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Forsling, Josef, HögskolelektorORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0001-7334-1269
Biography [swe]

Min forskning har främst rört Moseböckerna och teorier om berättande (narratologi). En kritisk fråga i detta är i vilken utsträckning berättelserna i Gamla testamentet kan beskrivas som litterära eller fiktionella och hur detta i så fall förhåller sig till historiska och teologiska aspekter av berättelserna.

I min avhandling försökte jag förstå hur 4 Mosebok är uppbyggd, vilket har varit ett olöst problem i forskningen, och vilket bidrag berättelserna i boken ger till uppbyggnaden. 4 Mosebok är en väldigt osammanhängande bok, närmast en antologi, men hålls ändå samman av tanken om en resa, nämligen Israels vandring genom öknen på väg mot det utlovade landet, och vissa teman som lydnad, renhet och generationsväxling.

Efter avhandlingen har jag jobbat med frågan om de fem Moseböckerna (“Lagen”) kan förstås som ett sammanhängande litterärt verk i form av en berättelse, och om det i så fall finns ett enda tema som håller samman böckerna. Jag har också jobbat med frågan om 1 Mosebok som ett litterärt verk, och om det är möjlighet att se en intrig (sammanhållen händelseutveckling) i verket. Jag har också jobbat med s.k. "illness narratives" - berättelser om sjukdom - i den Hebreiska bibeln. 

För närvarande studerar jag fortsatt intrigbegreppets användning i 1 Mosebok, och teologin i 4 Mosebok. 

Publications (10 of 19) Show all publications
Forsling, J. (2023). Recension av Jaeyoung Jeon, From the Reed Sea to Kadesh: A Redactional and Socio- Historical Study of the Pentateuchal Wilderness Narrative (FAT 159. Tübingen: Mohr  Siebeck, 2022). [Review]. Svensk Exegetisk Årsbok, 88(1), 246-249
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Recension av Jaeyoung Jeon, From the Reed Sea to Kadesh: A Redactional and Socio- Historical Study of the Pentateuchal Wilderness Narrative (FAT 159. Tübingen: Mohr  Siebeck, 2022).
2023 (Swedish)In: Svensk Exegetisk Årsbok, ISSN 1100-2298, Vol. 88, no 1, p. 246-249Article, book review (Other academic) Published
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
Biblical Studies, Old testament
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ths:diva-2153 (URN)10.58546/se.v88i1.12574 (DOI)
Available from: 2024-01-19 Created: 2024-01-19 Last updated: 2024-01-23Bibliographically approved
Forsling, J. (2023). The Bitter Effect of the Water in the Sotah-Ritual (Num 5:11-31): Holiness and Impurity in Conflict. In: : . Paper presented at Society of Biblical Literature, Annual Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, TX, USA, 18–21 november 2023..
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Bitter Effect of the Water in the Sotah-Ritual (Num 5:11-31): Holiness and Impurity in Conflict
2023 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The Sotah-ritual in Num 5:11–31 has been the focus of many interpretations, part of which is how we understand what the potion used in the ritual is supposed to do. Among these Roy E. Gane has argued that it is the dynamic of holiness versus impurity that creates the effect of the potion (2016), and Yitzhaq Feder that the waters so to speak seek out the impurity of another man’s seed in the woman and punish her (2022). But what is the rationale behind this? While it is impossible to know the details, the line of argument followed in this paper is to say that the genitive mey ha’arim (water of bitterness, v. 18, 19, 23) should be understood objectively as indicating what the ritual is about, and not indicating the harmful effect of the potion. At the same time, the text describes that upon taking the potion the woman’s womb discharge and her uterus will drop (v. 22). So how does this come about if the potion in itself is not harmful?  The argument made here is that this is because the potion is considered holy, in that holy water is used for it (v. 17), while the woman is considered (potentially) impure (v. 27), and that it is this meeting of holy and impure that creates the harmful effect. This understanding is strengthened by the use of dust in the ritual (v. 17). It is not described as holy, but it is taken from the floor of the (holy) tabernacle. Furthermore, rituals in Zoroastrian religion during Persian times, roughly contemporary with the composition of the book of Numbers, use dust for purification, thus forming suggestive parallels to interpret the Sotah.

National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
Biblical Studies, Old testament
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ths:diva-2154 (URN)
Conference
Society of Biblical Literature, Annual Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, TX, USA, 18–21 november 2023.
Note

Paper vid sessionen Ritual in the Biblical World, SBL, Annual Meeting, 2023.

