The prophetic books of the Old Testament offer a fascinating collection of oracles, poetic images, and theological ideas. Among the most prominent themes are those of judgment and salvation, especially concerning the fate of Zion. This place, where the people of God dwell, is alternately presented as either the object of divine wrath or the image of a salvific ideal.
Representing Zion provides a thorough and critical study of the images of Zion in the entire prophetic literature of the Old Testament. The book challenges traditional interpretations of Zion and offers a fresh exploration of the literary and theological nature of the biblical writings. Zion has largely been treated by scholars as an image of the inviolable city consistently and unambiguously used by Old Testament authors. Representing Zion reveals the Zion motif to be contested, complex and profoundly theological—a reflection of the ambiguous role of YHWH as judge and saviour.
Table of Contents
Preface Introduction Part I: Zion in the Old Testament 1. Isaiah 2. Jeremiah 3. Ezekiel 4. The Book of Twelve 5. The Remaining Books Part II: The Zion Motifs: Between Judgement and Salvation 6. The Enemy Attack on Zion 7. The Deliverance of Zion 8. The Defeat of Zion and the Exile 9. The Return to Zion 10. The New Zion Conclusion Bibliography Index
Frederik Poulsen holds a PhD from the University of Copenhagen. His main research interests include the prophetic literature of the Bible, the Psalms, biblical theology, and the Old Testament as Christian Scripture. Currently, he teaches in the Department of Biblical Studies, University of Copenhagen.
"Frederik Poulsen offers a magnificent and much longed-for survey. It covers all occurrences of the Zion motif, as well as a wide range of sub-motifs, in the entire prophetic literature in the Hebrew Bible. Poulsen has managed to create a synthesis which avoids the pitfall of harmonization. He lays bare a theological tension between various prophetic passages, a tension that can be related to two strongly differing perceptions of Zion. This is biblical scholarship at its very best. The discussion is learned and lucid. Poulsen’s book Representing Zion is an indispensable resource for scholars and students who take an interest in Zion as a literary and theological motif in the biblical texts."
Göran Eidevall, Uppsala University, Sweden
"Frederik Poulsen’s study must be understood as pioneering work within the study of prophesism, as he truly belongs within the new paradigm for historical studies. On the other hand he at the same time displays an expert understanding of the methods of Old Testament studies as developed over the last century. He presents his analyses in a fashion that should be understood and appreciated by the guild of students of the Old Testament in general. Thus we get expertly executed analyses of biblical passages dealing with the Zion metaphor, as well as substantial summaries and conclusions based on these analyses, hard to escape."
Niels Peter Lemche, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
"This is a highly readable book. The thoughtful analysis is conducted with theological sensitivity to the varieties of Zion images in the prophetic literature of the Old Testament. Writing lucidly and meticulously, Frederik Poulsen investigates the complete picture instead of hastening to those details that might help us understand how the traditions came into being, but not appreciate the text as we now have it."
Fredrik Lindström, Lund University, Sweden