Meetings 2007


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Winter Meeting 2007 (abstracts)

Professor Philip Davies (Sheffield): ‘Apocalyptic’: An Otherworldly Tour through the Hebrew Bible (and Beyond) (Presidential Address)

Dr Eric Christianson (Chester): ‘Lights, Camera, Achsah!’? On Comparing the Hebrew Bible to Film

Dr Ian Wilson (Cambridge): Central Sanctuary or Local Settlement? The Location of the Triennial Tithe Declaration (Deuteronomy 26:13-15)

Dr Dwight Swanson (Manchester): The Qumran Bible: A Brief Survey of the Manuscript Evidence, with Some Implications for Biblical Studies

Dr Deborah Rooke (London): A Gender Agenda: Deborah in Holy Writ and Handel

Professor Athalya Brenner (Amsterdam): Michal and David: Love between Enemies?

Professor Ronald Clements (Cambridge): The Enduring Value of the Old Testament: An Interesting Quest

Dr David Stec (Sheffield): David the Prophet

Summer Meeting 2007 (abstracts)

Professor John Rogerson (Sheffield): Arthur Samuel Peake and the Beginnings of the Society for Old Testament Study

Professor Lyn Bechtel (Cwm Penmachno): Is There a Feminist-Like Theology in the Book of Genesis?

Dr James McKeown (Belfast): Genesis among the Exiles

Dr Duncan Burns (Flayosc): Putting the Cult of Ugarit on the Map: Incorporating Archaeological Data into the Study of the Ugaritic Texts

Professor Tryggve Mettinger (Lund): The Eden Narrative: Literary and Religio-historical Observations

Professor E.C. John (Bangalore): Reading the Old Testament from a Dalit Perspective

Dr Ian Young (Sydney): ‘Late’ Language, Loanwords and Linguistic Dating of Biblical Books

Professor Mario Liverani (Rome): The Chronology of the Biblical Fairy-Tale

Professor Carmel McCarthy (Dublin): ‘The Word is Very Near to You’: Reflection on BHQ Deuteronomy

Dr James Linville (Lethbridge): Landscaping the Heavenly Temple in Amos

Abstracts

Winter Meeting 2007

Professor Philip Davies (Sheffield): ‘Apocalyptic’: An Otherworldly Tour through the Hebrew Bible (and Beyond) (Presidential Address)

In 1972 Klaus Koch’s Ratlos vor der Apokalyptik was (significantly) translated into English as The Rediscovery of Apocalyptic, for H.H. Rowley and D.S. Russell had disposed of the problem: it was a product of prophecy born of persecution, originating with the book of Daniel, and with several distinctive features. But the elements in this definition have since been challenged or overturned: it is now 1 Enoch that seems more central than Daniel, and wisdom more helpful than prophecy; however, the relationship between ‘apocalypse’, ‘apocalyptic’ and ‘apocalypticism’ remains confused. A fresh attempt to explain apocalyptic literature and its cultural matrix employed the device of two ‘journeys’. The first explored the ancient Near Eastern culture of manticism, a priestly-scribal enterprise developed from the practice of divination that sought an empirical basis for prediction that also veered into the speculative. Astrology and dreams were used as examples. This culture was a major and mainstream current that must have been present also in ancient Israel and Judah. However, the biblical literature largely rejects divination. A second journey, comparing the figure of Enoch and traditions connected with him in Genesis and 1 Enoch, revealed an underlying dispute within early Judaism about mantic speculation and its claim that the divine will was foreseeable. The paper concluded that it was not ‘apocalyptic’ that constituted a peculiar cultural development, but the Hebrew Bible itself.

Dr Eric Christianson (Chester): ‘Lights, Camera, Achsah!’? On Comparing the Hebrew Bible to Film

A growing number of scholars are relating the Hebrew Bible to cinema in a comparative mode. The comparative step is at least in part enabled by a natural affinity between the media of Hebrew Bible and of film. This paper explored a number of those affinities and surveyed recent approaches to the topic as a whole. It was suggested that comparison is emerging in two modes of analysis: (1) intertextual conversation and (2) intertextual hypothesis. Both draw on the well established discipline of intertextuality, but have different end points. While the former seeks to see what ‘conversation’ emerges through the act of comparison, the latter has an explicit and determined historical dimension. It seeks to locate a dimension of correspondence between some historical or social aspect of the Bible and that of the mainly American cinema. A number of examples of this approach were offered in relation to the Deuteronomistic History, particularly where scholars had compared elements of it to the film genres of the Western and of film noir. An intertextual ‘hypothesis’ approach was also developed through a comparison of Judges 4 and film noir, with several film clips being played.

