matthias henze : books





My Published Work: A Brief Itinerary

In my first book, The Madness of King Nebuchadnezzar (1999), a revised version of my dissertation, I read closely the story in Daniel chapter four of Nebuchadnezzar’s fabulous transformation into an animal, explore its ancient Near Eastern roots, and trace its remarkable history of interpretation. The textual history of the story is rich, though I was particularly intrigued by two other aspects, the reception history of the story in Christian sources written in Syriac, and the role of the book of Daniel in the Qumran community. In my next two books I pursued both of these interests.

My second book,The Syriac Apocalypse of Daniel (2001), offers a critical edition and annotated English translation of an intriguing, yet little known Syriac text, Harvard Ms Syr 42, an early Christian apocalypse modeled after the biblical book of Daniel and written in Syriac in the seventh century CE. My first edited volume, Biblical Interpretation at Qumran (2005), grew out of a conference I organized at Rice on the multiple ways in which the biblical text was received and recited, copied and corrected, meditated and mediated at Qumran. Working on the Qumran volume I realized that there was no systematic introduction to biblical interpretation in the Jewish literature in between the Hebrew Bible and rabbinic literature (roughly from the third cent. BCE to the second cent. CE). I then invited eighteen international experts in the field to write contributions for the Companion to Biblical Interpretation in Early Judaism (2012). The Companion includes articles on early biblical interpretation, ranging from inner-biblical interpretation, the use of the Bible in wisdom and apocalyptic texts, in Hellenistic authors, at Qumran, and leading up to early rabbinic sources.

Another edited volume, Hazon Gabriel: New Readings of the Gabriel Revelation (2011), brings together two critical editions of this recently rediscovered and controversial ancient Hebrew inscription. It also includes eight photographs of the stone and a number of articles by the leading authorities in the field.

In my most recent monograph, Jewish Apocalypticism in Late First Century Israel (2011), I turn my attention to Second Baruch, an early Jewish apocalypse that is often quoted by modern scholars but rarely studied in its own right. I explore this intriguing ancient text and explain its composition and purpose. But my book has a larger aim in mind: to demonstrate how a close reading of the so-called Pseudepigrapha--in this case, of Second Baruch--will change our perception of Judaism at the turn of the Common Era, and, more specifically, will help us correct our assumptions regarding the context from which rabbinic Judaism and early Christianity emerged.

Two books appeared in 2013. The first, Fourth Ezra and Second Baruch: Reconstruction After the Fall (2013), edited with Gebriele Boccaccini and Jason Zurawski, is a collection of twenty articles that were first delivered at the 6th Enoch Seminar in Milan, Italy in June 2011. More than merely a conference volume, the book introduces readers to the current research on these two first-century Jewish apocalypses. The second book, 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch: Translations, Introductions, and Notes (2013), written with Michael E. Stone, provides fresh translations of the two texts, with introductions to both apocalypses, textual notes, and cross references in the margins.



4 Ezra and 2 Baruch: Translations, Introductions, and Notes. Michael E. Stone and Matthias Henze. Minneapolis: Fortress. 2013. x + 141 pp. An English translation of 4 Ezra (Michael E. Stone) and 2 Baruch (Matthias Henze), with introductions to both apocalypses, textual notes, and cross references.
Fourth Ezra and Second Baruch: Reconstruction After the Fall. Edited by Matthias Henze and Gabriele Boccaccini, With the Collaboration of Jason M. Zurawski. JSJSup. Leiden: Brill. 2013. xvi + 456 pp. A collection of twenty articles, first delivered at the Sixth Enoch Seminar on June 26-30, 2011, at the Villa Cagnola in Gazzada, near Milan, Italy, about the two Jewish apocalypses.
zx A Companion to Biblical Interpretation in Early Judaism. Edited by Matthias Henze. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012. xv + 568 pp. A collection of eighteen newly commissioned articles on the use and interpretation of the Hebrew Bible in Jewish literature from the Hebrew Bible to the beginnings of rabbinic literature.

