Category Archives: Dissertation Abstracts

Abstract of Anderson, David R. “The Royal and Priestly Contribution of Psalm 110 to the Book of Hebrews.”

Anderson,  David R.  “The Royal and Priestly Contribution of Psalm 110 to the Book of  Hebrews.”  Ph.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1998. [Israel/Christian/Kingship/Priesthood]

Abstract:   The Kingdom of David has been the focus of disagreement among biblical interpreters practically since the ascension of Christ. Since Christ was enthroned at the right hand of God the Father when he ascended, some think this is the Davidic Kingdom; others restrict the Davidic Kingdom to a geo-political kingdom on earth. They call the present kingdom of Christ a “mystery” kingdom. Perhaps it is both. This possible combination of truths is exactly what is proposed by a relatively new branch of dispensationalists, who label themselves “progressive dispensationalists.” Continue reading

Abstract of Nelson, David W. “Responses to the Destruction of the Second Temple in the Tannaitic Midrashim.”

Nelson, David W.  “Responses to the Destruction of the Second Temple in the Tannaitic Midrashim.”  PhD  New York University, 1991. [Israel/Second Temple/Herod/Destruction]

Abstract:  The goal of this study was to investigate early rabbinic responses to the destruction of the Temple. Most previous research had either focused exclusively on halakhic texts or had used rabbinic texts without regard to their form or to the era of their redaction. In the former case the judgement was made that the rigid and formulaic style of halakhic texts would make them a limited source of attitudinal or theological responses; in the latter case, the failure to discriminate among earlier and later texts rendered the results unreliable for determining early responses. For these reasons this study focuses on the tannaitic midrashim. Continue reading

Abstract of Trudinger, Peter Lawrence. “The Psalms of the Tamid Service.”

Trudinger, Peter Lawrence.  “The Psalms of the Tamid Service.”  PhD diss., Emory University, 2002. [Israel/Second Temple/Ritual/Liturgy/Worship/Sacrifice]

Abstract:  This dissertation is a study of a collection of seven psalms performed at the Tamid service, the twice-daily worship service in the Jerusalem Temple, in the late Second Temple period. The Tamid psalms are Ps 24 (Sunday), 48 (Monday), 82 (Tuesday), 94 (Wednesday), 81 (Thursday), 93 (Friday) and 92 (Sabbath). As a collection, they form a rarely-studied liturgical text from the Second Temple period. Continue reading

Abstract of Zink, Stephan. “Octavian’s Sanctuary of Apollo on the Palatine: Architecture, Site, and the Development of a Sacred Topography.”

Zink, Stephan.  “Octavian’s Sanctuary of Apollo on the Palatine: Architecture, Site, and the Development of a Sacred Topography.”  PhD diss., University of Pennsylvania, 2011. [Rome]

Abstract:  The focus of this dissertation is the sanctuary of Apollo on the Palatine in Rome, which Octavian, the future Augustus, dedicated in 28 B.C. With its marble temple, splendid porticos, and a library, it was the imposing result of Octavian’s successful struggle to become the ‘first man’ in the Roman state. Like no other monument in Rome, the sanctuary of Apollo materializes the transition between the Roman Republic and Empire. Despite its critically important role in the religious and political history of the city, the archaeological remains of the sanctuary have never seen a full architectural and topographical documentation. This project represents the first comprehensive documentation and examination of the material remains preserved at the site, as conducted during nine seasons of new data collection and fieldwork. The results of this fieldwork form the basis for a new understanding of the sanctuary’s architecture and structural history. Both architectural drawings and 3D reconstructions are fundamental aspects of the study, and they provide the key tools in assessing the site’s development and changing functions over the course of nearly seven centuries. The detailed documentation now allows us to identify a series of successive construction phases dating from the Archaic to the Augustan period. New structural observations also force us to fundamentally rethink long-held assumptions about the topography of the Southwestern Palatine as well as its architecture and evolving functions. Contrary to current tenets, the sanctuary of Apollo was deeply embedded in the cultic functions of its site. Several Archaic cult sites determined both the orientation and the layout of all the later buildings on the site, including the structure currently identified as the “House of Octavian/Augustus.” Not a domestic complex, this structure reveals itself instead as the seat of various priestly collegia in the mid-1 st c. B.C. Thus, the Augustan sanctuary of Apollo now emerges as the latest stage in the century-long development of a sacred topography on the Southwestern Palatine.