Dr Ian Wilson (Cambridge): Central Sanctuary or Local Settlement? The Location of the Triennial Tithe Declaration (Deuteronomy 26:13-15)

This reading of the text argued for the eventual presence of the Israelite farmer at the central sanctuary in connection with the triennial tithe. It derived from two curious and largely unremarked features of the pericope: first, the Israelite’s declaration that he has ‘not eaten of the tithe while [he] was mourning’ (v. 14), meaningful if he has partaken of the tithe but pointless if he had indeed set aside the whole of it for the poor; and secondly, his designation of what he has given away as the ‘sacred portion’ rather than the ‘tithe’ (v. 13). These features can be understood on the basis of the implied direct object pronoun in v. 12 (‘I have given to the Levite’ etc.). Such an omission is fairly common in Biblical Hebrew, the identity of the missing object generally being inferred from the preceding context. Here, modern translations assume that the whole tithe is intended. There are cases, however, involving an uncountable noun, where the omitted object refers not to the whole of such an antecedent, but only to part. This syntactical feature of Biblical Hebrew thus allows the possibility that, while setting aside most (the ‘sacred portion’) of the tithe for the disadvantaged, the Israelite farmer retained some for his own consumption. The latter was not allowed in his home town (or while he was mourning), but, according to Deuteronomy 12:17, must have taken place at the central sanctuary.

Dr Dwight Swanson (Manchester): The Qumran Bible: A Brief Survey of the Manuscript Evidence, with Some Implications for Biblical Studies

This study attempted an inductive approach to the questions ‘What is “Bible” at Qumran?’ and ‘What does this tell us about the status of “Bible” in Second Temple Judaism?’ The starting point was the biblical manuscripts at Qumran (i.e. those texts that are recognised by us as ‘biblical’ or ‘scriptural’), and then some non-biblical manuscripts (texts which may have been considered ‘scripture’ by the Qumran community or by the wider Judaism of the time) were considered. The study pointed to the need to shift from thinking of ‘Bible’ as a fixed text to seeing it as an interpretative tradition which is a living corpus for a living community. The Qumran evidence reflects that relation to the text which went before the existence of that community. It was not a ‘free and lazy’ approach to the text. Texts such as 4QReworked Pentateuchc (4Q365) are as ‘biblical’ as 4QNumbersb (4Q27). The Temple Scroll continues in the tradition of exegetical updating of scripture that is seen within the biblical book of Leviticus. The fixing of the biblical text took place slowly, and was co-extensive with the increasing process of ‘canonization’ of texts which extended well into the first centuries of the Common Era.

Dr Deborah Rooke (London): A Gender Agenda: Deborah in Holy Writ and Handel

The biblical narrative of Deborah has generated considerable interest among feminist scholars because of its reversal of traditional gender roles, particularly in Judges 4, and a gendered reading of Judges 4 and 5 demonstrates how Deborah is shown as a brave, authoritative initiator in contrast with a weak and cowardly Barak, while Sisera is emasculated by his death at the hands of the independent-minded and assertive Jael. However, in the libretto of Handel’s 1733 oratorio ‘Deborah’, the biblical gender roles are reworked, so that the way in which the characters play out their functions (prophetess, man-killer, soldier) coheres with contemporary upper-class notions of appropriate gender roles. Rather than a treacherous deceiver, Jael appears as a woman who craves nothing other than safety and solitude, but who seizes a God-given opportunity to rid Israel of a despicable foe; and the prophetess Deborah ‘mothers’ the whole people by her guidance and support, without needing to dominate a Barak who is bursting with patriotic fervour to fight for his country and who is her social and psychological equal. In addition to being influenced by contemporary gender models, the portrayal of Deborah and her relationship to Barak may be linked to the relationship between Caroline of Ansbach, Queen of England, to whom the libretto is dedicated, and her husband George II: Caroline was well known for having more political savvy than her blustering military-minded husband, just as the libretto’s portrayal allows Deborah a subtly dominant role that nonetheless does not impinge upon Barak’s manliness.

Professor Athalya Brenner (Amsterdam): Michal and David: Love between Enemies?

