Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Old Testament Essays]]> vol. 35 num. 1 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Editorial</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Jahwe und die Götter - Ein Vergleich der Gottesdarstellungen in den Fluterzählungen der Genesis, dem Gilgamesch-Epos und dem Atramhasïs-Mythos</b>]]> Ausgehend von dem Vorhandensein markanter narrativer Übereinstimmungen der biblischen Fluterzählung und den Fluterzählungen des Gilgamesch-Epos und des Atramhasïs-Mythos, wodurch sich in der Forschung der Konsens einer Hypothese der Abhängigkeit der biblischen Fluterzählung von den mesopotamischen etabliert hat, wird in dieser Untersuchung anhand einer synchronen Nebeneinanderstellung der besagten Texte die Darstellung Jahwes in der biblischen Fluterzählung mit der Darstellung der Götter im Gilgamesch-Epos und Atramhasïs-Mythos inhaltlich verglichen. Unter der Prämisse, dass die besagten Fluterzählungen einem gemeinsamen Kulturkreis entsprungen sind, kann anhand der inhaltlichen Nebeneinanderstellung die Vermutung angestellt werden, dass der biblische Text bzw. die ihm zugrundeliegende Tradition kommunikativ, manchmal auch polemisch kontrastierend in Bezug auf die vorherrschende mesopotamische Theologie hin gestaltet ist, indem in der biblischen Fluterzählung bestimmte Formulierungen der mesopotamischen Fluterzählungen nicht nur aufgegriffen und verarbeitet, sondern bewusst verwertet oder auch weggelassen wurden, um den Gott der biblischen Erzählung unter allen anderen Göttern hervorzuheben.<hr/>The existence of striking similarities between the biblical flood narrative and the flood narratives of the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Atramhasïs myth has led to the widely accepted hypothesis that the biblical flood narrative depends on the Mesopotamian narratives. In this study, the representation of Yahweh in the biblicalflood narrative is compared with the representation of the gods in the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Atramhasïs myth by means of a synchronic juxtaposition of the texts in question. Since the flood narratives in question all originated in a common cultural sphere, the juxtaposition of the contents leads to the conclusion that the biblical text or the tradition on which it is based is not dependent on the Mesopotamian narratives, but playfully and sometimes also polemically contrasts itself to the prevailing Mesopotamian theology. By using or consciously avoiding certain formulations of the Mesopotamian flood narratives the biblicalflood narrative puts emphasis on the God of the biblical narrative over and against all the other gods. <![CDATA[<b>Heteropatriarchy's Blame Game: Reading Genesis 37 with <i>Izitabane </i>during COVID 19</b>]]> The COVID 19 pandemic compounded the insecurity and vulnerability experienced by LGBTIQ+ people who remain confined to their family homes during the lockdown in South Africa. LGBTIQ+ people are often referred to as Izitabane, a term that gives derogatory expression to the othering, stigmatisation and exclusion experienced by LGBTIQ+ people in African contexts in general and African faith communities in particular. As the pandemic unfolded, faith leaders reached out to their flock via social media through online worship services and daily devotions. In some instances, these devotions sought "theological clarification" for the pandemic and in the process evoked violence towards the LGBTIQ+ community who were held responsible. In order to engage critically and creatively with these life-denying realities and to search for impulses of hope and life, an episode from the Joseph narrative found in Gen 37 has been appropriated as a reflective surface in the development process of Contextual Bible Study resources engaging the African faith and sexuality landscape. Building on insights gained from employing the tools of Queer Biblical Hermeneutics to read Gen 37, the final part of the essay describes the Contextual Bible Study developed jointly by the Ujamaa Centre at UKZN and Inclusive and Affirming Ministries and offers it as a resource for Izitabane to resist normalisation, correction and annihilation when the Biblical text is used in a life-denying manner. <![CDATA[<b>Belief in Yhwh as Identity Marker in Pre-exilic Israel: An Identity-Oriented Reading of Deuteronomy 13</b>]]> This article outlines an identity-oriented reading of the so-called "apostasy series" (Deut 13) to explore the modes of articulation and construction of collective identity in pre-exilic Israel. Heuristically, the article integrates assumptions of the social constructionist approach and some points of Jan Assmann's model of "secondary religion". The reading of Deut 13 in this article highlights, on the one hand, how religious belief functions as a marker of collective identity in Deut 13, and on the other, how identity construction depends on inner social articulations within Israel rather than on subversive political or theological claims against the Assyrian power. Ultimately, Deut 13 frames the shaping of a self-articulation within Israel, which may be expressed as follows: belief in Yhwh as an identity marker allows the Israelite community to distance itself from one of its parts to define what Israel is and what it is not. The real tension felt in the passage is between a plural community and a collective that attempts to standardise plurality to define itself, that is, a tension between a real Israel and an ideal