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  • 1.
    Forsling, Josef
    Enskilda Högskolan Stockholm, Teologiska högskolan Stockholm, Avdelningen för religionsvetenskap och teologi.
    Bland dokument, fragment och berättelser: Pentateuken som kanon och litterärt verk2018Inngår i: Ordet är dig mycket nära: tolkningar av Gamla testamentet idag / [ed] Olsson, Birger och James Starr, Skellefteå: Artos & Norma bokförlag, 2018, s. 84-94Kapittel i bok, del av antologi (Annet vitenskapelig)
  • 2.
    Forsling, Josef
    Åbo Akademi University.
    Composite Artistry in the Book of Numbers: A Study in Biblical Narrative Conventions2013Doktoravhandling, monografi (Annet vitenskapelig)
    Abstract [en]

    The present thesis discusses the coherence or lack of coherence in the book of Numbers, with special regard to its narrative features. The fragmented nature of Numbers is a well-known problem in research on the book, affecting how we approach and interpret it, but to date there has not been any thorough investigation of the narrative features of the work and how they might contribute to the coherence or the lack of coherence in the book. The discussion is pursued in light of narrative theory, and especially in connection to three parameters that are typically understood to be invoked in the interpretation of narratives: 1) a narrative paradigm, or ‘story,’ meaning events related to each other temporally, causally, and thematically, in a plot with a beginning, middle, and end; 2) discourse, being the expression plane of a narrative, or the devices that an author has at hand in constructing a narrative; 3) the situation or language-game of the narrative, prototypical examples being factual reports, which seeks to depict a state of affairs, and storytelling narratives, driven by a demand for tellability. In view of these parameters the present thesis argues that it is reasonable to form four groups to describe the narrative material of Numbers: genuine narratives (e.g. Num 12), independent narrative sequences (e.g. Num 5:1-4), instrumental scenes and situations (e.g. Num 27:1-5), and narrative fragments (e.g. Num 18:1). These groups are mixed throughout with non-narrative materials. Seen together, however, the narrative features of these groups can be understood to create an attenuated narrative sequence from beginning to end in Numbers, where one thing happens after another. This sequence, termed the ‘larger story’ of Numbers, concerns the wandering of Israel from Sinai to Moab. Furthermore, the larger story has a fragmented plot. The end-point is fixed on the promised land, Israel prepares for the wandering towards it (Num 1-10), rebels against wandering and the promise and is sent back into the wilderness (Num 13-14), returns again after forty years (Num 21ff.), and prepares for conquering the land (Num 22-36). Finally, themes of the promised land, generational succession, and obedience-disobedience, operate in this larger story. Purity is also a significant theme in the book, albeit not connected to plot in the larger story. All in all, sequence, plot, and theme in the larger story of Numbers can be understood to bring some coherence to the book. However, neither aspect entirely subsumes the whole book, and the four groups of narrative materials can also be understood to underscore the incoherence of the work in differentiating its variegated narrative contents. Numbers should therefore be described as an anthology of different materials that are loosely connected through its narrative features in the larger story, with the aim of informing Israelite identity by depicting a certain period in the early history of the people.

  • 3.
    Forsling, Josef
    Enskilda Högskolan Stockholm, Avdelningen för religionsvetenskap och teologi.
    Exploring the Wilderness in the Book of Numbers: Leaving the World of the Text to Interpret Its Literary Setting2024Inngår i: Protokolle zur Bibel, ISSN 2412-2467, Vol. 33, nr 1, s. 50-65Artikkel i tidsskrift (Fagfellevurdert)
    Abstract [en]

    As an inquiry of space-related methods this article evaluates the concept of “the world of the text” in relationship to the book of Numbers. It is contrasted with a more loose understanding of setting as referential field, which has been used in connection with narrative anthologies. Numbers may be described as an anthology with an attenuated frame narrative concerning Israel’s wandering through the wilderness. Therefore, setting as referential field is a better way to conceptualize space in the book than reading for the “world” of Numbers. This is seen through two case-studies where the two approaches are compared. One concern-ing the high census numbers at the start of Numbers together with the wilderness setting, which are shown to not invite a “factual” reading of them in a world of the wilderness, but rather as theological constructs connected to the tabernacle. The other concerning the con-fused itinerary notices, which are shown to not cohere into a logical trail through the wilder-ness, but rather fulfill their function in the passages they are part of, among other things.

