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‘My God will be your God’- Divine Agency and the role of the outsider in the Hebrew Bible

CURTIS, ANTHONY,GORDON (2019) ‘My God will be your God’- Divine Agency and the role of the outsider in the Hebrew Bible. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Author-imposed embargo until 15 May 2022.

Abstract

This thesis examines the role of the ‘outsider’ in relation to the community of faith in the Hebrew Bible. ‘My God will be your God’ explores recent work on election, providing a context in which to examine how ‘outsiders’ operate across a range of biblical narratives. Taking a canonical approach to the role of such ‘outsiders’, it undertakes an investigation of five figures in the biblical texts whose actions have a particularly significant impact on the chosen people – Zipporah, Jethro, Rahab, Ruth, and Jael – assessing the extent to which each may be seen as ‘outsider’ and as a divine agent of change and transformation. Paying close attention to the language used by and about them, their motives and actions, patterns emerge concerning the role of such figures in the divine economy.

The treatment of two further figures, Vashti and Aseneth, is then explored, to determine the extent to which comparable ‘outsiders’ have been similarly received. Examining the reception of each figure in extra-biblical tradition and subsequent commentary, it discerns the interpretative moves which have been made to minimise the threat posed by such ‘outsiders’, and discusses the far-reaching and long-lasting impact which they have within the salvation history of Israel. The case studies are used to propose a theological understanding of the role of ‘outsiders’ as an integral part of God’s self-communication to the ‘elect’, a feature of the divine economy which has practical implications for the self-understanding of communities of faith. Finally, some of the implications for dialogue, engagement, and the formulation of doctrine are addressed in the light of the study’s findings, proposing a new, scripturally based understanding of the role of the outside voice for today’s faith traditions.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Zipporah, Jethro, Ruth, Rahab, Jael, Vashti, Asenath, Aseneth, election, outsiders, hebrew bible, interfaith, dialogue, doctrine.
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:17 May 2019 10:50

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