In order to construct an ongoing sketch of Michal and David’s relationship, we have to bring together passages that are variably placed within the books of Samuel. These texts are: 1 Samuel 14:49; 18:20-28; 19:11-17, 25, 44; 2 Samuel 3:12-17; 6:15-23 (to be compared with the shorter version of 1 Chronicles 15:25-29). A biographical or semi-biographical ‘story’ of Michal is even more difficult to construct, since information about her is fragmentary; and the fragments are embedded within a larger context whose subject is David. To use an idiom coined by Cheryl Exum, Michal is a ‘fragmentary woman’, whose story is an incidental component of the dominant histories recounting the men in her literary life. Those men are Michal’s father, King Saul; Michal’s brother, Jonathan; Michal’s husband, King David; Michal’s second husband, Palti[el]; and finally, once again, Michal’s first husband, King David. Biblical authors seem not to have lent her much significance for her own sake: they present her mainly as relational to the lives and ambitions of her male blood- and societal kin. In order to construct a Michal-story, the fragments have to be brought together and somehow arranged in a way that will make sense for ‘her’, not for her male kin. This paper traced Michal’s biography in the Bible and in some western visual art.

Professor Ronald Clements (Cambridge): The Enduring Value of the Old Testament: An Interesting Quest

In this 90th year of SOTS (and the 50th year of membership of the speaker), this paper reflected on one of the key themes promoted by some of the Society’s founding fathers — concerns about the Old Testament’s ‘abiding value’ (Arthur Peake), ‘religious value’ (Robert Kennett), ‘truth’ (Stanley Cook), or ‘relevance’ to the modern world (Harold Rowley). The introduction in the early 20th century of defensive promotions about the uniqueness of the contribution of the Old Testament to human culture was due to the disturbing effect that modern critical explanations for the origin of the biblical literature had had upon Christian and Jewish communities over the preceding half-century. The idea of ‘enduring value’ replaced more explicit theological language concerning divine revelation, dispensed with the distinctive hermeneutical strategies through which comprehensive Christian and Jewish doctrines had been linked to the biblical literature, and sought to appeal to both religious and non-religious readers of the Bible by affirming its role as the formative groundwork of modern Western culture. Yet the ‘enduring value’ was defined rather narrowly under the influence of contemporary apologetic concerns, as evidenced by more recent publications that have looked at the immense variety of ways in which political, cultural and artistic achievements have built upon themes with a biblical origin. Many of the features associated with this theme are also apparent in literary discussion concerning the qualities and criteria that have been used to define a particular writing as possessing ‘classic’ status. Since both ‘openness’ and ‘human interest’ are appropriate qualities to expect within a literary work, the theme of ‘continuity’ may be suggested as a useful way of embracing the extraordinary variety of ways in which the reception history of the Hebrew Bible belongs to its essential character as a work possessing ‘enduring value’. Its merit lies in drawing attention to the manner in which literature functions in a social context, frequently breaking the restraints imposed by traditional hermeneutical strategies that tend to become unduly authoritative and moribund.

Dr David Stec (Sheffield): David the Prophet

In the New Testament David is described as a ‘prophet’ at Acts 2:30, and he is closely linked with the prophets at Hebrews 11:32. The Hebrew Bible, however, never refers to David as a נביא, nor does it ever clearly and unambiguously present him as having engaged in prophetic activity, if by this one means anything that might be represented by the verb נבא. It is in literature that perhaps dates from about the first half of the first century ce (11QPsa and MS 798 of the Antonin Collection from the Cairo Genizah) that prophetic activity is first explicitly attributed to him. The roots of the belief that he exercised a prophetic role are, however, to be found already in the Hebrew Bible itself. In the passage concerning David’s Last Words (2 Samuel 23:1-7) we apparently have an (early?) example of a prophetic oracle attributed to David. But is it really as a consequence of the later development of the link between music and praise and prophecy that ultimately the whole of the Psalter came to be regarded as in effect representing the prophetic oracles of David? There are just a few hints that music and the ecstatic kind of prophecy were linked since an early date (1 Samuel 10:5; 2 Kings 3:15), though this link is not connected with David. But in the work of the Chronicler prophecy by means of music became a formal institution, and David is presented as being responsible for this (1 Chronicles 25:1ff.), and is even given the prophetic title of ‘man of God’ (Nehemiah 12:24, 36; 2 Chronicles 8:14). This perhaps explains the origin of the connection found in Targum Jonathan between prophecy and praise. The strong association of David with the Psalter meant that by the turn of the era the psalms came to be regarded as representing the word of prophecy.

