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Generations, Credo, and Punishment in the book of Numbers: A Key to to Its Theology and  Composition in Persian Times
University College Stockholm, Stockholm School of Theology, Department of Religious Studies and Theology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7334-1269
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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2022.
National Category
Religious Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ths:diva-1728OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ths-1728DiVA, id: diva2:1725454
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

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