SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

 
vol.22 issue2"Asaf" und "Jesaja" eine komparatistische studie zur these von tempelsängern als für Jesaja 40-66 verantwortlichem Trägerkreis: Erich Zenger zu seinem 70. Geburtstag am 5. Juli 2009Book Reviews author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Old Testament Essays

On-line version ISSN 2312-3621
Print version ISSN 1010-9919

Old testam. essays vol.22 n.2 Pretoria  2009

 

Knowledge of God: The relevance of Hosea 4:1-3 for a theological response to climate change

 

 

Gunther Wittenberg

University of KwaZulu-Natal

Correspondence

 

 


ABSTRACT

Climate change presents one of the greatest challenges for Christianity today. If we adequately want to meet this challenge we need to develop a new vision of our human relationship to nature (Conradie). Can the Bible serve as a basis for such a new vision? Or is it part of the problem? This has been maintained by numerous critics particularly with regard to the Old Testament. Especially serious has been the claim that the fight against idolatry by the prophets has led to a "desacralisation" of nature, turning it into dead material to be used at will (Roszak). The main culprit in this regard is considered to be Hosea (Lang). Concentrating on Hosea 4:1-3, I will try to show in this article that Hosea, far from being a problem, can indeed present helpful tools for the theological response to climate change. Hosea 4:1-3 (not the marriage metaphor in chapters 1-3) is taken as the hermeneutical key to understanding the message of Hosea. Hosea's critique is seen as being directed not against the Canaanite fertility cult, the dominant reading of most Hoseanic scholarship, (based on the assumed dichotomy between the pure Yahwist religion of the desert with Yahweh as God of history and the depraved Canaanite nature religion of Baal) but against the perverted Yahwist state cult. Corruption emanating from the priesthood, the monarchy and the ruling elite is undermining the moral fabric of society. The priesthood is responsible for the lack of knowledge of God and his commandments. This is leading not only to the downfall of the Northern Kingdom, but to ecological disaster as well. In conclusion, the paper will seek to draw some conclusions for a theological response to climate change.


 

 

“Full text available only in PDF format”

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Ahlström, G.W. Royal Administration and National Religion in Ancient Palestine, Studies in the History of the Ancient Near East 1. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1982.         [ Links ]

Andersen, Francis & David Noel Freedman. Hosea. AB. 24. New York: Doubleday, 1980.         [ Links ]

Balz-Cochois, Helgard. "Gomer oder die Macht der Astarte: Versuch einer feministischen Interpretation von Hos 1- 4." Evangelische Theologie 42 (1982): 37-65.         [ Links ]

Berry, Wendell. "Two Economies." Pages 54-75 in Home Economics: Fourteen Essay Edited by Wendell Berry. San Francisco: North Point Press, 1987.         [ Links ]

Bird, Phyllis. "'To Play the Harlot': An Inquiry into an Old Testament Metaphor." Pages 75-94 in Gender and difference in ancient Israel. Edited by Peggy L. Day. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1989.         [ Links ]

Chaney, Marvin L. Systemic Study of the Israelite Monarchy, Semeia 37 (1986): 53-76.         [ Links ]

Conradie, Ernst M. The Church and Climate Change. Signs of the Times 1. Pietermaritzburg: Cluster Publications, 2008.         [ Links ]

Cross, Frank Moore. Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1973.         [ Links ]

Crüsemann, Frank. The Torah: Theology and Social History of Old Testament Law. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1992.         [ Links ]

Cullinan, Cormac. Wild Law: Governing People for Earth. Cape Town: Siber Ink, 2002.         [ Links ]

Deroche, Michael. The Reversal of Creation in Hosea. Vetus Testamentum 31(1981): 400-409.         [ Links ]

Donner, H. "The Separate States of Israel and Judah." Pages 381-434 in Israelite and Judean History. Old Testament Library. Edited by Hayes J.H. and Miller, J.M. London: SCM, 1977.         [ Links ]

Gerstenberger, Erhard. Wesen und Herkunft des ,Apodiktischen Rechts'. WMNAT 20. Neukirchen: Neukirchner, 1965.         [ Links ]

Glueck, Nelson. Das Wort chesed im atl. Sprachgebrauch als menschliche und göttliche gemeinschaftsgemafie Verhaltensweise. ZAW Beiheft 47 (ET Chesed in the Bible, ET 1967), 1927.         [ Links ]

Hayes, Katherine M. "The Earth Mourns", Prophetic Metaphor and Oral Aesthetic. SBL Academia Biblica 8. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2002.         [ Links ]

Jeremias, Jörg. Der Prophet Hosea. Das Alte Testament Deutsch 24/1. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1983.         [ Links ]