Available from: 2024-01-19 Created: 2024-01-19 Last updated: 2024-01-23Bibliographically approved
Forsling, J. (2023). The Theology of Holiness and Purity in the Book of Numbers. In: : . Paper presented at Society of Biblical Literature, Annual Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, TX, USA, 18–21 november 2023..
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Theology of Holiness and Purity in the Book of Numbers
2023 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Themes of land, rebellion, punishment and forgiveness, generational change, and death have all been subjects of theological interpretation of the book of Numbers, but holiness and purity less so. Typically, those themes have instead been treated as part of analyses of purity rules and in relationship to the book of Leviticus. However, both on literary and historical grounds there are reasons to distinguish Numbers from the rest of the Pentateuch. Thus, Num 1–10 to a large extent revolve around preparations for the wandering through the wilderness, but this includes organizing the Israelites around the tabernacle. If the Holiness Code extends holiness in regard of persons and places (cf. Milgrom), Numbers orders these in zones and grading (chs. 1–4), and introduces purity rules to uphold the purity of the camp (5:1–4 and following). Further, Num 11–21 feature several murmuring stories but in distinction to those found in Exodus 15–18, they emphasize punishment and also purity and holiness motifs, such as Miriam’s skin disease (Num 12), the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram involving offering incense (Num 16–17), and Moses and Aaron not holding God holy at Meribah (Num 20). Significantly, several of them take place close to Kadesh, meaning holiness. Again, Num 22–36 to a large extent depict preparations for entering the promised land, and present purity rules concerning mixed marriages (Num 31; cf. Num 25), the sacrifices of the public cult (Num 28–29), and the impurity of manslaughter in the promised land (Num 35:9–34). Finally, certain motif of holiness and purity span the entire book, such as those concerning death, which is found in Num 5:1–4 (sending out those with death-impurity from the camp), Num 19 (the red cow ritual setting out how to handle death-impurity, in view of the preceding rebellions), and Num 35:9–34 (manslaughter as an extreme case of death-impurity in the holy land). These are at each instance related to the surrounding passages, while at the same time they create a certain coherence for the book as a whole. The purpose of the present paper is to unearth the often forgotten theology of holiness and purity in Numbers and argue its significance in the interpretation of the book.

National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
Biblical Studies, Old testament
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ths:diva-2155 (URN)
Conference
Society of Biblical Literature, Annual Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, TX, USA, 18–21 november 2023.
Note

Paper vid sessionen  Theology of the Hebrew Scriptures, SBL, Annual Meeting, 2023.

Available from: 2024-01-19 Created: 2024-01-19 Last updated: 2024-01-23Bibliographically approved
Forsling, J. (2023). Writing a Biblical Theology of Numbers. In: : . Paper presented at Symposium om teologisk tolkning,Linköpings universitet, 25-26 maj.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Writing a Biblical Theology of Numbers
2023 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
Biblical Studies, Old testament
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ths:diva-2156 (URN)
Conference
Symposium om teologisk tolkning,Linköpings universitet, 25-26 maj
Available from: 2024-01-19 Created: 2024-01-19 Last updated: 2024-01-23Bibliographically approved
Forsling, J. (2022). Generations, Credo, and Punishment in the book of Numbers: A Key to to Its Theology and  Composition in Persian Times. In: : . Paper presented at Society of Biblical Literature, Annual Meeting, Denver 19-22 Nov..
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Generations, Credo, and Punishment in the book of Numbers: A Key to to Its Theology and  Composition in Persian Times
2022 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The significance of generational change for understanding the book of Numbers is often taken for granted. It was Dennis Olson’s study of 1985 that put the spotlight on this theme. Of the several conclusions drawn by Olson, two are highlighted here: that Numbers portray two contrasting generations and promote the new over the old, and that this portrayal is consistent with the redactional structure or final form of Numbers. These two conclusions are taken as starting points in sketching the compositional provenance theologically of the book in Persian times in light of recent research. 

Four contexts are inquired into: the origin of the so called Israelite credo in the Spy story (14:18) in light of form criticism and inscriptional evidence; the parallel text of the Golden calf-episode in Exod 32–34, which also features the credo and relates to covenantal theology; and the idea of generational punishment being refuted in Ezekiel 18 and replaced in the books of Chronicles. 

Together these contexts show that Numbers has a timely message concerning the forgiveness and opportunities of the new generation standing on the edge of the promised land in the book, which may be read as a stand-in for the Yahweh-believing communities in Persian times.

