Judith Newman, born in Alexandria, Virginia, USA, in 1961. Ph.D. from Harvard University, Cambridge. Associate Professor of the Old Testament at the University of Toronto.
Fellow (1 September 2006 – 30 June 2007)
GRAECO-JEWISH PRAYER TEXTS FROM ANTIQUITY
During the 2006-2007 academic year, my colleague Pieter van der Horst and I researched and wrote a commentary on early Jewish Prayers in Greek which included fresh translations of the prayers into English. The volume will be published in the Commentaries on Early Jewish Literature series of Walter de Gruyter Publishers. Our different training and methodological orientations, mine in the Old Testament, the ancient Near Eastern cultural contexts of its literature, and the traditions of its interpretation, his in superb Greek language skills combined with a great knowledge of scholarship of the Greco-Roman cultural context, contributed to a multi-faceted presentation of each prayer. The prayers are representative of the wide range of Jewish beliefs and practices in Graeco-Roman antiquity, ranging from a more traditional confessional Prayer of Azariah (a Greek addition to the Old Testament book of Daniel) to a prayer for vengeance engraved on a tombstone on the island of Delos to a Christianized set of early Jewish Sabbath prayers to a most unusual petition for angelification, the Prayer of Jacob. Although there has been significant scholarship done on Jewish prayers in Hebrew, much less attention has been paid to Jewish prayers in Greek. Our volume thus makes a unique contribution to scholarship on Jewish prayer, not only in its focus on Greek prayers, but also in illuminating the quite diverse prayer practices and beliefs of Judaism throughout the Mediterranean diaspora belying any notion of a unilinear and narrow evolution of Jewish prayer.