The Language of Rebellion in the Hebrew Bible and the Ambivalent Attitude(s) It Represents
Walton, Andrew Edward
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CitationWalton, Andrew Edward. 2019. The Language of Rebellion in the Hebrew Bible and the Ambivalent Attitude(s) It Represents. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractRebellion has been an incessant feature of human history and every society has had to struggle with it. The states of Israel and Judah were no different in this regard. These two societies, insofar as they are represented in the Hebrew Bible, discussed the topic of rebellion with some frequency. Their discussions provide readers with a window into what some in ancient Israel thought about this political act. As is the case with many societies, the language of rebellion in ancient Israel was vast and complicated. As a result, modern scholars have often confused the numerous rebellion terms appearing in the Hebrew Bible (e.g., חטא ,קשר ,פשע ,מרד ) and have failed adequately to discuss others as rebellion terms (e.g., ישע). In the following dissertation, I will clarify what these terms indicate in a rebellion context and highlight additional terms the biblical writers use to describe rebellion.
The results of my research demonstrate that while the ancient Israelites may not have written political treatises on the phenomenon of rebellion, they did have a set of interrelated terms in place, a type of terminological system, to describe the various types of rebellions that existed within their society. The presence of the system, along with the ways in which they manipulated it, betray, albeit to a limited extent, their recognition of a larger or overall category of rebellion. The biblical writers had descriptive words to describe rebellion, as in פשע ,מרד, and קשר. They had expressions that could stand in to describe rebellion as in רום יד ב. There are also positive rebellion terms—ישע and נצל—that focus on the aspect of liberation. In contrast the biblical writers also employ terms connected to criminal behavior (e.g., חטא) to describe select rebellions. The words they chose and the contexts in which these words appear betray their ambivalent feelings about rebellion. The biblical authors recognize that rebellion can be destructive and present a challenge to the divine order, but they also recognize it can serve to bring freedom from foreign oppression or in other circumstances to remove a wayward monarch.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42029728
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