Abstract of Lowery, Richard Harlin. “The Reforming Kings: Cult and Society in First Temple Judah.”

Lowery, Richard Harlin.  “The Reforming Kings: Cult and Society in First Temple Judah.”  PhD diss., Yale University, 1989. [Israel/Solomon]

Abstract:  This dissertation examines the emergence of deuteronomic theology in pre-exilic Judah by reconstructing a social-economic setting for reform of the First Temple cult. The establishment and support of a monarchical state introduced serious social tensions, usually kept in check by the social and political authority of the Davidic house. The added demands of Assyrian imperialism unbalanced the equation. Judean deuteronomism grew as a response to the social unrest of the Assyrian period, channeling popular discontent away from the Davidic monarchy and toward foreign imperialism. First appearing in connection with Hezekiah’s rebellion, deuteronomic theology subsequently grew into a comprehensive program of national renewal centered in exclusive worship of Yahweh and allegiance to Yehweh’s chosen king. Chapter One summarizes current scholarship on the economy of monarchical Judah and Israel. Chapter Two examines the commanding social role of the Davidic monarchy shown in official cult reforms of the pre-Assyrian period. Chapter Three discusses Ahaz and the economic and religious impact of Assyrian imperialism. Chapter Four places Hezekiah’s cult reform in the context of his rebellion against Assyria. Chapter Five discusses Kings’ Manasseh narrative as a systematic rejection of the pre-deuteronomic First Temple status quo in preparation for Josiah’s deuteronomic reform. Chapter Six discusses deuteronomic reform under Josiah as a post-imperial top-down cultural revolution.

Abstract of Carlson, James M. “A Great High Priest Who has Passed through the Heavens: In Quest of the Apocalyptic Roots of the Epistle to the Hebrews.”

Carlson, James M..   “A Great High Priest Who has Passed through the Heavens: In Quest of the Apocalyptic Roots of the Epistle to the Hebrews.”  PhD diss., Marquette University, 2008. [Israel/Christian/New Temple/Heavenly Ascent/Heavenly Temple/Priesthood]

Abstract:  The nature of the problem addressed is the lack of a thorough discussion of the relationship of the exaltation of Christ in Hebrews to the assortment of ideas and images present in Jewish apocalyptic literature which the epistle seems to echo. This study begins with a historical survey of the way in which the epistle was interpreted and used from the patristic period through to the Renaissance and Reformation. The purpose of this chapter is to set the question of Hebrews’ apocalyptic roots in relief from the kinds of questions historically asked of the epistle. Historically the epistle has been interpreted in a manner less interested in its contextual meaning and more interested in its usefulness in supporting an assortment of theological and ecclesiastical propositions throughout various periods. Continue reading

Abstract of Adams, Kerry Lyn. “Textual and Archaeological Evidence for Pilgrimage in the Central Hill Country of the Southern Levant During the Late Bronze Age–Iron Age I Transition Period, ca. 1300-1000 BCE.”

Adams, Kerry Lyn.  “Textual and Archaeological Evidence for Pilgrimage in the Central Hill Country of the Southern Levant During the Late Bronze Age–Iron Age I Transition Period, ca. 1300-1000 BCE.”  PhD diss., University of Arizona, 2010. [Israel/Ritual/Liturgy/Worship/Pilgrimage]

Abstract:  This research evaluates the textual and archaeological evidence for pilgrimage in the Iron I central hill country of the southern Levant during the Late Bronze Age-Iron I transition period (ca. 1300-1000 BCE). The central hill country comprises the Judean and Samarian hills that are located west of the Jordan River and rise near Hebron to the south and end in the north near Dothan. This location and time period reflect the nascent stages of Israelite identity. Pilgrimage provides new perspectives through which to evaluate a specific aspect of early Israelite religion and culture. This research demonstrates that pilgrimage to ceremonial sites, where processions and ritual performances were held, provided avenues for families and clans to come together for a collective purpose and to fulfill collective needs. Pilgrimage has many facets that transect social, economic, and political agendas. By looking at the entire network of sites availed in the archaeological and textual record that apply to the Iron I central hills, from household shrines to shrines of regional and cross-clan appeal, this research suggests that there were several scales of pilgrimage evident in the central highlands. Each scale of pilgrimage had different sociological implications, but primarily pilgrimage provided avenues for people to exchange goods and services without losing honor, negotiate status, and bond over a collective awareness of kinship and community that provided avenues for disparate tribes to coalesce into a coherent political body.