Summer Meeting 2007

Professor John Rogerson (Sheffield): Arthur Samuel Peake and the Beginnings of the Society for Old Testament Study

A.S. Peake was a founder member of the Society and between 1919 and his death in 1929 played a major part in establishing it as a recognizable force in the field of Old Testament Studies. Based largely upon unpublished correspondence between Peake and the Society’s first secretary, T.H. Robinson, the paper outlined Peake’s importance to Robinson as a mentor and advisor, as well as his crucial role in the following areas: the editing and publication of The People and the Book, the rapprochement with German scholarship after the First World War and the Society’s support for the Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, and the question of the Society’s involvement with the University Extension Movement. For all of this time Peake was suffering from a hydatid cyst on his liver which caused anaemia and tiredness. His devotion to the Society’s affairs was therefore all the more remarkable. After Peake’s death Robinson wrote ‘to describe his connection with the Society would almost be to write its history’.

Professor Lyn Bechtel (Cwm Penmachno): Is There a Feminist-Like Theology in the Book of Genesis?

There has been a call among feminists of the Hebrew Bible for a ‘feminist biblical theology’, a theology of resistance and advocacy, which is grounded in the assumptions of group-orientation. Since the definition of biblical feminism has changed, the paper began by outlining the characteristics of a feminist biblical theology. The Hebrew Bible has conventionally been read as if ancient Israel has only one uniform, non-conflictual Yahwist theology, namely deuteronomic theology. However, the paper contended that there are two conflicting Yahwist theologies: what can be called genesis theology (found in Genesis, Ruth, Job, and Ecclesiastes) and deuteronomic theology (found in the rest of the books). The genesis theology may be seen as a Yahwist theology of resistance that forms the foundation of a mature understanding of how life and the divine function, that encourages people to question and think critically, that lacks a propensity for dualistic thinking, and that critiques and challenges many of the assumptions of deuteronomic theology. However, if genesis theology is a theology of resistance that confronts the doctrine of deuteronomic theology, then the characteristics of deuteronomic theology that are being contested need to be understood. Finally, the paper interpreted the Genesis 1–3 myths and proposed that this theology qualifies as a feminist-like biblical theology.

Dr James McKeown (Belfast): Genesis among the Exiles

Most scholars agree that it is highly probable that the book of Ezekiel is aware of and alludes to the blessing of Judah by Jacob in Genesis 49:8-12. The main allusion is in Ezekiel 19 where the themes of the Genesis passage are revisited with a high degree of shared vocabulary. Another alleged allusion to Genesis is found in Ezekiel 21:27 (Heb 32) which looks forward to one who will come after the demise of Zedekiah. This is possibly an allusion to the promise of one who would come, to whom would be the obedience of the nations, in Genesis 49:10. Obviously the blessing in Genesis is intended as a message of hope with its focus on the dominance and authority of the tribe of Judah, but in Ezekiel it is clearly part of an oracle of judgment. Thus the one to come (Genesis 49:10) is, according to Ezekiel, none other than Nebuchadnezzar. The future envisaged in the Judah blessing is one of a dominant Judah holding the enemy by the throat (or neck). For Ezekiel to give this tradition a messianic application would suggest the continued supremacy of Judah and future kings of the same calibre as those who had already gone into exile. Ezekiel, however, seems to have envisaged the end of this kind of kingship. He disapproved of the Judean monarchs and he believed that the sceptre was now about to depart from Judah and would be wielded by Nebuchadnezzar, whom he describes as ‘King of Kings’ (26:7). Although some passages in the book of Ezekiel mention a future Davidic ruler, he is not described in triumphalistic terms. He is described as one who would not promote the interests of Judah but would unite all Israel in a way that would blur the distinction between Judah and Ephraim.

Dr Duncan Burns (Flayosc): Putting the Cult of Ugarit on the Map: Incorporating Archaeological Data into the Study of the Ugaritic Texts

This paper offered a broad-brush summary of a doctoral dissertation submitted to the University of Sheffield in 2002. The paper identified a number of pervasive tendencies — recurring assumptions and methodological principles — that have contributed to a limited appreciation of the ‘religion’ (singular!) of Ugarit, and argued that a revised interpretative agenda and method could help in the formulation of a more satisfactory reconstruction of the ancient Ugaritic cult. Recognising that the unconditional preferring of textual evidence over archaeological data is the most significant of these pervasive tendencies, the paper advocated a way of incorporating textual and non-textual evidence. The reconnection of the Ugaritic texts with their find-site information raises the possibility of recovering ancient archiving techniques, and with it a way of identifying nuances in the physical distribution of the textual corpus. The creation of a database of Ugaritic cult terminology was explained and tentative findings offered. The provisional conclusion was that while a good deal of commonality existed between the texts discovered in the ‘House of the High Priest’ and the Royal Palace, the texts from the ‘House of the Hurrian Priest’ display a level of distinctiveness that hints at some kind of religious plurality. Further work is needed to flesh out this provisional finding.

