Bulkeley, Tim. “Amos 7,1-8,3: cohesion and generic dissonance.” Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 121 (2009): 515-528.
It is currently available for a fee on the de Gruyter's website (apparently my wisdom is not priceless, but 14 pages is worth US$40 or about 3 words for every cent you pay), or perhaps a library near you has a copy, or if you promise to cite me in your own work I'll send you a copy, so enjoy ;)
This article investigates features of the language of Am 7,1–8,3 which promote the cohesion of the text, and how these interact with rhetorical features of the text to promote a coherent message. In this passage, repetition of lexical stock is a particularly strong cohesive feature. It promotes reading the vision accounts, both the three which precede and the one that follows, with the biographical narrative in 7,10–17. Thus despite marked differences of genre and point of view, first person in the vision accounts and third person in the narrative, the sections of this passage as we have it work together. Together they promote the claim that Amos was a true prophet, and that his message of disaster for the kingdom of Israel was indeed a word from the LORD.
Cet article étudie les éléments linguistiques d'Amos 7,1–8,3 qui produisent un sens de cohésion textuelle. Il note la façon dont ces éléments fonctionnent ensemble avec des techniques rhétoriques, de façon à suggérer un message cohérent. Dans cette section du livre d'Amos, la répétition lexicale constitue une importante structure de cohésion. Cet effet encourage une lecture des récits de vision prophétiques, les trois racontés avant la narration biographique en Amos 7,10–17 aussi bien que celui qui la suit. On constate ainsi des différences notables entre les sections de cette péricope, telle que nous l'avons reçue. Ces différences comprennent le genre et le point de vue (les récits de vision sont racontés à la première personne, mais la narration biographique à la troisième). En dépit de ce décalage formel, les sections fonctionnent bien ensemble. Elles suggèrent qu'Amos était un vrai prophète, et que son message de catastrophe pour le royaume d'Israël était en fait une parole du Seigneur.
Der Beitrag untersucht die Sprachelemente in Am 7,1–8,3, die für den Zusammenhalt des Textes verantwortlich sind, und beleuchtet ihr Zusammenwirken mit den rhetorischen Mitteln für die Herstellung von Kohärenz. Dabei wird der Verwendung gleicher Begriffe etwa für die Verknüpfung der Visionsschilderungen mit der biographischen Erzählung in Am 7,10–17 große Bedeutung zugemessen. Trotz der immer wieder angeführten Unterschiede in Gattung, Intention und »Ich«- bzw. »Er«-Bericht gehen sie auf eine Hand zurück. Zusammen formulieren sie den Anspruch, dass Amos ein wahrer Prophet ist und dass seine Unheilsbotschaft für das Königreich Israel Wort Gottes ist.
Prof. Keith BurnettIf you are a biblical scholar, or amateur of the field, you might consider a similar letter, the address is firstname.lastname@example.org
The University of Sheffield
I have been shocked to read reports that the University is considering closing the Biblical Studies department. As you know this department regularly scores highly in various comparative assessments, and has a excellent reputation worldwide as one of the major research and teaching institutions in the discipline. A generation ago there was suspicion of the unusual step of creating a biblical studies department outside theology, however developments in society and especially in the discipline since then have vindicated this decision.
As well as knowing of the department through its staff's publications I spent a highly stimulating sabbatical in Sheffield a few years ago, and have the highest respect for the work I saw. Teaching an undergraduate course as well as participating in the departmental seminars, which were the liveliest and most intellectually stimulating I have attended.
It would be a loss to the discipline globally if this department were closed. Many staff in institutions such as the one in which I teach received their PhDs from Sheffield (in our case most of us studied in NZ, but the head of our Mandarin-speaking programme is a Sheffield graduate).
I find the decision particularly shocking as there seems to have been little consultation either within the University or beyond.
First, ‘minimalists’ aren’t extremists. Second, they don’t view the bible as ‘information’. ‘Information’ carries with it the notion of facticity.Ah, tales of misunderstanding and exaggeration! Mea culpa. My statement, that Jim objects to, was an exaggeration, and was unfair to many on both "ends" of the imaginary and unreal (but nevertheless useful) spectrum. The extremists do not wish to discuss facts, I accept that ;)
[in reading novels,] we walk through ourselves meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love. But always meeting ourselves.Readers of the Bible "walk through themselves" and in doing so not only meet themselves, but also meet God. What we need is more readers and less students of the Bible. For all students meet is information. But there's the paradox, our profession produces Bible students
This [monogamous] take on Genesis 2 is possible if and only if it is read against the grain of its proximate context - the book of Genesis, in which polygamy is taken for granted - and with the grain of its macro-context – inclusive of the New Testament, in which the ideal of monogamy is upheld by Jesus and Paul. This kind of exegesis is convincing if and only if one has a high view of scripture according to which, in classical terms, it is verbally inspired. On this view, each and every word of scripture is there for a reason that goes beyond what its human author could possibly have imagined.A fun argument, with stirring rhetoric, but is John right? Must I swallow the camel of verbal inspiration, imagining e.g. God putting on funny voices to "do" Jeremiah and Isaiah differently, if I want to read Gen 2 in the light of the rest of, and the trajectory of, Scripture as a whole. I do hope not, because a God with "mouth" squinched to make Mark sound different from John, though possessing a fine sense of humour can hardly be taken more seriously than one who assiduously plants fossil animals in order to confuse 19-20th century natural philosophers!
