Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Old Testament Essays]]> vol. 26 num. 3 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Editorial</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>The "proto-Deuteronomist"</b>: <b>fifty years later</b>]]> Fifty years ago, in 1963, the concept of the so-called proto-Deuter-onomic "redaction" was introduced by Chris Brekelmans and Norbert Lohfink. In reaction against a "pandeuteronomism " which was pervading OT exegesis, both scholars presented the hypothesis that it is improbable that the stereotypical theological motifs and stylistic features characterising the Deuteronom(ist)ic literature could simply have fallen out of the blue. On the contrary, Brekelmans and Lohfink argued that the Deuteronom(ist)ic style and ideology/theology should be considered the result of a longstanding development. Moreover, in their view, traces of this development could be detected within certain passages in the books of Genesis, Exodus and Numbers that have been considered prima facie evidence of a Deuteronom(ist)ic redaction of the Pentateuch. In order to understand Brekelmans's and Lohfink's démarche, firstly a concise summary of the position of the Deuteronomist during the final decades of the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth centuries is given. Secondly, the rationale behind their hypothesis will be presented, paying particular attention to the criteria upon which they relied. Thirdly, it will be investigated to which extent the hypothesis of a proto-Deuteronomic redaction of the Tetrateuch still dominates the landscape of historical-critical Pentateuch studies after fifty years. To conclude this contribution, an appraisal of the hypothesis of the proto-Deuteronomist will be given. <![CDATA[<b>Psalm 114 as reinterpretation of the exodus during and after the exile</b>]]> Psalm 114:1 provides a unique description of the exodus as an escape from "a people of strange language / a people of foreign tongue / -- --•" and not from slavery. Attention is given to the skilfully composed hymn-like psalm consisting of four strophes of paired synonymous parallel verses as part of the "Egyptian Hallel." An argument is developed that the reinterpretation of the exodus as a rescue from the cultural oppression experienced by exiles and marginalised or subjugated peoples is the result of a creative combination of theological traditions related to Yhwh as creator and king. In conclusion suggestions are made about the reason for considering the Judean exile in Babylonia and the subservience of Yehud during the Persian Empire as contexts within which this reinterpretation of the exodus made sense. <![CDATA[<b>Psalm 53 in canonical perspective</b>]]> Psalm 53 is an adapted version of Ps 14, crafted to fit in among a cluster of psalms consisting of Pss 52-55. Each of these psalms is described in their respective headings as a "Maskil," while Pss 52 and 54 each also have a biographical link to the time of persecution of David by Saul. It is argued that various contexts have to be taken into consideration for a full understanding of Ps 53: the differences between Pss 14 and 53; Ps 53's links to the cluster of Pss 52-55; the connections it has with Proverbs, and the connections it has with the history of David in 1 Samuel via the two biographical notes in the cluster which seem to apply to it as well. When all these contexts are taken into consideration, Ps 53 appears to be an explication of certain texts in Proverbs, as if applying the truths of wisdom teaching to the experiences of David. <![CDATA[<b>Female resistance in spite of injustice</b>: <b>human dignity and the daughter of Jephthah</b>]]> The tragic story of the daughter of Jephthah (Judges 11) offers a chilling account of the dehumanising effects of patriarchy. Not only does the fact that this young woman has no name attests to how little value she and other women held in a society structured around male honor, but it is through patriarchy's power that Jephthah's daughter loses her life. And yet, one finds in the daughter of Jephthah narrative and its reception hints of female resistance in spite of domination. As part of a larger project on Gender and Human Dignity, I propose that reading this narrative through the lens of human dignity, which draws on insights from gender and postcolonial interpretation, may enhance our understanding of this story. In particular, this paper will focus on female resistance in spite of injustice which points to the incontrovertible and indestructible nature of human dignity. In the narrative of the daughter of Jephthah and its interpretation history, one sees an example of a woman, who even though she finds herself trapped in circumstances that violate their self-worth, resists the indignity that had befallen her. This resistance is frequently limited but, as I will argue in this paper, by no means insignificant. <![CDATA[<b>Daniel 5, Elohim and Marduk</b>: <b>the final battle</b>]]> Daniel 5 forms part of a larger narrative that originates in Dan 1. The larger, more dominant