‘You Were the (Divine) Cherub’: A Potential Challenge to YHWH’s Sole Divinity in Ezekiel 28:14

Dear all,

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Photo Credit: jot.sagepub.com/content/41/1.cover-expansion

My article entitled “‘You Were the (Divine) Cherub’: A Potential Challenge to Yhwh’s Sole Divinity in Ezek 28.14” is now published in the Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 41/1 (UK-based)! I cannot express enough thanks to Dr. Carla Sulzbach, who has always been so kind and ready to proofread and comment on my papers. This article cannot come to fruition without her encouragements! Thank you very much, Carla!

If you have the subscription of the journal, feel free to download it from the official journal website: http://jot.sagepub.com/content/41/1/99.abstract

Otherwise, you can just go to my academia.edu to download the article: http://nwu.academia.edu/LydiaLee

Here is the abstract:

According to the Masoretic vocalizations, Ezek. 28.14 directly identifies the king of Tyre as ‘the anointed covering cherub’. Hector Patmore has recently suggested that the Masoretic vocalizations and accentuation produce an awkward reading of the verse, and that the Hebrew consonantal text does not perceive the Tyrian king as a cherub but a god. This article undertakes a two-fold examination of this controversial verse. First, it contends on syntactical grounds that the Masoretic identification of the Tyrian king with the cherub renders an intelligible reading of the consonantal text. Second, it suggests that the Masoretic presentation of the Tyrian king as a cherub is conceptually compatible with Patmore’s argument for the divinity of the Tyrian king in Ezek. 28.14. By comparing the Tyrian king to a cherub, the verse extols the Tyrian king to a nearly, if not fully, divine status, which potentially challenges the sole divinity of Yhwh.

 

 

Announcement: Forthcoming Flood Paper and Cherubic Piece

My journal article entitled “The Flood Narratives in Gen 6-9 and Darren Aronofsky’s Film Noah” has passed the double-blind peer review! It will be published in Old Testament Essays (South Africa-based).

Here is an excerpt of the first anonymous reviewer’s comment:

 …what I liked most is the literary theological themes the paper managed to develop in conjunction with sound historical research.

According to the second anonymous reviewer,

The article represents a good mix between Old Testament scholarship and engagement with popular culture.

A rudimentary idea of the forthcoming article was first posted on my personal blog under the title “Noah Within and Beyond the Bible” on 19.04.2014. Of course, the in-press article contains many more content/language corrections and updated references. So, remember to check out the journal when the flood paper comes out! 🙂

My journal article entitled ” ‘You Were the (Divine) Cherub’: A Challenge to YHWH’s Sole Divinity in Ezek 28:14″ passed the double-blind peer review at the end of last year. It will be published in the Journal for the Study of the Old Testament (United Kingdom-based). The anonymous reviewer suggests some areas for further improvements but made this overall assessment:

This is a very good article. It is scholarly, clear, well-structured and makes a persuasive case on a difficult adn controversial text.

If the information provided by the editor is correct, my cherubic piece will come out at the end of this year. Stay tuned! 🙂

Presentation: Fiery “Sheol” in the Dead Sea Scrolls

When I throw this question at my boyfriend, who is a law student and thus a “non-specilaist” of the Bible: “How does the underworld look?” The first word comes out of his mouth is “fire”! When I am in the Vatican, looking at the fresco of the Last Judgment by Michelangelo, at the right hand corner, at the bottom, I see that the boatman Charon shove the damned souls into the fiery hole. When I read John Milton’s Paradise Lost, I imagine Satan falling into the “bottomless perdition” filled with “penal fire”. When I go to church on Sunday, I listen to the Lukan story of the rich man and Lazarus, where the former thirsts for water in the eternal flame.  Here comes one interesting fact: If we try to find a reference to fire in the “Sheol” (a uniquely Hebraic term to designate the abode of the dead) of the Hebrew Bible, we would be disappointed. Instead of with fire, the Hebrew Bible often associates “Sheol” with water (e.g. Job 26:5-6; Ezekiel 31:15; Psalm 69:2, 14). Where are all these images of fiery underworld coming from? I do not know the answer.

