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The Book of all Books Dr. Azila (Tzili) Talit Reisenberger Head of Hebrew University of Cape Town.

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Presentation on theme: "The Book of all Books Dr. Azila (Tzili) Talit Reisenberger Head of Hebrew University of Cape Town."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Book of all Books Dr. Azila (Tzili) Talit Reisenberger Head of Hebrew University of Cape Town

2 Lecture 4: Story vs. History Can one establish that things really happened? is it a story or history? is there His-tory vs. Her-story Did it happen as it is described?

3 This lecture distinguishes between what happened and how it is told The history The narrative What we hold in our hands is “The Narrative”

4 The hand that holds the pen rules the world The saying “there are two sides (at least) to every story” applies also to the Bible: Most recent research shows the 140% affect. Even when we agree on a fact as each individual sees things from his or her point of view, each is sure of their bigger "contribution" 70%.

5 Ahab and Jezebel Background details: 7 th King in the Northern Kingdom Ruled BCE Son of Omri (Dynasty of Omri) Married Jezebel, a Sedonite princess Their “arch-enemy” was Elijah

6 Biblical portrayal of Ahab 1 Kings chapters 16, – Married Jezebel – Built altars to Baal and Ashera – Great famine in the land – “battle” between Elijah and Ahab and Jezebel – War with Ben-Hadad (the Aramaian) Idiom: אל יתהלל חוגר כמפתח – Naboth’s vineyard Idiom: הרצחת וגם ירשת ?

7 Ahab in the Bible Evil Ruled by his wife Wimp ! The only positive detail: his repentance. Why? On the whole he was not a believer Who wrote/ edited/ canonized the Bible???

8 Ahab in archaeological evidence Powerful man Consultative ruler Mighty king

9 Kurkh Monolith (of the battle of Qarqar) out of 4000 chariots, 2000 were Ahab’s He put aside local differences in order to form an alliance

10 Biblical portrayal of Jezebel Question: what would have been written if the author was a Sidonite? So: the hand that holds the pen, rules the world

11 One does not need to lie, only to emphasize certain aspects in order to instil prejudice Judges 19, as an excuse for the change of dynasty. David's scribes hold the pen

12 When the Hand (i.e. the scribes) and the Head (the King, who employed them) do not see eye to eye. An ironic depiction of the king. (2 Samuel 11:11)

13 Prose vs. poetry ‘objective’ vs. ‘emotional’ Exodus 14 vs. Exodus 15 Judges 4 vs. Judges 5

14 Poetry reflects emotion Miriam and the people mock ‘the nations’ and their fear of God’s mighty hand (Exodus 15) Deborah mocks Reubenites’ “discussions” if to come and help their brethren (Judges 5) etc

15 Prose: the use of subtle hints The Bible does not use adjectives, unless it is the cause of something which follows does not pass judgment does not express an opinion (not directly...)

16 Ways of describing without adj. Building expectations and showing reality See Genesis 24: Rebecca’s kindness Eliezer's wisdom, the first politician in the Bible: not telling the truth without an actual lie.

17 The Bible does not pass judgement Jacob disregards to “birth order” first, his preferential treatment of Joseph then his preferential blessings to Joseph’s sons: Menashe and Ephraim (he prefers Ephraim who was born after Menashe)

18 If not expressing an opinion directly How does the Bible transmit “The Message”? By hints: This is why we have to study and keep studying it, in order to unearth / discover “The Message”. It is incumbent upon us to try and find these hints by reading and re-reading carefully and attentively (and by coming to Summer School, for example )

19 Examples of how to find the “hints” Careful reading Sitz im Leben (Hermann Gunkel’s suggestion) Intertextuality …

20 Examples of Careful reading 1.Moses and Miriam What we are told What we get from "side glimpses“ 2. Joseph in Pharaoh’s palace

21 A modern (and important) method of reading: Hermeneutic of suspicion: Michal and David episode (2 Samuel 6: 20-23) After Michal confronts David, the mighty king, and mocks him, verse 23 reads: “…And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child until the day of her death. “

22 Intertextuality Type scenes Key words unusual terms/ words such as technicolour coat words that are "corrupt" (misspelled, mispronounced) vayaham vayetzahek

23 Acknowledgment: We only “scratched the surface”…. But time does not allow us to have more examples There is so much to learn

24 This course is a good start We should have more in the future…

25 Today we established that we need to read beyond the words (beyond the narrative) In search of The Word (the real meaning)

26 So - see you tomorrow for the final lecture of the course. Tomorrow’s lecture is about: The Word Thank you. I would like to thank Jutta Schoof for editing these notes


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