narrative can be described as a deity war or a clash of deities. Utilising spatial markers, the author of Dan 5 shows his readers that the God of Israel has the ability to operate outside the spatial domain of the land of Israel. Not only can Elohim operate beyond the borders of Israel, He can challenge and defeat other deities within their own spatial domains of authority. In Dan 5 the God of Israel's supremacy is shown in that He bridges and conquers Marduk's last surviving god-space. When Elohim conquers the banquet hall as the last stronghold of Marduk, the conflict that started between them in Dan 1 is brought to an end. Marduk's appointed king is killed and his empire is given away by the God of Israel to other deities and their rulers. In his own way the author attempts to persuade his readers that the God of Israel's authority is universal and not bound to a particular spatial context. <![CDATA[<b>The role of Achior in <i>Judith</i> - an autobiographical response to <i>The Enemy is Within</i></b>]]> This article provides an autobiographical response to the author's 2004 monograph on Judith focused through the character of Achior. It briefly outlines Jung's concept of individuation and the author's understanding of autobiographic biblical criticism. The article then addresses the author's original findings on Achior and concludes with a personal and academic response, noting particularly new insights and the role that her academic work has played in her own individuation / transformation. <![CDATA[<b>Jeremiah 33</b>: <b>14-26: the question of text stability and the devaluation of kingship</b>]]> The versions of the book of Jeremiah might be considered the result of the text's steady preservation and actualisation by its redactors. Those redactors are considered to have been part of a supporting group for which this text was significant. Using Jer 33:14-26, the most extensive of the null variants of the Masoretic Text (MT), and its biblical (in particular its intra-Jeremian) intertexts as an example, this article seeks the supporting group's worldview and frame of orientation, which expresses itself both in the redactors' modes of reworking their "Vorlage" as in the content of the changes they make. It has already been proposed (by Bogaert and Lust) that whoever was responsible for the adding of Jer 33:14-26, might also have been responsible for certain MT variants in Jer 23:5-6 and 31:35-38, which are quoted by Jer 33:14-26. The differences in the MT's mode of reworking both texts however have hardly been noticed. It is those differences which seem particularly well suited to shed light on the supporting group's relevancies and frame of orientation, according to which texts and traditions concerning the royal figure of David seem already to have gained a certain degree of text stability. The LXX frequently serves as a horizon for a better understanding of the MT's mode of reworking the text. <![CDATA[<b>Les relations Ps 40 / Ps 69 et Ps 18 / Ps 68 et le livre des Proverbes</b>]]> Ps 40:2-12 is a response to Ps 69 similar to its response to Psalm 18. The influence of Pss 18 and 69 appear in Ps 40:13. Verses 1418 is presented in a way that is quite similar to Ps 70. Ps 68:20-22, 24 is applied to David similarly to Ps 18:1-38, 39 and 51. Ps 40 is equally connected to the Pentateuch, especially Lev 23. It is also linked to Proverbs. The messianic influence of Ps 18 is felt in Ps 110 and Num 24.<hr/>Ps 40,2-12 constitue une réponse au Ps 69 dans la ligne du Ps 18. L'influence des Ps 18 et 69 apparaît encore en Ps 40,13. Ps 40,14-18 reprend de manière presque équivalente le Ps 70. Ps 68,20-22.24 est déjà appliqué à David en Ps 18,1.38-39.51. Le Ps 40 est également connecté au Pentateuque particulièrement Lv 23 et au livre des Proverbes. L'influence messianique du Ps 18 se fait également sentir dans le Ps 110 et en Nb 24. <![CDATA[<b>The Significance of </b><b>תורה</b><b> (Isa 2:3) within Isaiah 2:1-5</b>: <b>The Relationship of the First Overture (1:1-2:5) to the Book's Conclusion (Isa 65-66)</b>]]> One of the best known passages in the entire book of Isaiah is the magisterial vision in Isa 2 of the nations streaming to Zion in the days to come to receive Yahweh's -•-•. How should we understand Torah in this text? Should the noun -•-• be understood and simply translated as "prophetic teaching" or "instruction, " or does it here refer to a written code of ethical and religious teaching? In this article the "vision of peace " in Isa 2:1-5 will be analysed according to the latter interpretation of Torah. The implications of this interpretation will be re-examined. It supports an understanding of Isaiah as a prophet like Moses; the prophetic figure is hereby transformed to actualise and update the Torah itself, as legislative instruction for Israel. Attention will also be paid to the immediate literary context, as well as its relationship with the conclusion of the Book of Isaiah (Isa 65-66). <![CDATA[<b>A Clash of the deities in 2 Maccabees 1</b>: <b>10b-17 in terms of space, body and narrative</b>]]> The text of 2 Macc 