A community as a testamentary executor : the journey of Joseph’s bones from Egypt to the Promised Land

Ko, In-Kook (2013-12)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This research is a synchronic reading of Exodus that investigates the “traces of Joseph’s bones” in the Exodus narratives. The Exodus is depicted in this narrative as Joseph’s funeral procession. Moses carries Joseph’s bones up from the land of Egypt when the Exodus begins (Exod. 13:19) and the sons of Israel bury the bones in the land of Canaan at the end of Exodus (Jos. 24:32). That is, the texts portray the Exodus as the journey of Joseph’s bones from Egypt to the Promised Land. However, the texts offer only a trace of the bones at the beginning and at the end of the narrative. In this study an inter-textual approach to the biblical texts is used to interpret the Ark of the Covenant as the coffin containing Joseph’s bones in the desert. A faithful testator who strongly believed God’s promise intended the narrative of the solemn journey as a way of handing over his faith to his audience as a form of testament. The audience keeps and performs the testament as testamentary executors. Joseph’s funeral narrative is interpreted in this study by focusing on the text itself. The end of the narrative is reached with the burial of the bones as recorded in the book of Joshua. This construction suggests that the burial is a fulfillment of Joseph’s testament, but not the ultimate fulfillment thereof. The testament also has a bearing on further texts beyond the sixth book of Hebrew Bible. This narrative construction also has potential for interpretation in contemporary Christianity. The construction of the narrative reveals to the reader that God was the real executor behind the testamentary executors. The study therefore suggests that the church is a community which stands in continuation with the testamentary executors of the Old Testament. Joseph’s funeral narrative finds renewed fulfillment in the Christian church when expecting the real Executor again. This study concludes with some suggestions for the Church of how the fulfillment of Joseph's testament can be facilitated in contemporary contexts.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie navorsing verteenwoordig ‘n sinkrone lees van die Eksodusverhaal waarin die “aanduidings van Josef se beendere” bestudeer word. Die Eksodus word in hierdie verhaal uitgebeeld as Josef se begrafnisprosessie. Moses dra Josef se beendere op vanuit Egipte waar die Eksodus begin (Eks. 13:19) en die seuns van Israel begrawe die beendere in die land van Kanaän aan die einde van die Eksodusverhaal (Jos. 24:32). Dit wil sê, die tekste beeld die Eksodus uit as die reis van Josef se beendere van Egipte na die Beloofde Land. Die tekste bied egter slegs ‘n spoor van die beendere aan die begin en aan die einde van die verhaal. ’n Inter-tekstuele benadering tot die Bybeltekste word in hierdie studie gebruik om die Verbondsark te interpreteer as die kis met Josef se beendere in die woestyn. ‘n Getroue erflater wat ten sterkste in God se belofte glo het die verhaal van die plegtige reis bedoel as 'n manier waardeur die erflater sy geloof aan sy gehoor in die vorm van 'n testament oorlewer. Die gehoor bewaar en voer die testament uit as testamenêre eksekuteurs. Josef se begrafnis narratief word in hierdie studie geïnterpreteer deur op die teks self te fokus. Die einde van die narratief word bereik met die begrafnis van die beendere waarvan in die boek Josua vertel word. Hierdie konstruksie suggereer dat die begrafnis die vervulling van Josef se testament is, maar dat dit nog nie die finale vervulling daarvan is nie. Die verhaal oor die erflating beïnvloed ook die verdere tekste na die sesde boek van die Hebreeuse Bybel. Hierdie narratiewe konstruksie toon ook potensiaal vir interpretasie in die hedendaagse Christendom. Die opbou van die narratief onthul aan die leser dat God die eintlike uitvoerder agter die testamentêre uitvoerders was.Die studie suggereer dus dat die Kerk ’n gemeenskap is wat in kontinuïteit staan met die testamentêre uitvoerders van die Ou Testament. Josef se begrafnis narratief vind hernude vervulling wanneer die Christelike kerk opnuut die Uitvoerder van die testament verwag. Die werk sluit af met enkele voorstelle oor hoe die uitvoering van hierdie testament in kontemporêre kontekste gefasiliteer kan word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/85595
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