Lester L. Grabbe
This article discusses Jewish history from the rise of Hellenism to 70
J. W. Rogerson
This article discusses the social, political, and economic background of Israel to the end of the Persian period, based upon extra-biblical texts, archaeological discoveries, and anthropological models. Where appropriate, reference will be made to Old Testament material, not in order to vindicate its historical ‘truth’ through the back door, but to suggest ways of looking at it in the light of the historical and social reconstruction. The biblical narrative is silent on all but religious happenings for the first half of both the 8th and 7th centuries, as well as much of the 6th to 4th centuries. In the case of kings such as Omri, the biblical record is virtually silent on the subject of his many military achievements. However, it should not be concluded that the historical information in the biblical records is worthless; and, to be fair to the biblical editors, they refer constantly to the books of the chronicles of the kings of Judah and Israel as sources of further information.
Theodore W. Jennings Jr.
While the Bible is often understood to forbid same-sex love, a closer examination reveals a wide variety of forms of same-sex love that are presupposed and even celebrated in these texts. After demonstrating that biblical texts taken to prohibit same-sex love have been misunderstood, the chapter explores multiple forms of same-sex love in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. Love between women in the story of Ruth, the expressions of warrior love in the stories of David and the centurion who came to Jesus, the transgendering of Israel in the prophets and the transgendering of Jesus and Saint Paul in the New Testament, even tales of sexual awakening and violence, provide a rich tapestry of same-sex love exhibited in biblical literature giving deeper meaning to the message of divine love which for Christians is exemplified by Jesus.