But tomorrow in one of the sessions of the SBL international meeting at St. Andrews, I would like to share with you how several Qumran texts (e.g. 1QM XIV, 16-18; 4Q 491 8-10i 13b-15; 1QHa IV 25-26a; 4Q184 1 6-10) attest to a fiery underworld, expressed through the term “Sheol”! First, I would like to draw your attention to how this fiery “Sheol” stands in contrast to the more watery “Sheol” in the Hebrew Bible. Second, I relate this fiery “Sheol” in the Qumran texts with the other fiery underworld in the Second Temple literature, esp. that of 1 Enoch. Rather than probing the origin of this fiery imagery, the focus will be on the literary function of this fiery imagery within the Qumran texts. At the end, I conclude that this fiery aspect of “Sheol” within the Qumran texts contributes to an annihilating concept of punishment after death in the Second Temple period. (Note: In case you are wondering how I get into this “deadly” business, it is because we also get the prevalent motif of death and Sheol in Ezekiel’s oracles against Egypt, which form the focus of chapter 3 of my dissertation)

So I send you my greetings from St. Andrews and look forward to seeing you and discussing with you here! 🙂

Here are the details of the session:


Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls
7/08/2013
9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Room: Meeting Room 301 – Physics (15)Sidnie Crawford, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Presiding
Helen R. Jacobus, University College London
Calendars from Jewish Documents in the Cave of Letters and Elsewhere in the Judean Desert (25 min)
Discussion (10 min)
David Willgren, Lund University
Psalm Use in the Dead Sea Scrolls (25 min)
Discussion (10 min)

Break (35 min)
Lydia Lee, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
“Sheol” in the Dead Sea Scrolls (25 min)
Discussion (10 min)

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Scottish pipe music in the university of St. Andrews to mark the end of the conference 🙂

United Kingdom: Interesting Facts About the King James Bible

Went to the SBL international meeting in London in July 2011. In celebration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, there was an exhibition of different translations of the Bible. In a booklet that was given to me, I found the following article:

Eight KJV errors (extract from Christian History, issue 100)

Printers do interesting things to texts sometimes, and the KJV was no exception. In various printings over the years, certain errors were so egregious that those editions got their own sarcastic titles. Among these:

1. The “Judas Bible” 1611: This Bible has Judas, not Jesus saying, “Sit ye here while I go yonder and pray” (Matthew 26:36)

2. The “Printers Bible” 1612: In some copies Psalm 119:161 reads “Printers have persecuted me without a cause” rather than “Princes have persecuted me…”

3. The “Wicked Bible” 1613: Omits an important “not” from Exodus 20:14, making the seventh commandment read “Thou shalt commit adultery.” The printers were fined 300 British pounds and most of the copies were recalled immediately. Only 11 copies are known to exist today.

4. The “Sin On Bible” 1716: John 8:11 reads “Go and sin on more” rather than “Go and sin no more.”

5. The “Vinegar Bible” 1717: The chapter heading for Luke 20 reads “The Parable of the Vinegar” instead of “The Parable of the Vineyard”

6. The “Fools Bible” 1763: Psalm 14:1 reads “the fool hath said in his heart there is a God,” rather than “… there is no God.” The printers were fined 3, 000 pounds and all copies ordered destroyed.

7. The “Lions Bible” 1804: 1 Kings 8:19 reads “thy son that shall come forth out of thy lions,” rather than “loins.”

8. The “Owl Bible” 1944: “Owl” replaces “own,” making 1 Peter 3:5 read “For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their owl husbands.” The error was caused by a printing plate with a damaged letter “n.”

Now, who dares say that reading a Bible is boring? 😉

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The display of the King James Bible in Weston Room. On display is the second (1613) edition of the King James Bible, sometimes known as the “Judas” Bible, owing to a misprint of “Judas” for “Jesus” in Matthew xxvi:36. The New Testament title page, shown here, is dated 1611.