“Henze’s Companion strikes a fine balance between breadth and depth. The Companion puts readers in contact with a variety of scholarly perspectives on a broad range of Jewish texts composed over the span of some five hundred years, roughly from the end of the biblical period to the Mishnah. Readers will readily appreciate the Companion as a most useful aid to the study of early Jewish biblical interpretation.” Don Carlson, H-Judaic Book Reviews, October 2012.


Jewish Apocalypticism in Late First Century Israel: Reading Second Baruch in Context. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011. x + 448 pp. A detailed study of The Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch (2 Baruch) that exposes its main themes, explains the apocalyptic program it develops, and locates its place in post-70 CE Jewish literature and thought.

“It is Henze’s attention to [Second Baruch’s] discourse, heightened by his thorough knowledge of the biblical background and of the methodologies of biblical, particularly Old Testament, studies, together with his thoughtfulness, that give this work its distinctive character and make it such a significant contribution. Much more should be said about this book, but the above comments suffice to show my admiration for Henze’s undertaking. I do not even remark on the careful textual analysis, learned exegesis, and thorough knowledge of the history of scholarship, which characterizes this book. These are notable, but I felt it important in this review to highlight points that distinguish this significant work. In them, Henze goes beyond fine professional scholarship.” Michael E. Stone, Journal of Jewish Studies 64 (2013): 206.

s Hazon Gabriel: New Readings of the Gabriel Revelation. Edited by Matthias Henze. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2011. xiii + 219 pp. A collection of eleven articles on the recently rediscovered inscription known as The Gabriel Revelation, including two critical editions of the Hebrew text with English translations, eight photographs, and a number of detailed interpretations.

“Henze’s chapter is probably the best introduction to the text as a whole, since it surveys what is known of the contents of the text, section by section, highlighting important or controversial points along the way... In sum, this volume is a very useful - one might even say indispensable - collection of articles relating to an exciting and tantalizing text. The Society of Biblical Literature is to be commended for publishing it, and especially for keeping the price at an eminently attainable level. The book captures much of the excitement around an important textual find and also shares with its readers some of the frustrations of dealing with the novelty of such a find.” Aaron Koller, Review of Biblical Literature 08 (2013): 4.

Die Syrische Danielapokalypse

Die Syrische Danielapokalypse. Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 2006. vii + 84 pp. A substantially reworked German version of my critical edition of The Syriac Apocalypse of Daniel.



Biblical Interpretation at Qumran

Biblical Interpretation at Qumran. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005. xiii + 214 pp.A collection of nine articles covering a broad array of forms of biblical interpretation in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

“Matthias Henze deserves congratulations for producing one of the first books to study biblical interpretation in light of the new understanding of the Bible. … The collection is a series of gems offering a richer and more accurate understanding of biblical interpretation in this crucial period.” Eugene Ulrich, Book cover

“This book contains very judicious and innovative essays on biblical interpretation in the Qumran scrolls by the major scholars in this area. If this is not the last word on the subject, then it is very close.” Emanuel Tov, Book cover

The Syriac Apocalypse Daniel

The Syriac Apocalypse of Daniel: Introduction, Text, and Commentary. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2001. 158 pp. A critical edition, together with an introduction and annotated English translation, of the hitherto unknown Syriac Apocalypse of Daniel, an early Christian apocalypse composed during the fifth to seventh century CE.

“Au total, l’excellent travail de Henze enrichit considérablement la bibliothèque des apocryphes, ainsi que notre connaissance des mouvements apocalyptiques du VIIe s.” J.-Cl. Haelewyck, Revue Théologique de Louvain 35:2 (2004): 244.

The Madness of King Nebuchadnezzar

The Madness of King Nebuchadnezzar: The Ancient Near Eastern Origins and Early History of Interpretation of Daniel 4. Leiden: Brill, 1999. xii + 295 pp. A study on Daniel chapter four that argues that many of the aspects in the story of King Nebuchadnezzar’s transformation which caught the attention of its early (mostly Syriac and rabbinic) interpreters have deep, pre-biblical roots in the literature of the ancient Near East.

“It is clear that the information collected by Henze will be an invaluable resource for all scholars who work on Daniel 4, not least because few other scholars have such a breadth of interest.” B. A. Mastin, Journal of Theological Studies 53 (2002):152.

©2017 Rice University ||