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Verbum et Ecclesia

versão On-line ISSN 2074-7705
versão impressa ISSN 1609-9982


SCHART, Aaron. Deathly silence and apocalyptic noise: Observations on the soundscape of the Book of the Twelve. Verbum Eccles. (Online) [online]. 2010, vol.31, n.1, pp.1-5. ISSN 2074-7705.

This paper proposes a reading of the Book of the Twelve (used interchangeably with 'Twelve' and 'Book' for convenience) that concentrates on the sound that is included in the description of the world of the text. Three onomatopoeic devices are singled out. First, the mourning cry hôy is considered. This interjection is used differently in several of the writings: in Amos (5:18; 6:1) the prophet cries out in compassion with the addressees. By contrast, in Nahum 3:1 and Habakkuk 2:6-19, hôy is uttered in a mood of mockery. In Zechariah 2:10 a third, joyful hôy is used. It appears that the different usages cohere nicely with the overall structure of the Book of the Twelve. Secondly, the interjection has likewise shows different usages. In Amos 6:10 and 8:3, it simulates the last breath of Israelites dying when the land is devastated. By contrast, in Habakkuk 2:20, Zephaniah 1:7 and Zechariah 2:17, the addressees are directed to be silent before YHWH. This command should be perceived as an act of reverence. Again, the sequence of the occurrences coheres with the overall structure of the Book of the Twelve. Of special relevance is that the last three instances build a frame around the Babylonian exile, which lies between Zephaniah and Haggai. The third example is the phrase hamônîm, hamônîm in Joel 4:14. The author employs an irregular double plural to construe this place as the loudest spot ('apocalyptic noise') within the Twelve.

Palavras-chave : Book of the Twelve; mourning rite; onomatopoeic words; silence; soundscape.

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