An inner-biblical interpretation and intertextual reading of Ezekiel's recognition formulae with the book of Exodus

Evans, John Frederick (2006-04)

Thesis (DTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2006

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: One of the most striking literary phenomena in the entire Old Testament, Ezekiel's recognition formula is repeated over seventy times. According to S. R. Driver that refrain, "You shall know that I am Yahweh," strikes the keynote of the prophecy. Though one might expect to find many monographs and journal articles treating at length the formula's literary and theological function in Ezekiel, the only substantial work on the subject comes from Walther Zimmerli and is nearly fifty years old. More recent scholarly discussion has tended to be oblique, occasional, or subordinate to other interests. Brevard Childs has suggested that Ezekiel shows a "preoccupation with Scripture." Applying this insight, the dissertation at hand argues the thesis that the seventy-odd recognition formulae in Ezekiel mark a theological nexus and intertextual relationship between the prophecy and the book of Exodus (in some recensional form), and that those formulae are best interpreted alongside the numerous recognition formulae in Exodus. Interpreted intertextually, Ezekiel's formula points readers of the oracles to know Yahweh as the God of the Exodus, who still acts, in covenant, to judge and to deliver. Here the term intertextuality is used in a broader sense to include both a more diachronic "intertextuality of production" (Ellen van Wolde), in which a text can only be written in relationship to other texts, and a more synchronic "intertextuality of reception," in which a text can be read only in relationship to other texts. With regard to methodology, the approach of innerbiblical interpretation is employed to explore the text-production angle and the questions which emerge concerning the re-use and re-presentation of Scriptural "traditions." Also appropriate is a synchronic intertextual approach which inquires how Exodus and Ezekiel texts-in particular the recognition formulae-may be read together from a text-reception angle. Both approaches used together reveal a large number of parallels between Exodus and Ezekiel and indicate how well the recognition formulae may be read together. This study contributes to scholarship by offering an extensive review of past scholarship on the formula; a fresh exegetical research of the formula's use in Ezekiel and in other Bible books, with comparisons drawn; a study of the socio-historical and religious context addressed by Ezekiel's oracles and the formula; and a theological interpretation of the recognition formulae in Ezekiel alongside those in Exodus. There are many strong conjunctions (or continuities) between the formulae in Ezekiel and Exodus: a covenant stress; no positive use of the formula when spoken to the nations; an unbreakable link to announcements of Yahweh's mighty acts in history; etc. Yet there is also a jarring disjunction (or discontinuity) between the formulae in Ezekiel and Exodus: the prophecy repeatedly declares that Israel "shall know that I am Yahweh" in judgment. This is "a radical inversion of its former usage" (Carley); elsewhere in Scripture the formula always sounds a positive note when spoken to Israel.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Een van die mees opvallende .literere kenmerke van die hele Ou Testament, is Esegiel se gebruikmaking van die erkenningsformule - meer as 70 maal! Volgens S.R. Driver vorm hierdie refrein, "JulIe sal weet dat Ek Jahwe is", die kern van die profesie. Hoewel 'n mens sou verwag dat talle monografiee en tydskrifartikels aan hierdie formule gewy sou word, is dit slegs Walther Zimmerli wat byna 50 jaar gelede grondige navorsing in die verband gedoen het. Meer onlangse navorsing was ondeursigtig en ondergeskik aan ander oorwegings. Brevard Childs het voorgestel dat Esegiel 'n "preoccupation with Scripture" vertoon. Teen hierdie agtergrond argumenteer hierdie proefskrif dat die erkenningsformules in die boek Esegiel die teologiese kern aandui en dat daar 'n intertekstuele verb and tussen die profesie van Esegiel en die Eksodusboek bestaan. Wanneer die erkenningsformule in Esegiel intertekstueel verstaan word, dan ontstaan daar 'n verband tussen die godsprake en Jahwe as die God van die Eksodus, wie steeds binne verbondsverband as Regter en Redder optree. In die verband word die begrip "intertekstualiteit" in 'n bree sin verstaan en dit sluit in 'n meer diakroniese "intertextuality of production" (Ellen van Wolde). Hiervolgens kan 'n teks slegs in verhouding tot ander tekste geskryf word. In dieselfde asem moet daar ook na die meer sinkroniese "intertextuality of reception" verwys word, waarvolgens 'n teks slegs gelees kan word in verband met ander tekste. Op metodologiese vlak word "innerbiblical interpretation" benut om ondersoek in te stel na teksproduksie en die vrae wat ontstaan na aanleiding van die hergebruik en hervoorstelling van Bybelse "tradisies". Dit is verder ook van toepassing om 'n sinkroniese intertekstuele benadering te gebruik wat vrae stel oor hoe Eksodus en Esegiel (veral die erkenningsformules) in samehang gelees kan word indien dit vanuit 'n teksresepsie hoek benader word.. Beide benaderings kan deur saam gebruik te word, 'n groot aantal parallele tussen Eksodus en Esegiel ontdek en aantoon hoe die erkenningsformules saam gelees kan word. Hierdie proefskrif se bydrae tot die vakgebied behels 'n omvattende oorsig van bestaande navorsing oor die erkenningsformule; 'n vars eksegetiese ondersoek en vergelyking van die erkenningsformule se gebruik in Esegiel en in ander boeke van die Bybel; 'n studie van die sosio-historiese en godsdienstige konteks wat deur die godsprake en erkenningsformule in Esegiel aangespreek word; asook 'n teologiese interpretasie van die erkenningsformules in Esegiel en in samehang met die formules in Eksodus. Daar is opvallende voorbeelde van sterk verbande tussen die formules in Esegiel en Eksodus: die klem op die verbond; geen positiewe gebruik van die formules wanneer dit met die vreemde nasies in verband gebring word nie; 'n onlosmaaklike band met die aankondigings van Jahwe se magtige dade in die geskiedenis; ens. Tog is daar ook 'n mate van steurende diskontinu'iteit tussen die formules in Esegiel en Eksodus: die profesiee wat telkens herhaal dat Israel juis binne die oordeel "sal weet dat Ek Jahwe is". Dit behels 'n radikale omkeer van die bestaande gebruik (Carley); omdat daar elders in die Bybel slegs voorbeelde is waar die erkenningsformules in 'n positiewe manier ten opsigte van Israel uitgespreek word.

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