Israel, between the layers of historical reality and the normative abstractions that attempt to control them. <![CDATA[<b>Hannah in Stages and Places: An Exploration of Narrative Space in 1 Samuel 1</b>]]> The lack of contributions toward the study of narrative space in biblical literature has been lamented for the last four decades. While handbooks on narratology and narrative art have tried to expand discussions on the presentation andfunctions of space, many of these expositions of narrative space rely on reducing narrative space to setting, which focuses only on providing a basic background to a given narrative. Though these details are important for establishing where, when and how a character's actions take place, this article proposes that the characters' perceptions and experiences in and of places in a story must contribute to the representation of narrative space. The article illustrates this by conducting a synchronic analysis of 1 Samuel 1, focusing mainly on how Hannah, the protagonist, interacts with and in the spaces of the narrative. The study finds that the representation of each place changes according to the phases of Hannah's journey from childless woman to mother and that these changes are a result of Hannah's changing behaviour, psychology and interactions with other characters. These results indicate that space should not be reduced to static and matter-of-fact statements about context but that space should be treated as a malleable facet of narrative which characters can shape and transform. <![CDATA[<b>Exploring Rabbinic Approaches to the Psalms</b>]]> Today, the Jewish world has adopted a popularist - if not theurgical -approach to the Book of Psalms, where the Psalms take on a mystical and almost magical function.1 However widespread, this is only one facet of a kaleidoscope of multifaceted and divergent methodologies that lie within the rubric of rabbinic Psalm interpretation. This article looks at some of the theology underpinning the essential structures of the Psalms as seen through the eyes of the classical rabbis. The analysis begins with the overall edifice of the Psalter, its division into books and their order, discusses the nomenclature and the aspect of musicology, and rabbinic views concerning their authorship and provenance. The article proceeds to investigate diverse and sometimes mutually-exclusive rabbinic opinions regarding the essential intent, usage and status of the Psalms. In the final analysis, readers are left bewildered as to whether the Psalms hold the key to the secrets of the universe or whether Jews are even allowed to pray by using the Psalms because of their exalted spiritual stature, or on the contrary, whether the Psalms are merely human expressions of prayer and grappling attempts at making sense of a difficult world, and therefore, of diminished and mundane status. <![CDATA[<b>The <i>Peti </i>and the Power of Speech in Proverbs 1-9</b>]]> Speech is a prominent theme throughout ancient Near Eastern wisdom literature. Accordingly, the proverbs in Proverbs 10-29 offer extensive instruction about the nature and power of speech. Speech also pervades Proverbs 1-9, a series of instructive lectures and interludes. However, speech is not primarily a topic of instruction; rather, it is a vehicle for instruction. Proverbs 1-9 puts speech on the lips of competing voices-the father, the gang, the seductress, Lady Wisdom, and Lady Folly-and admonishes, seduces, and encourages the son (the peti), who is presented with a choice: To whom will he listen? These chapters draw attention to what might be considered the most important trait of the peti: being a discerning listener. This article argues that, by prefacing the instruction of chapters 10-29 with chapters 1-9, the compiler of Proverbs sets discernment as the fundamental requirement for the instruction that follows. It surveys the topic of "speech" in ancient Egyptian wisdom literature; examines "speech" proverbs in Proverbs 10-29; and evaluates how "speech " in Proverbs 1-9 contributes to the portrayal of a teachable peti and one's approach to the rest of the book. <![CDATA[<b>The Anti-Yahweh Label <i>lassaw' </i>in Jeremiah (Part 2)</b>]]> The traditional stance is that –—“•” in Jeremiah (2:30; 4:30; 6:29; 18:15 and 46:11) denotes futility, mostly translated as "in vain. " This study, the second of a sequel, scrutinises the last two texts (Jer 18:15 and 46:11) in an effort to substantiate and modify a recent hypothesis that the term is instead a reference to the god Baal, "The Vain/Worthless One. " Jeremiah 18:15 has an interpretative tradition that acknowledges –—“•” as a referent to the (worthless) idols. The present study offers a basis for this interpretation. As Egypt (in Jer 46) can hardly be connected to Baal worship, 46:11 modifies the notion that –—“•” functions as an identifier of the god Baal per se and confirms the wisdom of ancient translators of Jer 18:15 who labelled –—“•” as unspecified deities. The traditional stance that –—“•” denotes futility, could only be refuted in 46:11 by a search for intertextual clues, alertness to connecting metaphors and accompanying gender switches. These are the very same rhetorical devices illustrated in Mary Shields' study of Jer 3:1-4:4. The title of her work harbours the insight that –—“•” in 46:11, and by implication in all MT Jeremiah texts, serves as a dense metaphor circumscribing the prostitute-in-covenant-relationship with her (collective or individual) overlord/s (ba'al/b e 'alïm).