Amongst Hebrew Bible scholars the question of the understanding of biblical key terms and concepts pertaining to the human condition has attracted a fair amount of interest. And amongst those key terms and concepts it is the concept of nefeš that has proved to be particularly attractive and challenging. New light is thrown on the biblical concept by the recent discovery of the Katumuwa stele in Zincirli. The present article examines the evidence and draws conclusions with regard to the history of the concept of nefeš in the Hebrew Bible and in North-West Semitic literature and religion generally.
This paper examines various ways in which ancient Israelite texts speak of the relationship of divine spirit to human bodies. Methodologically, it takes its cue from recent work in cognitive anthropology, specifically the study of cultural cognitive models. This approach pays attention to keywords, metaphors, and aspects of syntax and grammar to attempt to elicit implicit assumptions that lie behind and enable the discourse itself. With respect to divine spirit and human bodies the texts reveal a particular focus on the modalities of the relationship. Although the two major models are “wind-against-object” and “breathwind-in-container,” a surprising number of expressions featuring spirit-as-liquid are attested. Moreover, certain aspects of how death is modeled become clearer when one distinguishes a rûaḥ model of vitality from a nepeš model. Implications for further research in the areas of selfhood and personal agency are suggested.
The first three words of Isa 13:18 have never been satisfactorily explained. The problems (especially semantic) that they raise are discussed before the proposal is made that their content fits much more closely with vv. 15-16. It is thus probable that they are some form of misplaced gloss or comment on those verses, now reworked (even if unsuccessfully) to try to make them fit their new setting.
Koh 11:7-12:8 is understood as the last part of Kohelet’s collected reflections, except for minor later additions. It resumes central topics addressed previously and correlates them to phases of human existence: youth and adulthood, (old) age and, finally death. It will be shown that the unique allusion to death by using the metaphor of “house of eternity” conveys the idea of a certain stability surrounded by examples how the beauty of creation and the products of human artistry are threatened by transitoriness, decay, and destruction. Consequently they become a paradigm of death—the way all human beings have to go. Joy pursued in the first decades of life and the “house of eternity” are not contradictory. Rather, both are regarded as positive options of human existence surrounded by the omnipresence of futility. It cannot even be excluded that Kohelet implicitly ponders a relation between the eternity God has given into the human heart (3:11) and the “house of eternity” (12:5). After all, these are the only significant instances of eternity in his collection.
The verb התחפש is well-known in the meaning “to disguise oneself,” but this meaning does not seem to fit its context in 2 Chron 35:22. Why would Josiah disguise himself when going to battle with Necho? In this paper it will be argued that the verb was borrowed from the story on Micah ben Yimlah (1 Kgs 22:30) in the course of the Chronicler’s reshaping of Josiah in the image of Ahab, but that its semantics reflect a later interpretation of some elements in that story. The later interpretation is attested independently in the Peshitta and the Vulgate where התחפש is rendered as “to arm oneself.”
Traditionally, the book of Chronicles had been studied in relationship to the deuteronomic-deuteronomistic traditions on which it is mainly based. However, in recent years Chronicles and Pentateuch studies have also started moving closer to one another. It is realised now that the finalisation of the Pentateuch in the post-exilic period and the formation of new literature (such as Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah) happened in temporal proximity to one another. It is therefore worthwhile to investigate the relationship between these late stages of literature formation of the Hebrew Bible to come to a deeper understanding of the dynamics of ideological discourses during the late Persian and early Hellenistic periods. The present contribution widens the scope further to include the prophetic literature of Ezekiel 40-48 (particularly 44) in the investigation.
Past studies of the formation of Genesis 1 have varied between a hypothesis of ‘Word’ and ‘Act’ Strata, the idea of a secondary Sabbath-oriented (Holiness) Stratum, and Arguments for literary unity. This article gathers older and new arguments to advance the hypothesis of a secondary Sabbath-oriented stratum.
Weinrich’s monograph Tempus: besprochene und erzählte Welt (1964) had a tremendous influence on the study of Biblical Hebrew. Studies by Schneider, Talstra and Niccacci and others are strongly influenced by Weinrich. In the ETCBC database of the Hebrew Bible, initiated by Eep Talstra in the 1970s, some of Weinrich’s insights have been integrated. Amidst hundreds of studies in general linguistics, why was it precisely this book that had such a great impact? How should we evaluate this impact? Are Weinrich’s insights still useful or have they become outdated? In this article we describe the introduction of Weinrich’s insights into Biblical studies and some developments that have taken place since then, both in general linguistics and in Biblical studies. We further describe and evaluate the classification of Biblical Hebrew text types which developed from these insights