Then Wayne asked about translation gaps meaning places where a straightforward (rather than lengthily explanatory) translation leaves a naive reader lost to much of the meaning. He gives as example Romans 11:16:In the comments there I suggested that this was where a good (simple) set of cross references that points to possible allusions to other passages of the canon, or references to practices etc. was an essential part of a good Bible translation.
Here is how the passage reads in the TEV (Good News Translation) which our children grew up on:
If the first piece of bread is given to God, then the whole loaf is his also; and if the roots of a tree are offered to God, the branches are his also.
The TEV is one of the most idiomatic translations ever produced in English. Its English is natural. Yet someone without background knowledge of Jewish religious customs would not understand Rom. 11:16 in the TEV or any other translation, for that matter. And we really can’t make an encyclopedia out of our translations, filling in all such large translation gaps.
As to the Author of this Book, it is better to suspend our judgment than to make random assertions.
Biblical Narrative in one paragraph:
Prose Narrative is the most widespread genre in the Bible, with examples in both Hebrew Bible - comprising most of Gen-Kings, plus other "historical" books and several shorter more focused stories like Ruth, Jonah and Esther as well as episodes elsewhere - and New Testament mainly in the Gospels and Acts. Events are recounted very much as if "seen by an observer", with minimal interpretation or interpretative clues offered by the writers, there is also minimal description, so these accounts are "fraught with background"1 meaning hearers/readers have to interpret meaning for themselves (as we do in real life). Working within such a framework, hinting much while saying little, encourages hearers to engage with these narratives rather than just enjoy them.
The word for “land” is the fourth most common word in the Hebrew Bible, appearing several thousand times. On the other hand there are less than one hundred occurrences of the Greek word for “land” in the New Testament, and very few of these refer to the Land of Israel. The competing claims of the State of Israel and the Palestinian people to the “Land” depends in part on the biblical understanding of the notion of the Land of Promise, and calls for a biblical and theological response.The keynote speaker is Dr Peter W.L. Walker (Tutor in New Testament & Biblical Theology) @ Wycliffe Hall, Oxford who "has written and lectured extensively on the questions of the Temple, the City of Jerusalem and the Land in the NT. He will give the keynote address and sum up at the end of the Day."
There is evidently an informal, and unacknowledged hierarchy of probability at work here. The Gedaliah from David's time is merely "said to be" - so biblical texts telling earlier events are less likely to be accurate. The semi-royal is also dubious - claims to distinction render a character less plausible. (Actually on this Gedaliah I am not sure whether Duane is dubious of his existence or merely that he was Zephaniah's grandad, but somehow his royal connection renders him a doubtful character ;)
- 2 Kings: 25:22-26: Gedalyahu son of Ahikam, exilic governor of Judah under Nebuchadnezzar. He didn't last long.
- I Chronicles 25:3: Gedalyahu, a prophetic musician said to be from the time of David
- Ezra 10:18: Gedalyahu, a postexilic priest married to a foreign
woman. He had to send her away and provide a guilt offering. Can't have
any of that marriage to a foreign woman stuff, at least not at that
- Jeremiah 38:1-6: Gedalyahu son of Pashhur, an official of King
Zedekiah, who along with other officials, thought someone should kill
Jeremiah because he was demoralizing the troops. Can't have any of that
demoralizing of troops stuff going on. Oh, no, I forgot Jeremiah was a
good guy, a prophet of God. A eunuch Cushite finally rescued Jeremiah
but not before Jeremiah did some quality time in a royal cistern.
- Zephaniah 1:1: Gedalyahu son of Amariah, grandson of King Hezekiah
and grandfather of Zephaniah, or so it says Zephaniah. Being in a royal
line is always a good thing.
Ezra 9-10 is narrated with a gaze. It gazes at the “peoples of the lands” not merely to identify, but also to belittle and discriminate against. In this paper, I offer a Tongan reading of Ezra 9-10 with attention to objects of deriding gazes, and the myth/ideology behind the gaze vis-à-vis the colonial construction of the Oceanic island 'natives.' This reading is situated in the social location of Tongan commoners (tu'a), and theorized with the Tongan notion of fonua (land, place, sea, and people). Methodologically, it weaves together insights from various methods and categories from Tongan culture. This interpretive framework provides the lenses for enga[g/z]ing (gaze back at) the text.
There's glory for you!'There's what I think is a fine example of Humpty Dumpty theology quoted on Mary's blog - I can't comment there as to stop the dreaded spammers she has comments set so that only people with a login to her blog can comment :(
`I don't know what you mean by "glory,"' Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. `Of course you don't -- till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'
`But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument,"' Alice objected.
`When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'
`The question is,' said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.'
`The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master - - that's all.'
Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. `They've a temper, some of them -- particularly verbs, they're the proudest -- adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs -- however, I can manage the whole of them! Impenetrability! That's what I say!'
See Lewis Carrol, Through the Looking Glass, "Humpty Dumpty" here
It comes from a wonderful small book called The Practice of Communicative Theology, by Matthias Scharer and Bernd Jochen Hilberath. On page 38 of that book they write:Whatever the Latin ad gradere meant - and although no Latin scholar I suspect that (or perhaps even more relevant what the range of meaning of agressus was the English "aggression" simply does not mean what these authors want to make it mean - no dictionary I have consulted permits it, and even the recent usage in phrases like "an aggressive advertising campaign" permit it either. Aggression means attack, whatever the Humpty Dumpty theologians wish. The etymological fallacy is still a fallacy, even as we near the half-centenary beyond the publication of Barr, James. The Semantics of Biblical Language. London: OUP, 1961.
The word “aggression,” from the Latin ad gradere
(”moving toward”) has a positive as well as a negative meaning. It includes no only the life-destroying forces of exclusion but also that force which can find expression in a living, loving relationship. All-encompassing peace and harmony among all creatures without doing away with their differences are ideals corresponding to the transformation of life that God promises for God’s future…
The Hebrew word for foot is רגל (regel). Like "hand," most of the time regel means exactly what you think it should mean, the things at the lower end of your legs that you put in shoes and stand on. For the record, at least in Rabbinic Hebrew, regel sometimes also means "leg."And begins his case with Ezekiel 16:25. Now, evidently this verse is concerned with sex, so obviously "feet" here do not mean what is at the bottom of ones legs, but rather what is between them ;-0
לֶאֱכֹ֣ל אֶת חֲרֵיהֶם וְלִשְׁתּ֛וֹת אֶת־שֵׁינֵיהֶם
Let me be clear on what I am claiming; it is very modest indeed. The strongest thing I want to say is that the "hand" has been used as a euphemism or, perhaps better, metaphor for penis or phallus from time to time in human history. While I think that it was a widespread usage in the Northwest Semitic world, I have not proven that.I think this is a careful and accurate conclusion, each of the examples is a strong one, where almost any reader will suspect that the word is being used euphemistically. But they are too few to demonstrate a regular usage.
On Deut. 11.10: the point is exactly that the Promised Land will be naturally fertile and thus will not require irrigation by other means (of course the language is symbolic, irrigation is as necessary there as in Egypt in reality). Tim asks 'in Egypt is most irrigation done by peeing?' - well no, but neither is there literal milk and honey flowing in Israel-Palestine, and perhaps good deal more irrigation took place by this means than by carrying water on your foot (images of hopping with a bucket attached anyone?)But why interpret the language as "symbolic" whatever that means here, I had assumed that even read as a euphemism the use was intended literally.
That is that the word for feet רַגְלָיו sometimes refers to what we might politely call 'other parts of the (male) anatomy'.I have never really been convinced by the claim. Sean cites the following passages as the best evidence for this supposed usage (the order is mine, as are the comments in straight type):
Exodus 4.25 But Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin, and touched Moses’ feet with it, and said, “Truly you are a bridegroom of blood to me!”
Now why on earth would one suppose that "feet" here is a euphemism - after all no euphemism was used for "foreskin" עָרְלַת seems explicit enough.
Deuteronomy 11.10 For the land that you are about to enter to occupy is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you sow your seed and irrigate by foot like a vegetable garden.
In Egypt is most irrigation done by peeing? No wonder they brewed so much beer! Or maybe the small earth dams on irrigation ditches are quite easily broken by foot?
Isaiah 6.2: Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew.
Really? Now why should face and feet not simply mean face and feet? Please explain!
Isaiah 7.20: On that day the Lord will shave with a razor hired beyond the River—with the king of Assyria—the head and the hair of the feet, and it will take off the beard as well.
Hairy feet or hairy [euphemism]? Which is more plausible? Though I suppose if the euphemism is for the whole genital area, this one might make sense.
Judges 3.24: After he had gone, the servants came. When they saw that the doors of the roof chamber were locked, they thought, “He must be relieving himself (literally 'covering his feet') in the cool chamber.” cf. 1 Sam. 24.3
At first sight, this one is good! In this sample I am almost convinced, there is a good case to answer, though why "covering his feet" should be a euphemism for peeing, and not merely another example of the rather gross schoolboy humour of the passage I am unclear.
2 Samuel 11.8 Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house, and wash your feet.” Uriah went out of the king’s house, and there followed him a present from the king.
Could be a euphemism, but then it could be that the sentence is euphemistic even if the "feet" are literal. "Wash your feet" = "make yourself at home"...
So, in the end, what evidence is there for this conventionally supposed common euphemism? Two cases where you might argue with some strength that reading euphemistically is the "best" reading, a couple more where it might just be possible but overall I'd say: No case to answer. In the Bible feet are just that. And Eglon as well as excessively fat, and greedy, also was known to his servants as having a poor aim. As the sign in our downstairs loo read for a while (we had teenage boys in the house) "We aim to please. You aim too, please!"
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