National Category
Religious Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ths:diva-1728 (URN)
Conference
Society of Biblical Literature, Annual Meeting, Denver 19-22 Nov.
Available from: 2023-01-11 Created: 2023-01-11 Last updated: 2023-10-11Bibliographically approved
Forsling, J. (2021). Människans synd och Guds svar: Om att läsa Urhistorien som problemformulering. In: Thomas Kazen och Susanne Wigorts Yngvesson (Ed.), Öppna vyer – lång sikt: Festskrift till Owe Kennerberg (pp. 101-112). Bromma: Enskilda Högskolan Stockholm
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Människans synd och Guds svar: Om att läsa Urhistorien som problemformulering
2021 (Swedish)In: Öppna vyer – lång sikt: Festskrift till Owe Kennerberg / [ed] Thomas Kazen och Susanne Wigorts Yngvesson, Bromma: Enskilda Högskolan Stockholm , 2021, p. 101-112Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper explores the nature of the Primeval History and more specifically if there is a complication formulated here, that is later taken up or answered somehow in the rest of Genesis (or the Pentateuch). This is formulated as a question of if we can say that there is a plot in Genesis. Scholars such as Gerhard von Rad, David Clines, and Todd Patterson are reviewed. In dialogue with historical-critical research it is concluded that the relationship of the Primeval History to what follows is best understood in terms formulated by Georg Nicol as "rolling-plot," where a certain formulation of plot is not strictly followed to a denouement, but rather taken up and amended in a slightly different direction.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bromma: Enskilda Högskolan Stockholm, 2021
Series
Studia Theologica Holmiensia, ISSN 1401-1557 ; 34
Keywords
Old Testament, Hebrew Bible, narrative theory, Primeval History, Genesis, redaction-criticism, plot, complication
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
Biblical Studies, Old testament
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ths:diva-1435 (URN)978-91-88906-11-3 (ISBN)
Available from: 2021-09-29 Created: 2021-09-29 Last updated: 2023-10-11Bibliographically approved
Forsling, J. (2021). Review of Christian Frevel, Desert Transformation: Studies in the Book of Numbers  (FAT 137; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2020). [Review]. Review of Biblical Literature
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Review of Christian Frevel, Desert Transformation: Studies in the Book of Numbers  (FAT 137; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2020).
2021 (English)In: Review of Biblical Literature, E-ISSN 1099-0321Article, book review (Other academic) Published
National Category
Religious Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ths:diva-1557 (URN)
Available from: 2022-02-07 Created: 2022-02-07 Last updated: 2024-01-23Bibliographically approved
Forsling, J. (2021). The Book of Genesis and the Origins of Surveillance. In: : . Paper presented at Surveillance & Religion Network 4th Research Workshop, online, 9 april 2021.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Book of Genesis and the Origins of Surveillance
2021 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
Biblical Studies, Old testament
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ths:diva-1559 (URN)
Conference
Surveillance & Religion Network 4th Research Workshop, online, 9 april 2021
Available from: 2022-02-07 Created: 2022-02-07 Last updated: 2023-10-11Bibliographically approved
Forsling, J. (2021). Wilderness as Setting in the Book of Numbers. In: : . Paper presented at Exploring Space: Space-Related Methodical Approaches to Ancient Cultures and Texts, Freiburg och Bern (online), 17 juni 2021..
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Wilderness as Setting in the Book of Numbers
2021 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
Biblical Studies, Old testament
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ths:diva-1558 (URN)
Conference
Exploring Space: Space-Related Methodical Approaches to Ancient Cultures and Texts, Freiburg och Bern (online), 17 juni 2021.
Available from: 2022-02-07 Created: 2022-02-07 Last updated: 2023-10-11Bibliographically approved
Forsling, J. (2020). Review of Briggs, Richard S. Theological Hermeneutics and the Book of Numbers as Christian Scripture. Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame University Press, 2018. XVI + 332 Pp. Hardcover $ 55, eBook (PDF and EPUB) $ 54.99. [Review]. International Journal of Systematic Theology, 22(3), 449-451
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Review of Briggs, Richard S. Theological Hermeneutics and the Book of Numbers as Christian Scripture. Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame University Press, 2018. XVI + 332 Pp. Hardcover $ 55, eBook (PDF and EPUB) $ 54.99.
2020 (English)In: International Journal of Systematic Theology, ISSN 1463-1652, E-ISSN 1468-2400, Vol. 22, no 3, p. 449-451Article, book review (Other academic) Published
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
Biblical Studies, Old testament
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ths:diva-1025 (URN)10.1111/ijst.12411 (DOI)
Available from: 2020-03-11 Created: 2020-03-11 Last updated: 2023-10-11
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0001-7334-1269

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