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Abstract

The social location of Second Isaiah has been an issue of renewed scholarly debate in the past decade. In this debate, H. G. M. Williamson has called attention to the role of terminology in identifying the probable geographical provenance of this portion of Isaiah. In this article, we examine an instance of language contact in Isa 47:2 and argue that the hapax legomenon שׁבל is a loan from the Akkadian root špl, perhaps the specific lexeme šaplû or šapiltu, referring to the “lower part (of the body).” In doing so, we propose that this term is an incidental loan, namely, a borrowing that evinces general contact with the author’s Babylonian surroundings but exhibits no polemic against the empire. That this borrowing was not ideologically motivated is significant, we suggest, for it increases the likelihood that the loan occurred in a Babylonian locale. The argument for Babylonian provenance is buttressed further by parallels observed in Ezek 16, another prophetic text that apparently originated in Babylon and that contains phrasing, literary conventions, and evidence of language contact similar to that in Isa 47. These features, we suggest, are part of an evolving rhetoric within an identifiable segment of exilic and post-exilic biblical prophecy.

In: Vetus Testamentum
Author: Boris Kleiner

Abstract

The Masoretic Text is a codification of the recitation tradition, the crucial aspect of which is its phrasing represented by the masoretic accents. The accents address primarily the declamation rhythm rather than the pitch of the recitation melody. Disjunctive accents of different hierarchic prominence mark the phrasing caesurae as relatively major or minor, distinguishing between various grades of caesural depth. However, the chanted recitation realizes the caesurae by the positionally assigned durations that do not express the significance of the individual caesurae and are aligned only with the division of the text into superordinate phrases. Caesurae of different depth may be realized indiscriminately, yet are distinguished in the accentuation. By their differentiating notation the accentuators were able both to capture the phrasing sound of the oral tradition and to interpret, determine, and even manipulate its sense.

In: Vetus Testamentum

Abstract

This essay addresses the composition of Samson’s lion encounter (Judg 14:5–6) in two parts. First, the narrative of the lion encounter is considered in its literary context (Judg 14:5–6), with particular attention to three difficulties or ambiguities in the narrative arrangement: the presence/absence of the parents, verbal repetition, and the meaning of the חידה. The incongruity of these details indicates redactional seams that, as the present essay argues, might be explained with reference to a Persian period compositional setting of Judg 14:3–6. Second, as supporting evidence for this hypothesis, the essay contextualizes Samson’s lion encounter with reference to Persian period leonine iconography. Two major iconographic motifs are considered—the “heroic encounter” and Herakles depictions—both in their broader settings (the ancient Near East and Greece respectively) and in specific Levantine examples. These artifacts serve to fill out Samson’s heroic characterization and to provide tantalizing material evidence for a possible Persian period setting of this episode in the Samson narrative.

In: Vetus Testamentum

Abstract

This brief study dialogues with Mikhail Bakhtin’s insights to evaluate the rhetoric of Jonah’s humor. The “carnivalesque” lens invites the reader to revel in the dialogic dissonances of the book, for in carnival fashion, the humor of Jonah counters the seriousness of a seemingly determined world with the liberating laughter of open-ended ambiguity. In Jonah, social hierarchies are collapsed, the hero is debased, and the world is depicted in grotesque and hyperbolic form. By embodying a “carnival sense of the world,” the humor in Jonah wonders aloud: What if the world is not as simple, ordered, and predictable as the prophetic voice often assumes? That idea is provoked and prodded by embodying the idea of “the prophet” in the character of Jonah and dropping him into unusual circumstances, as an authentically open-ended, literary, thought experiment. In that experiment, “Who knows?” Anything could happen.

In: Vetus Testamentum
In: Das theologische Profil des Julian von Toledo
In: Das theologische Profil des Julian von Toledo
In: Das theologische Profil des Julian von Toledo
In: Das theologische Profil des Julian von Toledo
In: Das theologische Profil des Julian von Toledo
In: Das theologische Profil des Julian von Toledo