Professor Tryggve Mettinger (Lund): The Eden Narrative: Literary and Religio-historical Observations

What is the theme of the Eden Narrative? In contrast to previous research, it was argued that a divine test of the first humans is the subject and that disobedience to the commandment and the ensuing consequences constitutes the theme of the Eden Narrative. This understanding is based on a narratological analysis and on a thematic discussion. Both special trees in Eden are important: the tree of knowledge as the test case and the tree of life as the potential reward. The genre is defined as myth, and a functionalist analysis is suggested as a worthwhile possibility. A traditio-historical analysis retrieves an ‘Adamic myth’ behind Ezekiel 28. The changes made by the Eden Poet serve to highlight his theme. Even this early Adamic myth contained wisdom and immortality. Israel shared with Mesopotamia (Adapa, Gilgamesh) the notion of wisdom and immortality as constituting divine prerogatives, marking out an ontological boundary between the divine and human spheres. Sound paradisiacal forestry requires a garden with two special trees, symbolizing the two divine prerogatives. Ideas of an original one-tree narrative do not make sense. The Eden Narrative dates from late, post-exilic times.

Professor E.C. John (Bangalore): Reading the Old Testament from a Dalit Perspective

The word ‘Dalit’ has become current in India in recent decades, standing for such British colonial period terms as ‘depressed classes’ or ‘scheduled castes’, the so-called ‘Untouchables’. Latin American scholars have drawn upon the theme of the poor in the Old Testament, but the special situation in India is that the Dalits are not only poor but also have the caste stigma of being regarded as untouchables. Strangely enough, even if they are converts to Christianity, as many of them are, the stigma does not disappear and discrimination is still practised. Much standard Old Testament interpretation is rejected by Dalit Christians because it is felt to be too partial in its understanding and oblivious to what the Old Testament says about the poor and the oppressed. A careful examination of the legal texts, the pre-exilic prophets, Psalms and Wisdom literature shows that the subject of the poor and oppressed is a major theme. Although the Exodus theme is often also brought to bear in such discussions, it is problematic in view of the aspects of ‘holy war’ and conquest. Most productive are texts which speak of all humans being in the image of God and of those who were not ‘my people’ now becoming such, as well as the language of the psalms of individual lament. A closer look at the context of the many references to the poor and the oppressed in the Old Testament, especially in the pre-exilic prophets, may prompt the careful reader to raise questions such as ‘How and why did some become poor in the first instance?’, ‘How are they being treated by the powerful and the rich?’, and ‘What roles are played by the kings and rulers, supposedly the guardians of justice, or what roles are they expected to play?’ The contexts of the texts in question show unequivocally that poverty is against the justice of God.

Dr Ian Young (Sydney): ‘Late’ Language, Loanwords and Linguistic Dating of Biblical Books

Scholars have commonly suggested that ‘Early Biblical Hebrew’ (EBH), as found, say, in the Pentateuch or Joshua–Kings, is pre-exilic Hebrew, while ‘Late Biblical Hebrew’ (LBH), as found in Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah and Chronicles, is post-exilic. However, virtually all the prominent features of LBH are also found in EBH, just to a lesser degree, and EBH texts regularly exhibit an accumulation of LBH features, just a lower number than the core LBH texts. If LBH features really are ‘late’, then all the biblical texts, whether EBH or LBH, are post-exilic. If, rather, it is the degree of accumulation of LBH features which distinguishes LBH from EBH, then various post-exilic texts ranging from Zechariah 1–8 to the Qumran Pesher Habakkuk are in EBH. The existence of most LBH features in the pre-exilic period indicates further that texts with an accumulation of LBH features could have been produced early. EBH and LBH are not successive chronological phases, but co-existing styles of Hebrew: conservative and non-conservative. The distribution of Persian loanwords does not prop up the old chronological model. People of Iranian origin were near neighbours of Judah in the pre-exilic period. Various post-exilic texts avoid using Persian words. Finally scholars have presupposed that Persian loanwords cannot be found in EBH texts, and likely occurrences are explained away. It is therefore simply a circular argument to then claim significance for the fact that no Persian words are found in EBH texts.

