Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Why use the image of a divine image?

Rather than assuming that P used ṣelem to describe humanity because Israel was no longer engaged in the worship of divine images, and it was, therefore, no longer a derogatory term, the author may have chosen his terms precisely because the manufacture and worship of divine images in Israel was widespread. The application of these terms to humans in relationship to the deity would have surely captured the attention of his audience. If so, then Gen 1:1–2:3 would most certainly be relevant to preexilic Israelites, when the production and worship of ṣəlamîm was widely practiced, as is well attested in the Iron Age archaeological re- cords of Israel and Judah. This observation is not, of course, evidence for a preexilic date for Gen 1:1–2:3, and I have noted above the dangers in dating a text by its content. However, it does suggest that the application of ṣelem to human beings could have been not only an appropriate choice in the Preexilic Period, but an ingenious one: ṣelem in Gen 1:26–27 may have been a double entendre, referring both to a statue and a son.—The "Image of God" in the Garden of Eden, pages 184–85 (emphasis original)

<idle musing>
Don't get me started on the problems of dating by content… Anyway, makes sense to me!
</idle musing>

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