Hermeneutics of Divine Testing: Cosmic Trials & Biblical Interpretation in the Epistle of James & Other Jewish Literature

Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2. No. 396

Parables and Rhetoric in the Sermon on the Mount

By: Nicholas Ellis
October 2015
Mohr Siebeck
Distributed by Coronet Books
ISBN: 9783161534911
288 Pages
$125.00 Paper original


Nicholas Ellis examines the interplay in early Jewish literature between theological presuppositions about God's involvement in the evil and the access of these authors to the biblical narratives about divine tests. He begins with the letter of James, and compares this early Christian work with other examples of ancient Jewish interpretation. 

Ellis brings together a selection of ancient views on the divine, satanic and human roles of testing and then examined how these variations influenced the dramatis personae of the cosmic courtroom interpreting popular biblical tales of tests directly. The author shows that the representation of the divine test at James is very closely linked to the theology and hermeneutics of the so-called "Rewritten Bible" tradition. For the cosmic drama of James, God is the righteous judge against the satanic accuser, both God's integrity as well as the religious loyalty of people attacking.