For quite a long time it has been part of the opinio communis within Hebrew Bible scholarship that compassion and empathy with persona miserae is in its very meaning invented by Ancient Israel. This view has been challenged by a comparative study of Frank C. Fensham. The present article shows on the one hand that care for the poor, widows and orphans is in fact not innovative. On the other hand, a closer analysis is able to show that the biblical and Jewish care for the strangers, slaves and animals is indeed unique.
Zur literarischen Form von Am 7,10–17
The use of a narrative imperfect in Am 7:10–17 after 7:1–9 and the abrupt shift to 8:1–3 frequently compelled critics to determine its literary form. For diachronic studies defining classifications include ‘third-party report’ and ‘apophthegma’. By contrast, synchronic studies emphasize the contextual integration of Am 7:10–17 and concentrate on a narrative analysis. Within this focus it is striking, that the passage is often associated with a ‘drama’ but without assessing the methodological ramifications of such a claim. The present article takes this ‘synchronic gap’ up and relates it to approaches to view drama as a possible genre for prophetic books. In doing so, a reading of Am 7:10–17 as part of a narrator-mediated discourse using a dramatic mode shows that the passage can be deemed an entrance with three speeches integrated into the wider context of 7:1–8:3. Particularly the classification of 7:10a, 12aα, 14aα as narrator’s discourse using a dramatic mode makes this claim plausible.