Thursday, January 27, 2022

Open Access Journal: Metatron: Revealing Ancient Knowledge

Metatron: Revealing Ancient Knowledge

An initiative of Bible and Religions of the Ancient Near East Collective (BRANE), hosted by Renewed Philology at Yale.

A journal of modern philology and the ancient imagination offering new vistas on the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean and Near East. Named after the mediating angel of Jewish mysticism, it is designed to open cutting-edge research to a broad intellectual community.

As an open-access, peer-reviewed journal, Metatron is designed to be:

Conversational but Focused: each volume presents a dialogue between scholars on a current topic. Contributors of diverse backgrounds and career stages approach the question from multiple perspectives.

Rigorous but Readable: Rather than mystifying readers with bursts of recondite theory or vast footnotes, Metatron focuses on short pieces designed to provoke thought and evoke dialogue. These are combined with companion case studies that share an important text, image, or site and work through it to illuminate new aspects.

Scope: Our scope covers ancient Western Asia and the Near East from the dawn of writing through late Antiquity and from philology and poetics to history and material culture. As an open-access publication, Metatron presents high quality works-in-progress designed to provoke creative discussion. An initial stage of double-blind peer review preserves the rigor of traditional publication, but an equally vital element of review is the discussions that make up the journal itself. The result preserves the scholarly values of traditional publication but focuses not on fully polished works but contributions that raise questions worth having a dialogue on.

Metatron logo by David Tibet.

Vol. 1, Issue 2,  2021
Ancient Hebrew Literature Beyond “The Bible,” Part Two: “What is Scripture?

Recent scholarship on the Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism has emphasized that “Bible/biblical” is not an especially useful category when discussing ancient Israelite and early Jewish literature in its historical contexts of composition. There was no Bible to speak of prior to the first century of the Common Era. How, then, should these texts be categorized? The label “Scripture/scriptural” has come to fill this void in order to avoid the canonical imposition of “Bible/biblical” while still retaining some sense of the importance of these traditions. But what do we mean by “Scripture/scriptural”? What kinds of scriptural claims do we see in these texts? Is scripture a cross-cultural phenomenon? Does it vary over time? These questions sit at the center of this issue of Metatron, which puts forward a range of new proposals and challenges for understanding “scriptural” texts.

  • Articles
    James Nati Seth Sanders
    Biblical scholarship has acknowledged that “Bible” is an anachronistic category when contemplating the contexts in which this literature emerged. “Scripture/scriptural” has taken its place, but what is Scripture?
  • Articles
    Preview: Is Bible “Scripture?”
    David Lambert
    Questioning whether it continues to remain helpful or adequate to use “scripture” as an obvious, natural, and universal concept for comprehending the function and history of certain kinds of texts.


Part One of a series on Ancient Hebrew Literature Beyond “The Bible.” For the earliest Jewish readers and writers, there was no “Bible.” Instead the literature from this period constitutes a surprisingly broad spectrum of sacred texts from Genesis and the Books of Enoch to hundreds of different Psalms attributed to David but often not found in modern Bibles. If the publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls along with decades of new research has proven that “Bible” is a misleading anachronism for the Second Temple period, can we create a new and better picture of Judaism and Christianity’s earliest known religious literature?

  • Articles 
    James Nati Seth Sanders
    There was no “Bible” as such even by the end of the Second Temple period. How do scholars organize this corpus in the absence of the category?


See AWOL's full List of Open Access Journals in Ancient Studies


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