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Shimon Gesundheit

Abstract

Using Exod 12:21-27 as a case study, this paper shows how literary analysis can find itself subordinated to historical-critical theory. It will be argued that this practice is ill advised. An established reading of a text should never be dismissed when it is found to challenge accepted paradigms. It is, rather, the presumed historical and social settings that must be problematized.

A Prayer for Purification

Psalm 51:12-14, a Pure Heart and the Verb ברא

Ellen van Wolde

Abstract

This article focuses on the pivotal role of verses 12-14 in Psalm 51. In v. 13 the speaker expresses the fear that due to his transgressions God’s spirit of holiness will be taken away, because God does not tolerate impurity of any kind. For the impurity generated by the transgressions will be projected onto the sanctuary, which in this way will be defiled. Therefore, aligned with רוח קדשך in v. 13 is טהור לב in v. 12: purity is the sine qua non for God’s holy spirit to stay and keep active in the midst of the Israelites. In this view, the impure world of words and deeds is the total from which the pure ones are to be separated. It is not the purity of the heart itself, but the process of purification that is expressed here, so that the pure heart remains, cleared of sins.

Dong-Hyuk Kim

Abstract

The one-word negative response lō’ means “no” in Zech 4:5 and “yes” in Gen 18:15. This ambiguity is syntactic in nature and is handled and removed also by BH syntax.

Erez Ben-Yosef

Abstract

This paper aims at highlighting a methodological flaw in current biblical archaeology, which became apparent as a result of recent research in the Aravah’s Iron Age copper production centers. In essence, this flaw, which cuts across all schools of biblical archaeology, is the prevailing, overly simplistic approach applied to the identification and interpretation of nomadic elements in biblical-era societies. These elements have typically been described as representing only one form of social organization, which is simple and almost negligible in historical reconstructions. However, the unique case of the Aravah demonstrates that the role of nomads in shaping the history of the southern Levant has been underestimated and downplayed in the research of the region, and that the total reliance on stone-built archaeological features in the identification of social complexity in the vast majority of recent studies has resulted in skewed historical reconstructions. Recognizing this “architectural bias” and understanding its sources have important implications on core issues in biblical archaeology today, as both “minimalists” and “maximalists” have been using stone-built architectural remains as the key to solving debated issues related to the geneses of Ancient Israel and neighboring polities (e.g., “high” vs. “low” Iron Age chronologies), in which— according to both biblical accounts and external sources—nomadic elements played a major role.

Yitzhaq Feder

Abstract

This article investigates the conceptual background of the notion of corpse pollution as represented by the Priestly expression ṭāmēˀ la-nepeš. Contrary to the growing tendency to view it as a late introduction to Israelite religion, the analysis will situate corpse impurity in relation to broader biblical and West Semitic conceptions of the afterlife. This discussion will serve as the basis for the further question whether this type of pollution was related to a fear of ghosts.

Katharine Dell and Tova Forti

Abstract

Qoheleth’s experiential method and inner-dialogue creates tensions on the levels of language, style, content and theological ideas. In this paper we seek to explore this tension in relation to a short section (Qoh 2:24-26) that is placed at the end of chapter 2. In the process we question the section division itself and the usual emendation of the translation of v. 25 to fit into the thought of these three verses and that of their neighbouring verses. We engage in a detailed analysis of the versions and of scholarly opinion on the translation, key terms and structure of these verses. We argue that this is just one example of where literary structure has dictated translational options and we prefer instead to ‘enjoy the tension’ of the more convincing and less accepted translation of verse 25 as “For who can eat or even sense, apart from me.”

Cat Quine

Abstract

With the exception of Nahum 3:16, in the Hebrew Bible Yahweh alone has the power to multiply humans so that they will be as innumerable as the stars. Nineveh’s multiplication of her merchants “more than the stars of the heavens” (Nah 3:16) was, therefore, tantamount to a challenge to Yahweh’s divine power. The destruction of Nineveh demonstrated that Yahweh answered this challenge.

Daewook Kim

Abstract

This paper seeks to determine the author(s)’s rhetorical purpose in 1 Kgs 12:25-13:34 by exploring the similarities and differences between the characters, and examining related passages. After this examination, the following conclusions are arrived at: first, because of the old prophet’s deceit and the disobedience of the man of God, the true and false prophets are not clearly distinguished in the narrative; second, the comparison between Jeroboam and the old prophet reveals that disobedience, which is equated with idolatry, is more evil than false prophecy; and third, Yhwh’s prohibitions, which are associated with Jeroboam and the man of God, serve the rhetorical purpose of denunciating Jeroboam’s innovations and stressing obedience to Yhwh, that is, an adherence to Mosaic law. Consequently, the Mosaic law, which condemns idolatry, is seen to be more important than prophecy.