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xv + 304 pp.

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In Praise of Editing in the Hebrew Bible
Collected Essays in Retrospect
Yairah Amit

Yairah Amit is a leading Israeli scholar of the Hebrew Bible who has published some of her articles only in Hebrew. Most of them are here translated for the first time.

As she compiled the volume, she discovered that this collection of 19 essays had a common denominator: they are all about the process of editing that has gone on in the creation of the Hebrew Bible, a process that Amit looks on with some favour. Hence her title, In Praise of Editing. The Bible, she argues, is a long carefully edited book, which means that it is not a chance agglomeration of materials bound together, but rather a complete and carefully selected library.

Among the essays in this volume are: Who Decided to Open the Torah with the Creation of the Sabbath?, The Garden of Eden as Utopia, Repetition as Poetic Principle, Who Is Afraid of Multiple Voices?, Editorial Considerations Regarding Ending, Who Is Lent to the Lord? Ask the Editor, To Include or Not to Include? Editorial Considerations Regarding the Whole.

What makes this volume unique among collections of essays is her decision to add a personal preface to each article, highlighting it from an additional subjective angle. Sometimes the preface reflects her relationship to the subject and its ideology, sometimes the circumstances in which the article was written or published. At other times, readers may learn about the teachers who guided her first steps in the field, and about her own relationship to various issues in biblical research. These prefaces, she believes, show the researcher not as a rigid professional, but as a more rounded human person.

This is the fourth volume of the Amsterdam Studies in the Bible and Religion (ed. Athalya Brenner), a sub-series of the Bible in the Modern World and Hebrew Bible Monographs.

Yairah Amit is Professor Emerita of Bible in the Department of Hebrew Studies at Tel Aviv University, Israel.

Series: Hebrew Bible Monographs, 39
978-1-907534-36-2 hardback
Publication June 2012

  1. Who Decided to Open the Torah with the Creation of the Sabbath?
  2. The Garden of Eden as Utopia
  3. Why Were They Barren?
  4. The Lost Honor of Dina, Daughter of Jacob
  5. Repetition as Poetic Principle
  6. Who Is Afraid of Multiple Voices?
  7. “For the Lord fought for Israel”
  8. Dual Causality
  9. Terms Have Meaning
10. The Nazirism Motif and Editorial Work
11. Editorial Considerations Regarding Ending
12. Who Knows the “One”? The Editor
13. Who Is Lent to the Lord? Ask the Editor
14. When Was Prophetic Thought Dominant?
15. Did Saul Die Three Times?
16. To Include or Not to Include? Editorial Considerations Regarding the
17. Chronicles and its Unique Poetics
18. Why Denigrate Saul?
19. How to Relate to a Formative Tradition?

A[mit] is well known for her writing on aspects of Hebrew narrative … The translation of these articles into English [from Hebrew] will be widely welcomed, and to each she adds a couple of pages to set them in their context in her career or to reflect on their continuing importance; this adds an unusual personal touch to the whole. H.G.M. Williamson, Society for Old Testament Study Book List 2013.

This is a fine collection of essays, well-argued, engaging on many fronts, and
recommended to all who are interested in the editing practices at work in the Hebrew Bible.
Richard G. Smith, Review of Biblical Literature.