The Yahwist's Landscape : Nature and Religion in Early Israel
Hiebert offers a comprehensive examination of the ideology of the biblical author J (the Yahwist), writer of the oldest narrative sections of Genesis, Exodus, and Numbers, and shows how it is relevant to contemporary efforts to frame a theology of ecology.
- Hardback | 226 pages
- 164.8 x 242.6 x 22.4mm | 572.3g
- 20 Jun 1996
- Oxford University Press Inc
- New York, United States
Fascinating book...This is an important and ground-breaking study. * Journal of Theological Studies * a lucid account of religious history based on a Yahwist firmly set in the age of the Davidic monarchy. ... Hiebert has many a sharp insight ... ..a lucid account of religious history based on a Yahwist firmly set in the age of the Davidic monarchy...Hiebert has many a sharp insight...
Back cover copy
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.