Naaman’s Healing and Gehazi’s Affliction: The Magical Background of 2 Kgs 5

In: Vetus Testamentum
Author: Isabel Cranz1
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  • 1 University of Pennsylvania
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Scholars tend to view the healing of Naaman and the subsequent affliction of Gehazi in 2 Kgs 5 as polemic against magic and non-Israelite ideas about disease and healing. However, in analyzing the motif of צרעת as literary device it can be demonstrated that 2 Kgs 5 is not opposed to magic. My paper will show instead how the consultation between the Aramean and the Israelite kings, the depiction of Naaman’s healing, as well as the circumstances of Gehazi’s affliction draw from generic ideas about magic to bring into sharper focus the power of the prophet and the presence of Yahweh in the land of Israel.

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