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Durham e-Theses
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Former, latter, coming, new: an historical and exegetical study on the expressions of time in is 40-48

Haeske, Carsten U (1989) Former, latter, coming, new: an historical and exegetical study on the expressions of time in is 40-48. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The motif of the former, coming, latter and new things is not only the dominant theme of Is 40-48, but can be regarded as a key to the message of Deutero-Isaiah and his understanding of history. The present thesis consists of two parts. After a concise introduction to some problems related to the subject, part I. ('Historical') continues with a survey of the discussion of the research, which focuses on various interpretations that the former (A.) and the new things (B.) have received in the last two centuries. It depends largely upon the standpoint of the speaker (before of after the fall of Babylon), as to whether Cyrus belongs to the new or the former. The multiplicity of divergent positions leads some critics to investigate further into the functions of these expressions (C). They draw the conclusion that often the terms appear in a forensic setting in order to prove Yahwe's power. Part I. closes with a summary of the dominant leads, which also reveals that scholars have jumped too quickly to the conclusion that the new, the latter and the coming have the same meaning. This, however, is not adequate. Nothing indicates that these terms can be identified. An independent examination has therefore to be expanded to the entire wordfield, also including the adverbs of time. In order to trace the differences between the former, latter, coming and new, a critical analysis of the literary units, in which these expressions are embedded, is offered in part II. ('Exegetical'). Two introductory paragraphs are devoted to preliminary notes. Remarks on methodology (1.) are followed by the description of the account of the expressions of time and the selection of the units to be discussed (2.). This overview is based upon the two appendices added towards the end of the study. While appendix 1 lists the occurences of the relevant expressions, appendix 2 illustrates the complicated net work of their etymological and contextual relations. The main section of part II is concerned with the systematic treatment of the selected texts. These are arranged in three context specific groups. In each subdivision, the analysis which follows a fixed pattern acts as the basis for the interpretation of the expressions of time. Each section concludes with a summary of the main results with reference to the texts, as well as to the expressions of time. Main results of this investigation are: the opposition former - coming occurs exclusively in trial speeches against the nations and their gods (A: 41, 21-29; 43, 8-13; 44, 6-8; 45, 18-25; cf. excursus 1), where it functions as an attempt to understand history in conceptual terms. In contrast, the juxtaposition of the former and the latter proves Yahwe's uniqueness by the convergence of past promise and present experience in the 'Weissagungsbe- weis' (excursus 2). The 'aḥ(^a)rît(^h) can also be replaced by a demonstrative pronoun that points to the fall of Babylon. The adverbs of time (excursus 3) indicate that the ri’šōnôt(^h) have to be understood as ancient events pregnant with a future promise. The statements about Yahwe's creative acts, however, do not refer to a past creation, but to God's present acts in history (excursus 4).The analysis of two units in which Yahwe's 'Selbsterweis' is addressed to Israel (B: 46, 9-11; 48, 12-16), confirms and corroborates the earlier findings about the relation between the former and the latter. In this context, the self-predication ri'šôn - 'aḥ(^a)rôn designates Yahwe as the only reliable God who is able to execute his promises. Both units concentrate on the event- part of the proof. Cyrus is not the new, but rather the result and end of the former (excursus 5).Three texts with salutary overtones, all of them addressed to Israel, are centered on the opposition former - new (C: 42, 5-9; 43, 16-21; 48, 1-11), which is unusual in the rest of the OT. Here the former consists of the whole history of salvation, from the early beginnings (qadmōniyyôt(^h)) up to its result in Cyrus, i.e. it includes the 'aḥ(^a)rît(^h)). While the former was valid up to now, the new will start from now on (m). Somehow, the new is already present (n(^e)șȗrôt(^h)) and must be perceived by the people. It is something extraordinary, genuinely new, that has no precedent in the former. Although it comes as quickly and suddenly as the 'aḥ(^a)rît(^h), the new will supersede the former. Yahwe creates it for his own sake, so as not to forfeit his honour to the idols. His servant Isreiel (excursus 6) is to mediate justice that brings salvation and the torah to the nations. In order to take up this future task, obstinate Israel has to undergo an inner change, a refinement, which will enable her to respond adequately to this new election and to Yahwe's claim which is affirmed in the trial speeches. The people will renounce idolatry, acknowledge Yahwe as the only God and give him the praise he deserves. A final summary resumes the results of part II. After the appendices, the bibliography and a list of abbreviations are to be found at the end of the thesis.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1989
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Feb 2013 13:38

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