Keefe, Alice A. Woman's Body and the Social Body in Hosea. JSOSup, 113, Gender, Culture, Theory 10. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001.         [ Links ]

Kjellberg, Seppo. Urban Ecotheology. Utrecht: International Books 2000.         [ Links ]

Koch, Klaus. "Gibt es ein Vergeltungsdogma im Alten Testament?" Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche 52 (1955): 1-42.         [ Links ]

Lang, B. Monotheism and the Prophetic Minority: An Essay in Biblical History and Sociology. The Social World of Biblical Antiquity Series 1. Sheffield: The Almond Press, 1983.         [ Links ]

Levin, Christoph . "Das Alte Testament auf dem Weg zu seiner Theologie." Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche 105 (2008): 125-145.         [ Links ]

Lundblom, Jack R, "Contentious Priests and Contentious People in Hosea IV, 1-10." Vetus Testamentum XXXVI (1986): 52-70.         [ Links ]

Lang, Bernhard. Monotheism and the Prophetic Minority: An Essay in Biblical History and Sociology. The Social World of Biblical Antiquity Series 1. Sheffield: The Almond Press, 1983.         [ Links ]

Mays, James L. Hosea: A Commentary. OTL. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1969.         [ Links ]

Meyers, C. "Jachin and Boaz in Religious and Political Perspective." CBQ 45 (1983): 167-178.         [ Links ]

Midgeley, M. "The Mixed Community." Pages 211-226 in The Animal Rights / Environmental Ethics Debate. Edited by E.C. Hargrove. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992.         [ Links ]

Morgenstern, J. "The King-God among the Western Semites and the Meaning of Epiphanes." Vetus Testamentum 10 (1960): 138-197.         [ Links ]

Peckham, Brian. "The Composition of Hosea." Hebrew Annual Review, Division of Hebrew Language and Literature, Ohio State University (1987): 313-353.         [ Links ]

Rentería, Tamis Hoover. "The Elijah / Elisha Stories: A Socio-Cultural Analysis of Prophets and People in Ninth-Century B.C.E. Israel." Pages 75-126 in Elijah and Elisha in Socioliterary Perspective, SBL Semeia Studies. Edited by Robert B. Coote. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1992.         [ Links ]

Roszak, Theodore. Where the Wasteland Ends: Politics and Transcendence in Postindustrial Society. London: Faber & Faber, 1973.         [ Links ]

Rudnig-Zelt, Susanne. Hoseastudien: Redanktionskritische Untersuchungen zur Genese des Hoseabuches. FRLANT 213. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2006.         [ Links ]

Schmid, Hans Heinrich. Gerechtigkeitals Weltordnung. BHT 40. Tubingen: J.C.B. Mohr, 1968.         [ Links ]

Stoebe, H.-J. s.v. חֶסֶד chesed Güte, THAT Vol. I, München: Chr. Kaiser (1971): 600-621.         [ Links ]

Todd, Judith. "The Pre-Deuteronomistic Elijah Cycle." Pages 1-36 in Elijah and Elisha in Soioliterary Perspective. SBL Semeia Studies. Edited by Robert B. Coote. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1992.         [ Links ]

Von Rad, Gerhard. Old Testament Theology. I. The Theology of Israel's Historical Traditions. New York: Harper & Row, 1962.         [ Links ]

Vos, Cas. Hoe Kan ek jou Laat Los? God se Liefde vir Wegloopmense - Hosea. Wellington: Lux Verbi, 2008.         [ Links ]

Wittenberg, Gunther. Resistance Theology in the Old Testament: Collected Essays. Pietermaritzburg: Cluster Publications, 2007.         [ Links ]

White, Lynne. "The Historical Roots of our Ecological Crisis." Science 155 (1967): 1203-1207        [ Links ]

Wolff, Hans Walter. "'Wissen um Gott' bei Hosea als Urform von Theologie." Pages 1-36 in Gesammelte Studien zum Alten Testament. Chr. Kaiser Theologische Bücherei 22. Edited by Hans Walter Wolff. München: Chr. Kaiser Theologische Bücherei, 1964 (1952/53).         [ Links ]

_____. Hosea: A Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Hosea. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1974.         [ Links ]

Wybrow, Cameron. The Bible, Baconianism, and Mastery over Nature: The Old Testament and its Modern Misreading. American University Studies, Series VII Theology and Religion Vol. 112. New York: Peter Lang, 1991.         [ Links ]

Zobel, H.-J. s.v. חֶסֶד chesed, TDT Vol.V, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans (1986): 44-64.         [ Links ]

 

 

Correspondence:
Prof Gunther Wittenberg
(emeritus), School of Theology, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Private Bag X01, Scottsville, 3209
E-mail: wittenberggh@gmail.com