1:10b-17 has been approached in different ways during the past century. Recent developments within linguistic theory were applied to the text. These theories concern, inter alia, space, body and narratives within texts. All of this brought quite different insights for the traditional understanding of the text but for some reason the crucial aspect of space has been largely overlooked. Exploring different spaces in the text helps to highlight the war between the deities in their respective domains. In addition, the investigation of "head" in terms of body theory reveals that a blasphemous head was nearly always decapitated. Lastly, dominant and challenging narratives were constructed showing that Yahweh_is depicted as the conqueror with unlimited space. <![CDATA[<b>The Achan/Achor traditions</b>: <b>The parody of Saul as "Achan" in 1 Samuel 14:24-15:35</b>]]> Within the cultic memory of ancient Israel, Achan is traditionally conceived as the villain par excellence, who according to the Dtr, took from the •-- ban and brought about a decisive military defeat for Israel. By drawing salient parallels between Achan and Saul, the narrator of 1 Sam 14:24-15:35 employs the popular Achan traditions in his scathing polemics against the Saulides. Consequently, the narrator leaves literary clues within the text itself that point to his representation of Saul as Achan, and subtly reveal the "parodic intent" of these materials. Unfortunately, past studies have not fully engaged the "parodic " nature of this pericope, and hence have largely failed to note its narrative significance. <![CDATA[<b>Women and the cry for justice in Old Testament court narratives</b>: <b>An African Reflection</b>]]> In the OT, the topos of "woman with a cause" has already been identified. Women went to great lengths to ensure that the names of their dead husbands were perpetuated, as in the case of Naomi-Ruth or Tamar, or they sought audience with the king to save loved ones.¹ It is argued in this article that both within and beyond this topos, women are found crying out for justice. A consideration of narratives such as the hypothetical case of the Woman of Tekoa's son (2 Sam 14), the narratives about the two "harlots" (1 Kgs 3) and the account of the two women who ate their own children (2 Kgs 6), etcetera, shows that "women with a cause" often cried out on behalf of their children. By considering the socio-economic background of such OT narratives in relation to the socio-economic conditions in many parts of Africa today, the article makes a case for children in Africa under the threat of starvation, are orphaned by HIV/AIDS, and who are victims of poverty, dreaded diseases and illiteracy, to name but a few. It demonstrates, first, that the quest for social justice on the continent will have to begin with children, and that, second, this will only be attained when women in Africa, like those of the OT, cry out for justice on behalf of these children. <![CDATA[<b>Suffering bodies - Divine absence</b>: <b>towards a spatial reading of ancient Near Eastern laments with reference to Psalm 13 and an Assyrian Elegy (K 890)</b>]]> Suffering is a universal human experience. It causes an existential crisis and a struggle to construct meaning. When suffering is expressed through the medium of language, it is often done in terms of bodily experience in negative lived space. It is aptly illustrated in individual laments. Functional-anthropological and canonical approaches to laments open avenues to investigate individual laments as literary-poetic creations telling a "story " of intense suffering, as paradigmatic songs expressing the negative spatial experience caused by suffering. Drawing upon insights from "space" and "body" theories the thesis in this study is that the individual spatial experience of a sufferer provides a key to a holistic interpretation of individual laments. Suffering is expressed as the spatial experience of separation from the divine and his/her benevolent presence as well as social isolation, thus suffering is ultimately an experience akin to death. The resulting discordance can only be rectified by divine intervention. It is illustrated by means of a spatial reading of two texts, the "Assyrian Elegy " (K 890) and Ps 13. "...we all experience sadness, we all come at times to despair, and we all lose hope that the suffering in our lives and in the world will ever end. I want to share with you my faith... that this suffering can be transformed and redeemed..." (Desmond Tutu).