Thursday, December 22, 2016

Echoes in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament

Although there are no obvious references to the Washing of the Mouth or the Opening of the Mouth in the Hebrew Bible, several prophetic texts reflect an awareness that the manipulation of an individual’s sensory organs was thought to activate the individual in some way. Hurowitz, building on the work of Weinfeld and others, has argued that the purification of Isaiah’s lips in Isaiah 6 is best understood against the background of Mesopotamian ceremonies for the purification of the mouth, including the mīs pî. According to H.-P. Müller, the cleansing of the mouths of the prophets Jeremiah (1:9) and Ezekiel (2:8–3:3) should also be understood in this light. Finally, J. Kutsko has suggested that the re-creation of corporate Israel in Ezekiel 36–37 “develops an argument that parodies the Mesopotamian pattern of re-creation of cult images prior to their repatriation.” Specifically, he claims that the animation of Israel by the rûaḥ of God in Ezek 37:9–10 recalls the animation of divine statues in the Mesopotamian mouth-washing and mouth-opening ceremonies. “Ezekiel is intentionally contrasting creating humans with imagery involving divine statues,” he states, and further, “Ezekiel 37 is consciously drawing this analogy with idols and thereby sharply signaling the distinction in the creation of the people of Israel.” Kutsko observes further that the re-creation of corporate Israel in Ezekiel 36–37 also reflects and develops the story of human creation in Genesis 2.—The "Image of God" in the Garden of Eden, page 15

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