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Anselm C. Hagedorn

Abstract

The article investigates the role of foreigners in biblical and Greek prophecy and shows how words against foreigners or foreign people are used to reaffirm one's own (i.e Israelite or Greek) ethnicity or group identity. Oracles against foreigners have to be located in the context of (imagined or actual) war and tend to imply salvation for the group who hears these words. Here, a few short characterizations of the foreigners are used that tend to evoke stereotypical images. Whether the knowledge of the other is historically accurate or based on concrete encounters is, however, not important for the authors of such words since the salvation of the own group is the determining feature.

Anselm C. Hagedorn and Shani Tzoref

Abstract

This essay surveys the attitudes towards gentiles/foreign nations in constructions of the “other” in the Minor Prophets of the Hebrew Bible, and examines how the biblical trajectories are continued and reshaped in the corresponding pesharim from Qumran. The development of the biblical texts is examined from historical, literary, and theological perspectives. Thus, for example, the concrete historical encounter with Assyria shaped the original prophecies of the last three pre-exilic prophets (Nahum, Habakkuk and Zephaniah), while later redactional layers transform these texts by incorporating the experience of the Babylonian conquest. Literarily and theologically, the initial texts focus upon individual judgement against a concrete people, and the divine salvation of Israel from this threat. In the Persian period, there is an initial expansion of the focus to universal judgment, highlighting the special status of Israel vis-à-vis other nations. This is followed by a narrowing of the group selected for salvation, so that only the righteous of Judah will survive the final judgment. In the pesharim, there is further narrowing of the discourse of alterity for internal identity formation, as the biblical prophecies against foreign enemies are applied to the group’s contemporary antagonists, including rival Jewish groups. Pesher Habakkuk closely follows the book of Habakkuk in depicting Gentiles as idolators, and in portraying foreign nations as both instruments and objects of divine retribution. The references to the Babylonians (termed “Chaldeans”) in Habakkuk are applied in the pesher to the “Kittim,” understood by modern scholars to stand for Rome. This view of Rome as a significant existential and eschatological enemy reflects a profound theological and psychological development in sectarian thought. Pesher Nahum interprets the prophecies against Gentiles in Nahum primarily as condemnation of Jewish enemies.

Edited by Sandra Huebenthal, Anselm C. Hagedorn, Jacqueline Eliza Vayntrub and Zeba Crook

Die Erforschung der kulturellen Kontexte der Bibel hat neue Wege eröffnet, biblische Texte als kulturelle Artefakte und Zeugnisse für bestimmte Orte, Zeiten und Umstände zu lesen und zu verstehen. Ziel der Reihe ist es, neueste Forschungsergebnisse aus den Bereichen Kultur – einschließlich Sozialwissenschaften, Wissenschaft, Wirtschaft, Recht und Literatur – sowie hermeneutische Ansätze zur Produktion und Rezeption der Bibel als Kulturtext zu veröffentlichen.

Die Reihe konzentriert sich überwiegend auf Monographien, ist aber auch offen für inter- und transdisziplinäre wissenschaftliche Sammelbände über die Texte und Zusammenhänge einzelner biblischer Bücher, darunter Werke aus Ästhetik, Kunst und Poesie. Akzeptiert werden Beiträge in Englisch, Französisch und Deutsch. Alle Manuskripte werden in einem Peer-Review-Verfahren bewertet.