1st Edition

Failed Methods and Ideology in Canonical Interpretation of Biblical Texts Changing Perspectives 9

By Bernd Diebner, Ingrid Hjelm Copyright 2024

    This volume by the late Bernd J. Diebner presents an anthology of studies previously published only in German from 1971 to 2020 on a wide range of topics in biblical studies.

    The 18 essays in this collection offer profound insight into the works of German scholarship which have strongly influenced biblical studies and related research in the 20th century. Being an important, but lesser recognized ‘member’ of the Copenhagen school, Diebner voiced serious criticism of contemporary biblical scholarship which is discussed in the first seven chapters. The remaining chapters offer challenging new perspectives on well-known themes, narratives, and compositions related to history, ideology, and archaeology, on the one hand, and text and canon, on the other, as alternatives to traditional historical–critical approaches.

    Now published in English for the first time, this volume makes these essays available to Anglophone students and scholars of biblical and ancient Near Eastern studies.

    Introduction - Thomas L. Thompson; Part 1 Status Quaestionis; 1 Undesirable Developments in Biblical Studies (Old Testament): A Continuously Self Falsifying Discipline; Part 2 Methods; 2 The Gods of the Fathers: Criticism of Albrecht Alt’s ‘Vätergott’-Hypothesis; 3 A Methodological Alternative to the Present Study of the Old Testament. Otto Plöger’s 65th Birthday; 4 "You Cannot Prove It, but It Is a fact that…" Figures of Speech Instead of Method in Critical Studies of the Old Testament; 5 Some Comments on John Van Seters’ Methodological Sketch: ‘The Yahwist as Historian, Parts I and II’; 6 Since When Did "Jenes Israel" (Martin Noth) Exist? Comments on ‘Israel’ as an Ecclesiological body in the TNK (Biblia Hebraica et Aramaica); Part 3 History and Ideology; 7 The Orientation of Jerusalem’s Temple and the ‘Sacred Direction’ of Early Christian Churches; 8 The Function of the So-called ‘Torah Niche’ in the Antique Synagogue of Dura Europos Reconsidered; 9 Cultural-political Globalization Efforts in Antiquity and Their Significance for the Texts of the Bible; Part 4 Texts and Canon; 10 The Function of the Canonical Corpus of Texts in Judaism in Pre-Christian times. Considerations of Canon-criticism; 11 The Role of the Mesopotamian ‘Exile Community’ (gālût) and Its Theological Imprint on the Jewish Bible; 12 A Rough Outline of a Torah-hypothesis; Part 5 Torah; 13 Genesis 17 as the Centre of a Pesach Cycle of the Torah; 14 Wayyashav ’Avraham (וישב אברהם): Why Is Abraham Returning to His Servants from One of the Mountains in the Land of Moriah Without Isaac?; Part 6 Nevi’im; 15 The Inventio of the ספר התורה in 2 Kings 22: The Structure, Intention, and Function of Legends of Discovery; 16 The Correspondence between Isa 56:1-8 and 66:18-24 and the Prophetic Surpassing of the Torah: Yad wa-Shem; Part 7 Ketuvim; 17 "At the Rise of Dawn": Hotheaded Jonah’s Annoyance with the Crimson Worm; 18 Ecclesiological Aspects of a Canoncal Hermeneutics of the Hebrew Bible.


    Bernd J. Diebner (died 2023) was Hon.-Prof. of the Ruprecht-Karls University, Heidelberg, Germany; and a theologian (pastor, biblical studies, and church history), archaeologist (early Byzantine Studies), and orientalist (Coptic Studies). As founder and editor of DBAT, he has since 1972 authored and promoted an ongoing discussion and criticism of methods and ideology in the fields of ancient history, biblical interpretation, and theology. He is the author of Heilsgeschichte und Schriftprinzip (1989), Zephanjas Apokalypsen (2003), and Seit wann gibt es "jenes Israel" (2011), and co-editor of Vom Iteru-Mass bis zu Miriam bei March Chagal (2020).

    Ingrid Hjelm is Associate Professor Emerita, University of Copenhagen, Denmark; former Director of the Palestine History and Heritage Project (2014–17); and general editor of CIS since 2011. She is the author of The Samaritans and Early Judaism (2000) and Jerusalem’s Rise to Sovereignty (2004); co-author of The Ever Elusive Past (2019); and co-editor of Myths of Exile (2015), Changing Perspectives 6 and 7 (2016), and A New Critical Approach to the History of Palestine (2019).

    Thomas L. Thompson is Professor Emeritus, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, 1993–2009; Research Fellow for the Tübinger Atlas des vorderen Orients, 1969–1976; and founder and general editor of CIS, 1996–2016. He has produced more than 20 books as author, co-author, and co-editor, six of which have been translated into Arabic. He is the author of The Historicity of the Patriarchal Narratives (1974), The Settlement of Palestine in the Bronze Age (1979), The Early History of the Israelite People (1992), The Bible in History (1999), The Messiah Myth (2005), and Biblical Narrative and Palestine’s History (2013).