"In the closing chapters of Ezekiel, a great Temple is described, one reminiscent of Solomon's but in fact like none ever built. From that Temple, a river flows through the land, with healing in its wake; within the Temple dwells the divine Glory, depicted here alone in Ezekiel as coming to rest, never again to be removed. All of these features of Ezekiel's grand vision are embedded in the core of Jewish and Christian devotional and mystical practice. Yet no less intriguing for the exegete is the legislation promulgated in this elaborate vision report. Here is found the only body of law in the Hebrew Scriptures not placed in the mouth of Moses. Laws regarding sacrifices and festivals, the conduct of the prince, the nature of the priesthood, and the division of the land all center upon the Temple, which is the one common reference for this rich, multifaceted material." From Chapter 1: The Unity and Theme of the Temple Vision.
This present study seeks to clarify the character and functions of the Neo-Babylonian empire in its relationship to subjugated populations, and in particular to the population of Judah. Vanderhooft investigates Babylonian imperialism from two complementary perspectives: from native sources, which project the Babylonian imperial self-portrait, and from the writings of the biblical prophets, which provide a portrait from the perspective of a subjugated population.
The practice of viticulture--from planting vines to drinking wine--in Israelite culture is the focus of Walsh's investigation. Viticulture, no less than drinking, marked the social sphere of Israelite practitioners, and so its details were often enlisted to describe social relations in the Hebrew Bible. These features of everyday life offer important clues for the reconstruction of Israelite social history, the literary constructions of the oral transmitters, authors, and redactors and for thematic and theological meanings attached to biblical representations of the vine and wine imagery.
The ancient myth of a battle between a Divine Warrior and a primordial monster undergoes significant development in postbiblical and rabbinic literatures. This development is the focus of the present study. In particular, it examines the monsters Leviathan and Behemoth, showing that the postbiblical and rabbinic traditions about them are derived from ancient sources that are not all preserved in the biblical texts.
In the Apocalypse of Abraham and the Ladder of Jacob, the monster Leviathan is placed at the juncture of heaven and the underworld. This cosmological focus appears in rabbinic literature in traditions concerning Behemoth, Leviathan, and the world rivers, and concerning Leviathan as the foundation of the axis mundi. These originate in the Divine Warrior's enthronement upon the vanquished chaos dragon.
A second role in which Leviathan and Behemoth appear in postbiblical literature is as food for the eschatological banquet. Whitney studies this in a variety of sources, among them 4 Ezra 6:47-52, 2 Apocalypse of Baruch 29:4, and 1 Enoch 60:7-9, 24, and a number of rabbinic texts. In one tradition, the battle between God and monster becomes an angelic hunt, described by the Greek word kynegesia. This sometimes referred to battles between beasts in the arena, and in a variant tradition Leviathan battles Behemoth in a fight to the death before the banquet. The "food for the righteous" motif possibly stems from the introduction of hunting imagery into the combat myth: the prevalence of hunting banquets gave rise to the expectation that these monsters, the prey in a divine hunt, would feed the righteous at the end of time.