  • 4.
    Forsling, Josef
    Enskilda Högskolan Stockholm, Teologiska högskolan Stockholm, Avdelningen för religionsvetenskap och teologi.
    Generations, Credo, and Punishment in the book of Numbers: A Key to to Its Theology and  Composition in Persian Times2022Konferansepaper (Fagfellevurdert)
    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.

  • 5.
    Forsling, Josef
    Enskilda Högskolan Stockholm, Teologiska högskolan Stockholm, Avdelningen för religionsvetenskap och teologi.
    Människans synd och Guds svar: Om att läsa Urhistorien som problemformulering2021Inngår i: Öppna vyer – lång sikt: Festskrift till Owe Kennerberg / [ed] Thomas Kazen och Susanne Wigorts Yngvesson, Bromma: Enskilda Högskolan Stockholm , 2021, s. 101-112Kapittel i bok, del av antologi (Annet vitenskapelig)
    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.

    Fulltekst (pdf)
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  • 6.
    Forsling, Josef
    Teologiska högskolan Stockholm, Avdelningen för teologi.
    Recension av Danna Nolan Fewell, red., Oxford Handbook of Biblical Narrative (Oxford  University Press, 2016)2017Inngår i: Svensk Exegetisk Årsbok, ISSN 1100-2298, Vol. 82, s. 245-249Artikkel, omtale (Annet vitenskapelig)
  • 7.
    Forsling, Josef
    Enskilda Högskolan Stockholm, Avdelningen för religionsvetenskap och teologi.
    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).2023Inngår i: Svensk Exegetisk Årsbok, ISSN 1100-2298, Vol. 88, nr 1, s. 246-249Artikkel, omtale (Annet vitenskapelig)
  • 8.
    Forsling, Josef
    Enskilda Högskolan Stockholm, Teologiska högskolan Stockholm, Avdelningen för religionsvetenskap och teologi.
    Recension av Jan C. Gertz mfl. red., The Formation of the Pentateuch: Bridging the Academic Cultures of Europe, Israel, and North America (Tübingen: Mohr  Siebeck, 2016)2018Inngår i: Svensk Exegetisk Årsbok, ISSN 1100-2298, Vol. 83, s. 224-228Artikkel, omtale (Annet vitenskapelig)
  • 9.
    Forsling, Josef
    Teologiska högskolan Stockholm, Avdelningen för teologi.
    Recension av Klaus-Peter Adam, Friedrich Avemarie och Nili Wazana, red., Law and  Narrative in the Bible and in Neighbouring Ancient Cultures (FAT 2:54,  Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2012)2013Inngår i: Svensk Exegetisk Årsbok, ISSN 1100-2298, Vol. 78, s. 193-195Artikkel, omtale (Annet vitenskapelig)
  • 10.
    Forsling, Josef
    Enskilda Högskolan Stockholm, Teologiska högskolan Stockholm, Avdelningen för religionsvetenskap och teologi.
    Recension av Peter Halldorf, Alla himlens fåglar har flytt: Profeten Jeremia i sin egen tid och  i vår (Skellefteå: Artos, 2018)2019Inngår i: Svensk Exegetisk Årsbok, ISSN 1100-2298, Vol. 84, s. 226-230Artikkel, omtale (Annet vitenskapelig)
  • 11.
    Forsling, Josef
    Enskilda Högskolan Stockholm, Teologiska högskolan Stockholm, Avdelningen för religionsvetenskap och teologi.
    Review of Christian Frevel, Desert Transformation: Studies in the Book of Numbers  (FAT 137; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2020).2021Inngår i: Review of Biblical Literature, E-ISSN 1099-0321Artikkel, omtale (Annet vitenskapelig)
  • 12.
    Forsling, Josef
    Enskilda Högskolan Stockholm, Teologiska högskolan Stockholm, Avdelningen för religionsvetenskap och teologi.
    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) $ 54.99.2020Inngår i: International Journal of Systematic Theology, ISSN 1463-1652, E-ISSN 1468-2400, Vol. 22, nr 3, s. 449-451Artikkel, omtale (Annet vitenskapelig)
  • 13.
    Forsling, Josef
    Enskilda Högskolan Stockholm, Avdelningen för religionsvetenskap och teologi.
    The Bitter Effect of the Water in the Sotah-Ritual (Num 5:11-31): Holiness and Impurity in Conflict2023Konferansepaper (Annet vitenskapelig)
    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.