¹ <![CDATA[<b>Humanity not pronounced good</b>: <b>humanity's death within the scope of God's very good creation in light of Genesis 2-3</b>]]> Genesis 3 is commonly regarded as narrating events subsequent to the "very good" creation. In contrast to the commonly held view, this article suggest that Gen 3 forms part and parcel of the creation process and thereby, the second creation narrative as a whole (Gen 2:4b-3:24) taps into the absence of the evaluative formula with regard to the human creation cycle in Gen 1:26-30. The creation process in Gen 2:4b-3:24 is presented as an "undoing" of the negatives in the initiating verse, Gen 2:5, and all the negatives introduced within the creation process with the exception of the negative in Gen 3:22 Thus humanity is not singled out as good in Gen 1:2630 because humanity at the end of the creation process dies. <![CDATA[<b>"I had heard of you . . . but now my eye sees you"</b>: <b>Re-visioning Job's wife</b>]]> Job's wife has suffered a long history of unjust marginalisation. The few words she utters in her brief appearance in the book of Job have largely been heard negatively by many commentators of the text, who have either vilified or simply ignored her as a result. Accordingly, she has come to be seen as a minor character who is mostly irrelevant to the interpretation of the book as a whole. By contrast, William Blake's artistic exposition of the book of Job imaginatively sees Job's wife in a radical new light. His re-visioning of her invites a fresh consideration of her presence and influence within the book as a whole. The references to Job's wealth, social status, children, daughters and his agonised outburst at the start of the poetry section all point to the pervasive influence of Job's wife within the book. The picture that emerges is of a woman of strength and insight who shaped the lives of her husband and children in significant ways, drawing them into a transformed perspective of the world in which the beauties and ambiguities of life can be celebrated. Such a re-visioning of Job's wife enables a fresh hearing of her words, in which she emerges as a key character in the interpretation of the book. Indeed, she can be seen as none other than the forerunner of God as she courageously sows the seeds of a bold new understanding of faith that will be fleshed out in the divine speeches in all its vibrant, stirring glory, and will finally lead to Job's transformation. <![CDATA[<b>Conflict and conflict resolution</b>: <b>inner controversies and tensions as places of Israel's self-conception in the patriarchal traditions of Genesis</b>]]> One usually expects ethical themes in the Pentateuch's legal sections, for example in the Book of Covenant, the Holiness Code, Deuteronomy, and the Decalogue. However, one also encounters material for ethics in some narrative parts of the Pentateuch, first of all in the Patriarchal Traditions of Genesis. With this article, I would like to demonstrate the ethical value of the Patriarchal narratives by explaining three stories of conflict between the patriarchs and their brothers or relatives. Israel finds its identity and vocation very often in the Hebrew Bible when overcoming conflicts with inner or foreign rivals. Thus in three stories of conflict told in the Book of Genesis, I have tried to find how the narrators established moral standards for Israel and how they helped the people of Israel to find the right way of living together and the ideal way to resolve inner conflicts. In that respect Israel could find its position among the nations and its own identity. <![CDATA[<b>The blame game</b>: <b>prophetic rhetoric and ideology in Jeremiah 14:10-16</b>]]> There are clear signs in the book of Jeremiah of conflict between the prophet Jeremiah and other prophetic groups in the Jerusalem set-ting. Some of the more prominent passages reflecting this conflict are Jer 23:9-40 and 27-28. However tension between the prophets also surfaces in Jer 14:10-16. In the first instance the technical detail of the text is discussed. The text is scrutinised with an interest in the rhetoric employed in this passage, but also to address the clashes in ideological viewpoints between the various parties. Sec-ondly a coherent reading of 14:10-16 is presented, highlighting both the rhetorical strategies employed in the composition of the text and the ideas promoted in this passage. The conclusion reached is that the voice of the composer of the text dominates. Furthermore when it comes to blame, people and prophets alike should take their share of the blame for the alienation from Yahweh and the devastating result of the exile. <![CDATA[<b>Book Reviews / Boek Resensies</b>]]> There are clear signs in the book of Jeremiah of conflict between the prophet Jeremiah and other prophetic groups in the Jerusalem set-ting. Some of the more prominent passages reflecting this conflict are Jer 23:9-40 and 27-28. However tension between the prophets also surfaces in Jer 14:10-16. In the first instance the technical detail of the text is discussed. The text is scrutinised with an interest in the rhetoric employed in this passage, but also to address the clashes in ideological viewpoints between the various parties. Sec-ondly a coherent reading of 14:10-16 is presented, highlighting both the rhetorical strategies employed in the composition of the text and the ideas promoted in this passage. The conclusion reached is that the voice of the composer of the text dominates. Furthermore when it comes to blame, people and prophets alike should take their share of the blame for the alienation from Yahweh and the devastating result of the exile.