Abstract of McKeever, Michael Colin. “Sacred Space and Discursive Field: The Narrative Function of the Temple in Luke-Acts.”

McKeever, Michael Colin.  “Sacred Space and Discursive Field: The Narrative Function of the Temple in Luke-Acts.”  PhD diss., Graduate Theological Union, 1999. [Israel/Herod/Sacred Space/Christian]

Abstract:  This dissertation examines the narrative function of the temple in Luke-Acts in dialogue with a socio-cultural understanding of sacred space . Although the temple in Luke-Acts has received some attention from both sociological and literary perspectives, these studies have yielded remarkably ambiguous results and there has been little methodological synthesis in this area. Luke-Acts evinces a complex yet notable critique of temple ideology concerning social barriers and marginalization on the basis of gender, ethnicity, purity and status. By utilizing a socio-rhetorical framework developed from Robert Wuthnow’s Communities of Discourse , this study illustrates how Luke engages concepts of sacred space to legitimate an inclusive mission while simultaneously undermining the role of the temple as a culture center in Luke-Acts. Continue reading

Abstract of Shedletsky, Lauren. “Josiah’s Reform and the Dynamics of Defilement: A Phenomenological Approach to II Kings 23.”

Shedletsky, Lauren.  “Josiah’s Reform and the Dynamics of Defilement: A Phenomenological Approach to II Kings 23.”  PhD diss., New York University, 2004. [Israel/Solomon]

Abstract:  2 Kings 22 and 23 narrate a story of the discovery, during the reign of the Judean king Josiah, of a lost law book in the Jerusalem temple and Josiah’s consequent ordering of the destruction of Israelite cult places, installations and personnel in and around Jerusalem and Bethel in an effort to purify and presumably to centralize Israelite worship at the one temple in Jerusalem. These chapters represent one of the clearest expressions in narrative terms of the idea found in Deuteronomy of the worship of one God in one place. The focus of this dissertation is on the specific acts of defilement attributed to Josiah in the Kings account and their resonance within the larger framework of Israelite ritual. Primarily through philological analysis I have identified two types of ritual that provide a context for understanding Josiah’s actions: apotropaic rites of riddance; and herem, a form of consecration to a patron deity. Each of these represents a particular model for conceptualizing ritualized destruction, the former more strongly reflected in pentateuchal priestly texts, and the latter more consistent with Deuteronom(ist)ic ideology. By separating out these two types of ritual language, a priestly core emerges in II Kings 23. Evidence of strong priestly interests in a text that could be described as the foundation myth of the Deuteronomistic movement is somewhat unexpected. Identifying this aspect of the text may illuminate the compositional history of these chapters and shape our understanding of the relationship between the proponents of Deuteronomism, and the circle of the late 7th century Jerusalem temple priesthood.

Abstract of Cranz, Isabel. “Impurity and Ritual in the Priestly Source and Assyro-Babylonian Incantations.”

Cranz, Isabel.  “Impurity and Ritual in the Priestly Source and Assyro-Babylonian Incantations.”  Phd diss., The Johns Hopkins University, 2012. [Mesopotamia/Priesthood/Ritual/Liturgy/Worship]

Abstract:  The circumstantial similarities of Surpu Lipsur and Leviticus 5 present a unique opportunity for comparing and contrasting the effects of moral impurity in Assyro-Babylonian and Priestly sources respectively. Although the catalogue of sins featured in Leviticus 5:1-4, 15-17 has previously been compared to the transgressions listed in Surpu and Lipsur, the ensuing ritual activities have never been the subject of a thorough examination. In the past this omission was explained by the complexity of the subsequent rites. Nonetheless, recent progress in biblical studies and assyriology allows for a renewed evaluation of the activities carried out for both Priestly and Assyro-Babylonian rituals as well as their implications concerning the nature of impurity. Continue reading