  • 14.
    Forsling, Josef
    Enskilda Högskolan Stockholm, Teologiska högskolan Stockholm, Avdelningen för religionsvetenskap och teologi.
    The Book of Genesis and the Origins of Surveillance2021Konferansepaper (Annet vitenskapelig)
  • 15.
    Forsling, Josef
    Teologiska högskolan Stockholm, Avdelningen för teologi.
    The Facts of Life before God and the Prophetic Peculiarity: Three Illness Narratives of the  Hebrew Bible2017Inngår i: Diegesis, E-ISSN 2195-2116, Vol. 6, nr 2, s. 32-51Artikkel i tidsskrift (Fagfellevurdert)
    Abstract [en]

    The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) is a canonical text for many including its portrayals of illness. This article explores the narrative representation of illness in three longer narratives in the Hebrew Bible by means of a close reading. The narratives are all legends of some sort and involve terminal or impossible illnesses and the prophet. In 2 Kings 4 the story revolves around illness as an enigma and involves the motifs of hospitality, responsibility, and empowerment in an ever expanding plot. In 2 Kings 5 leprosy as an incurable disease stands at the center and the story develops through several contrasting motifs including greatness, simplicity, and humility. In 2 Kings 20/Isaiah 38 illness is a death warrant leading to bitterness, and the story probes the necessity and honesty of prayer. Two common traits in the narratives are prayer and argument as a response to illness, and the status of the prophet as a health care consultant.

  • 16.
    Forsling, Josef
    Teologiska högskolan Stockholm, Avdelningen för teologi.
    The Incoherence of the Book of Numbers in Narrative Perspective2013Inngår i: Svensk Exegetisk Årsbok, ISSN 1100-2298, Vol. 78, s. 93-106Artikkel i tidsskrift (Fagfellevurdert)
    Abstract [en]

    Suggests that narrative features bring some coherence to the book of Numbers, but not total. The narrative features are here here sorted into four rough groups, which both contribute to and disrupt the coherence of the work. The article is a prequel to my doctoral thesis.

  • 17.
    Forsling, Josef
    Enskilda Högskolan Stockholm, Avdelningen för religionsvetenskap och teologi.
    The Theology of Holiness and Purity in the Book of Numbers2023Konferansepaper (Annet vitenskapelig)
    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.

  • 18.
    Forsling, Josef
    Enskilda Högskolan Stockholm, Teologiska högskolan Stockholm, Avdelningen för religionsvetenskap och teologi.
    Wilderness as Setting in the Book of Numbers2021Konferansepaper (Annet vitenskapelig)
  • 19.
    Forsling, Josef
    Enskilda Högskolan Stockholm, Avdelningen för religionsvetenskap och teologi.
    Writing a Biblical Theology of Numbers2023Konferansepaper (Annet vitenskapelig)
  • 20.
    Forsling, Josef
    et al.
    Enskilda Högskolan Stockholm, Teologiska högskolan Stockholm, Avdelningen för religionsvetenskap och teologi.
    Wenell, FredrikGustavsson, Caroline
    ‘Man ska vara sig själv’: En bok om ungdomar, tro och delaktighet2019Collection/Antologi (Annet vitenskapelig)
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