Friday, December 16, 2016

Let's spin a yarn or two

All explanations work with data from the biblical tradition itself or with cultural-historical analogies from the ancient Near East and, more recently, from Greece. Unfortunately, they disregard the idiosyncrasies of the biblical tradition that do not fit the historical and institutional context. The crucial question, therefore, is: In what circles and institutions did the transition from the prophecy common in the ancient Near East and known from Israel and Judah to biblical prophecy take place? To answer this question, one probably has to spin the same amount of historical fantasy that we find in the common hypotheses of the writing prophet and his “pupils,” or the curriculum of the scribal school, or the diverse interest groups of Israelite society—about which we know virtually nothing.—The Prophets of Israel, page 151

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Refreshingly honest, isn't it?

That's the final excerpt from this book. As I've said many times, he is more skeptical than I about the percentage of original content in the prophetic books. But he is clearly correct that some form of editorial work was going on. The chapter on the Qumran tradition of annotation was excellent, and provides a useful analogy to what might have been going on. That chapter alone was worth the price of the book. (That's metaphorical; because I work for Eisenbrauns, I didn't have to purchase it!)

Next up, The "Image of God" in the Garden of Eden. Here's all the scoop on it:

The "Image of God" in the Garden of Eden
The Creation of Humankind in Genesis 2:5-3:24 in Light of the mis pi pit pi and wpt-r Rituals of Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt
Siphrut: Literature and Theology of the Hebrew Scriptures 15
by Catherine McDowell
Eisenbrauns, 2015
Pp. ix + 246, English
Cloth, 6 x 9 inches
ISBN: 9781575063485
List Price: $47.50
Your Price: $33.25
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