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The Yahwist's Landscape Nature and Religion in Early Israel

by Theodore Hiebert

  • ISBN: 9780195092059
  • ISBN10: 0195092058

The Yahwist's Landscape Nature and Religion in Early Israel

by Theodore Hiebert

  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Oxford Univ Pr on Demand
  • Publish date: 12/01/1995
  • ISBN: 9780195092059
  • ISBN10: 0195092058
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Description: The ecological crisis has created new interest in the ideas about nature found in the Bible, which is often depicted as the source of attitudes that have led to the destruction of our environment. The Hebrew Scriptures, for example, are seen as enshrining oppositional views of nature, because it is assumed that the earliest Israelites were living in a hostile desert environment. In this book Theodore Hiebert re-examines these assumptions, and offers a new understanding of the role of nature in biblical thought. Hiebert stresses the importance of reading the Hebrew Scriptures in their ancient Near Eastern context. He concentrates on the Bible's earliest account of origins: the narratives of the Pentateuch, or Torah, usually attributed to a single author, the Yahwist. His analysis incorporates evidence from recent work in archaeology, history, anthropology, and comparative religion concerning the ecologies, economies, and religions of the ancient Levant. Hiebert shows that the Yahwist's formative landscape was actually hill country with a mixed agrarian economy. The view of God and the kinds of religious ritual described in the Yahwist's narratives are closely linked to this agricultural landscape and reflect the challenges of human survival within it. Rather than posing a problem for biblical religion, the world of nature is seen to play a foundational role in the shape and content of that tradition. Hiebert concludes that the Yahwist's ideology is relevant to contemporary efforts to frame a theology of ecology. Particularly useful to these efforts are the Yahwist's views of reality as unified and non-dualistic, humanity as limited and dependent, nature and humanity as interrelated andof sacred significance, and agriculture as a context for an ecological theology.
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