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Between Heaven and Earth: Divine Presence and Absence in the by John F. Kutsko

By John F. Kutsko

With the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple and the exile of contributors of the Israelite group to the land of its enemies, whose gods have been represented as divine statues, the prophet Ezekiel confronted a problem: the best way to reply to the enemies' scoffs that Israel's God was once absent, while the foreigners' gods self-evidently have been current. therefore, to invite the query, "Where is God" was once to stand a number of advanced and tangled difficulties. How is God to be represented? How is Yahweh to be differentiated from different deities? what's Yahweh's dating to Israel in exile?

Kutsko units out to respond to those questions in the topic of divine presence and lack, fairly because it pertains to the kabod theology in Ezekiel. He indicates that God's absence turns into, for Ezekiel, a controversy for his presence and tool, whereas the presence of idols indicated their absence and impotence. Ezekiel extends this proposition right into a corollary: God's presence isn't consigned to sanctuary, for God is a sanctuary. during this regard, absence from the Temple is a message of judgment and the precursor to a message of recovery. If God can turn into a sanctuary, his presence in exile turns into a message of victory even over imperial powers. This conceptualization of Yahweh, then, finally ends up defining the facility and place of Israel's God in distinctively common phrases. during this contribution, the booklet of Ezekiel performs a important and formerly unappreciated function within the improvement of Israelite theology, and monotheism particularly.

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Extra info for Between Heaven and Earth: Divine Presence and Absence in the Book of Ezekiel

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7 The word hb:[E/T occurs some 117 times in the Hebrew Bible. It is especially concentrated in Deuteronomic-Deuteronomistic texts (22 times), Jeremiah (8 times), and Ezekiel (42 times). Outside of Ezekiel, hb:[E/T refers to various offenses. Deuteronomy, for example, includes a wide range: cultic infractions (17:1), divination (18:12), gender violations (22:5), dishonesty (25:16), but also idolatry (7:25; 13:15; 27:15; note also Jer 16:18). 8 DeuteroIsaiah describes both the worshiper of other gods (41:24) and the idols themselves (44:19) as hb:[E/T.

54 Certainly, the Jerusalemite details produce no insurmountable obstacle if one allows three points: (1) Ezekiel lived in Jerusalem before the first deportation; (2) correspondence went back and forth between Babylonia and Jerusalem, informing both groups of concerns in each location; and (3) literary license. Indeed, McKeating sees a consensus in current Ezekiel scholarship that returns to the traditional assessment of both the geographical and the chronological context. 55 This matter does not need to be resolved completely here.

Certainly, too, the exploits of an imperial ruler contained in royal inscriptions would be effective as a means of broadcasting the message of the divine sanction by which he both gained and maintained power over renegade lands. Porter, like Machinist, considers also the means by which royal inscriptions reached contemporary audiences, especially building inscriptions, which were buried in the foundation of municipal buildings. She offers some suggestions. Perhaps the content of texts composed by scribes would circulate among the administrative elite.

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