Der Himmel im Alten Testament

Israels Weltbild und Weltanschauung

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Author: Houtman
How did Ancient Israel think of heaven? What place did it have in its view of the world? The Old Testament attests to a strikingly wide variety of concepts of heaven, and simultaneously to a very close association between heaven and earth. This study pays considerable attention to these topics and to the theme of heaven as God's realm and residence. These are some of the conclusions drawn:
- for Ancient Israel, heaven and earth, (the principal components of the world) constituted a dynamic bipolarity, which was connected with mankind at one pole and with God at the other;
- the Old Testament has no world-concept ("Weltbild"). It does not give a unanimous answer to the questions concerning the how of the coming into existence of the cosmos and the how of its structure and order. It does, however, imply a world-view ("Weltanschauung"), i.e. it answers the question: To whom does the world owe its birth and existence?
This study offers a careful discussion of the Old Testament terms and concepts relating to heaven, and the use of the word-pair: heaven and earth. By distinguishing between 'world-concept' and 'world-view' a fruitful contribution is made to the clarification and understanding of the Old Testament concepts concerning the cosmos.

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Cornelis Houtman is professor of Old Testament at the Theological University, Kampen. Major publications (in Dutch): Introduction to the Pentateuch (1980) and Commentary on the Book of Exodus (I 1986; II 1990; III in preparation; English translation in preparation), and several articles in English and German.
' ...a major contribution worthy of the best of Dutch scholarship. Houtman's treatment is comprehensive and in depth.' John D.W.Watts, Review & Expositos, 1994. ' ...recht hilfreich...man [kann] bei Behandlung korrespondierender Themen in Zukunft an diesem Opus nicht vorübergehen.' Gerhard Wallis, Theologische Literaturzeitung, 1994. ' Im ganzen wird man dem Vf. für diese umfassende Wortuntersuchung dankbar sein und dem Werk eine weite Verbreitung wünschen.' Henning Graf Reventlow, Theologische Revue, 1994. ' ...durch detaillierte Verzeichnisse (Literatur) und Register (Sachen, hebräische Wörter, Stellen) sehr gut aufgeschlüsselt.' B. Janowski, , 1995. ' ...die jetzige Übersetzung [ist] sehr zu begrüßen, weil sie noch immer aktuell ist...Nützliche Verzeichnisse schließen das schön ausgestattete Werk ab.' M.J. Mulder, Bibliotheca Orientalis, 1995. ' ...eine materialreiche und sorgfältige Wort- und Begriffsstudie...' Robert Oberforcher, Zeitschrift für Katholische Theologie, 1996.