Friday, 20 May 2016
Ezekiel and Cultural Memory I
Memory and Identity in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity,
Tom Thatcher ed., SBL, 2014, page 47
Carol Newsom is clearly bothered by the way the prophet Ezekiel writes, playing fast and loose with Israel's history. She suggests that Ezekiel is often described as a revisionist, although even that severe and often pejorative label minimises some of the differences.
Although it is not impossible that Ezekiel genuinely draws on divergent traditions, it is more likely that he is deliberately inventing an alternative history.
Strong words indeed - what does she base this on?
Most strikingly, Ezekiel traces Israel's apostacy back to an otherwise unattested worship of Egyptian idols (20:8). In the account of the wilderness period he refers to violations of Sabbaths and other laws (20:13) that have no basis in otherwise known traditions ... All of these innovations are rather part of Ezekiel's attempt to do grotesque historiography, as he does also in the allegorical histories in chapters 16 and 23.
So where is this going? More in the next post ...