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The Book of all Books


The Book of all Books Dr. Azila (Tzili) Talit Reisenberger Head of Hebrew University of Cape Town Lecture 4: Story vs. History Can one establish that things really ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Book of all Books

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

Lecture 4Story 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?

This lecture distinguishes between what
happenedand how it is told
  • The history
  • The narrative
  • What we hold in our hands is The Narrative

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.

Ahab and Jezebel
  • Background details
  • 7th King in the Northern Kingdom
  • Ruled 871-851 BCE
  • Son of Omri (Dynasty of Omri)
  • Married Jezebel, a Sedonite princess
  • Their arch-enemy was Elijah

Biblical portrayal of Ahab
  • 1 Kings chapters 16, 18-22
  • 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 ?? ????? ???? ?????
  • Naboths vineyard
  • Idiom ????? ??? ?????

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???

Ahab in archaeological evidence
  • Powerful man
  • Consultative ruler
  • Mighty king

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

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

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

When the Hand (i.e. the scribes)and the Head
(the King, who employed them)do not see eye to
  • An ironic depiction of the king.
  • (2 Samuel 1111)

Prose vs. poetryobjective vs. emotional
  • Exodus 14 vs. Exodus 15
  • Judges 4 vs. Judges 5

Poetry reflects emotion
  • Miriam and the people mock the nations and
    their fear of Gods mighty hand (Exodus 15)
  • Deborah mocks Reubenites discussions if to
    come and help their brethren (Judges 5)
  • etc

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...)

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

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

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
  • by reading and re-reading carefully and
  • (and by coming to Summer School, for example ?)

  • Examples of how to find the hints
  • Careful reading
  • Sitz im Leben (Hermann Gunkels suggestion)
  • Intertextuality

Examples of Careful reading
  • Moses and Miriam
  • What we are told
  • What we get from "side glimpses
  • 2. Joseph in Pharaohs palace

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.

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

  • Acknowledgment
  • We only scratched the surface.
  • But time does not allow us to have more examples
  • There is so much to learn

  • This course is a good start
  • We should have more in the future
  • ?

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

  • So -
  • see you tomorrow for the final lecture of the
  • Tomorrows lecture is about
  • The Word
  • Thank you.
  • I would like to thank Jutta Schoof for editing
    these notes
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