Professor Mario Liverani (Rome): The Chronology of the Biblical Fairy-Tale

In the ongoing debate about the chronology of Ancient Israel, it seems to be taken for granted that the archaeological chronology can shift (from high to low) but the biblical chronology cannot. Consequently, the adoption of one or another solution brings about a change in the attribution of the material remains to one or another king. The entire biblical system of dates and synchronisms, however, presents many minor and major inconsistencies that are usually ‘corrected’ in order to restore a postulated original and consistent archetype. But the presence of numbers of clearly fairy-tale nature (especially the ‘seventh year’ plus the ‘forty years’ motif) shows that some of the individual numbers go back to literary sources devoid of chronological exactness. The entire system is an imperfect construct, based on sources of different nature and reliability, and our task should be to evaluate the possible sources, and not to better accommodate the extant numbers. In addition, the standard of the deuteronomistic scholars cannot have been much higher than that of the contemporary Babylonian scribes. An analysis of their habits in treating time distances in the Babylonian past, and in treating synchronisms between Assyria and Babylonia, shows that such standard was quite poor, for a number of reasons. It is suggested that the biblical attempt to build up a coherent and precise system goes back to a rather late (Hellenistic) date, when standards had become higher but original sources were no longer available. Consequently the suggestion is advanced, to make use of a ‘proto-historical’ procedure, based on archaeological chronology plus external synchronisms, before entering the biblical dates in the picture. It seems that it is possible to accommodate the entire sequence (including the assumed ‘United Kingdom’) after Sheshonq’s raid, and that a sound inner chronology can start for Israel not earlier than the late ninth century, and for Judah not earlier than the mid-eighth century, when the entire Mediterranean basin entered a properly ‘historical’ era.

Professor Carmel McCarthy (Dublin): ‘The Word is Very Near to You’: Reflection on BHQ Deuteronomy

In the thirty to forty years between the publication of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia in 1967/77 and that of Biblia Hebraica Quinta Deuteronomy in 2007, three significant developments illustrate some of the major differences between the two editions with respect to the quality of textual sources and resources: (1) BHQ is based on entirely new colour photographs taken in Leningrad in 1990 by the Claremont Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center; (2) new and better editions of the versions have been published since BHS first appeared; (3) the final publication of all the textual discoveries from the Judaean Desert in both microfiche and textual editions. As well as a diplomatic presentation of the biblical text of the Leningrad manuscript, the Masorah magna and parva of ML are also represented diplomatically, with obvious scribal errors indicated in the critical apparatus. With well over two thousand entries in the critical apparatus, only a tiny selection was chosen in this paper for illustrative purposes. One of the key new features of BHQ regarding text-critical cases in the apparatus is the featuring of all the relevant evidence for each case. In the four earlier Biblia Hebraica editions only variants were cited in the apparatus, thereby giving a visual impression that automatically screened out the fact that in many cases there were more witnesses in agreement with M than in disagreement. The final section of the paper focused on issues specific to Deuteronomy: (1) its formulaic nature, and the consequent propensity to assimilation and harmonization of passages; (2) the contribution of tefillin and mezuzot readings (included in the BHQ apparatus on a selective basis, particularly when they are alone among the witnesses in offering a Hebrew text as a variant); (3) the special format for presenting the Song of Moses (recognizing the impossibility of representing diplomatically the eccentric arrangement of ML, the layout incorporated in BHQ follows the majority tradition for the copying of the Song of Moses in a seventy-line stichographic format, preceded and followed by a prose introduction and epilogue of six lines each, in accordance with the rubrics prescribed in the Masseket Soferim).

Dr James Linville (Lethbridge): Landscaping the Heavenly Temple in Amos

The poetic associations between the earthy and heavenly temples in Amos (with some references to other prophetic books) were explored to illustrate that in the poetic landscape the line between heaven and earth is often blurred or permeable. The prophetic character, as mediator between humanity and the divine, can enter the heavenly throne room, or have visions of the deity in an earthly temple. In Amos, apparent descriptions of the natural world often carry ritual or cosmic imagery, and this intensifies as the book continues. Some passages, such as Amos 9:1-2, implicate the prophetic character in the destruction of the cosmos through the commandment to assist in the destruction of the temple. It was argued that by poetically transferring the natural world to the heavenly sphere, the mythic transformations of the cosmos can be effected and a new creation be accomplished.

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