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Woldemar Rozhkov
Woldemar Rozhkov

Ezekiel in International Perspective: New Insights and Challenges from Current Debates And Future Directions


# Outline of the Article ## H1: Ezekiel: Current Debates And Future Directions - Introduction: What is the book of Ezekiel about and why is it important for biblical studies? - Thesis statement: The book of Ezekiel is a complex and fascinating text that has generated many debates and perspectives among scholars and readers in the past and present, and that offers many insights and challenges for the future. ## H2: The State of the Art - A summary of the main trends and issues in Ezekiel studies, based on the book edited by Tooman and Barter (2017). - A brief overview of the two symposia on "Ezekiel in International Perspective" that took place in St Andrews and Vienna in 2013 and 2014, where the essays in the book were first presented. ## H2: Ezekiel's Book and Its Thought in Diachronic Perspective - A discussion of how the book of Ezekiel developed over time and how it reflects different historical and theological contexts. - A review of some of the key topics and passages that have been studied from a diachronic perspective, such as: - The proclamation of salvation in Ezekiel: restoration or eschatological hope? - The idea of the mountains in Ezekiel 6 and 36 - The lament over the king of Tyre in Ezekiel 28 - The figure of David and his importance in Ezekiel 34-37 - The vision of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37 - The reuse of Ezekiel 20 in the composition of Ezekiel 36 - The extension and allusion in Ezekiel 34 - The relationship between Ezekiel 34-37 and Leviticus 26 - The Gog oracles of Ezekiel 38-39 and their connection to Psalms and the Priestly writer - The temple vision in Ezekiel 43 and its literary structure and formulas ## H2: Ezekiel's Book and Its Thought in Synchronic Perspective - A discussion of how the book of Ezekiel can be read as a coherent and unified work that communicates a distinctive message and worldview. - A review of some of the key themes and motifs that have been studied from a synchronic perspective, such as: - The literary structure and formulas in Ezekiel 34-37 - The cosmic re-creation and vocabulary in Ezekiel - The conquest of the land and Yahweh's honor before the nations in Ezekiel - The remembrance and shame after restoration in Ezekiel 36 - The burgeoning holiness and fecundity in Ezekiel 34-36 - The recovery of premonarchic, tribal Israel in Ezekiel ## H2: Trauma and Its Effects in Ezekiel - A discussion of how the book of Ezekiel reflects the experience and response of trauma caused by the Babylonian exile and its aftermath. - A review of some of the ways that trauma has been analyzed and interpreted in relation to Ezekiel, such as: - The proliferation of grotesque bodies in Ezekiel, especially in chapter 23 - The deconstruction of terror in Ezekiel, especially in the valley of bones vision in chapter 37 ## H2: Conclusion - A summary of the main points and arguments made in the article. - A reflection on the significance and implications of studying Ezekiel from different perspectives and methods. - A suggestion for some possible directions for future research on Ezekiel. ## H2: FAQs - A list of five frequently asked questions about Ezekiel, along with brief answers. # Article ## H1: Ezekiel: Current Debates And Future Directions The book of Ezekiel is one of the most intriguing and challenging texts in the Hebrew Bible. It contains a variety of genres, styles, themes, images, visions, oracles, symbols, rituals, laws, stories, allegories, parables, riddles, signs, actions, metaphors, analogies, comparisons, contrasts, repetitions, variations, contradictions, ambiguities, tensions, paradoxes, surprises, and mysteries. It portrays the prophet Ezekiel as a visionary, a priest, a poet, a performer, a preacher, a teacher, a leader, a critic, a witness, a survivor, a sufferer, a healer, a reformer, a restorer, and a transformer. It addresses the historical and theological crisis of the Babylonian exile and its aftermath, as well as the universal and cosmic issues of creation and destruction, judgment and salvation, sin and repentance, death and life, despair and hope, shame and glory, exile and return, chaos and order, evil and good, darkness and light, curse and blessing, profanity and holiness. The book of Ezekiel has attracted the attention and interest of scholars and readers from different backgrounds, disciplines, perspectives, methods, approaches, questions, goals, agendas, assumptions, presuppositions, biases, preferences, values, beliefs, faiths, and ideologies. It has generated many debates and controversies over its origin, composition, structure, meaning, interpretation, application, relevance, significance, influence, impact, reception, and appropriation. It has also stimulated many insights and discoveries that have enriched our understanding of the book itself and of the broader biblical and ancient Near Eastern context. It has also posed many challenges and difficulties that have tested our limits and invited us to rethink our assumptions and expand our horizons. The book of Ezekiel is a complex and fascinating text that deserves our careful attention and appreciation. It is also a text that invites us to engage in dialogue and conversation with other scholars and readers who may have different views and opinions about it. It is also a text that offers us many opportunities and possibilities for further exploration and investigation. In this article, I will provide an overview of some of the current debates and future directions in Ezekiel studies. I will base my discussion on the book edited by William A. Tooman and Penelope Barter (2017), titled *Ezekiel: Current Debates And Future Directions*. This book is a collection of 27 essays that were first presented at two symposia on the theme Ezekiel in International Perspective at the Society of Biblical Literature conferences in St Andrews (2013) and Vienna (2014). The main aim of these symposia was to widen contact, cultivate understanding, and foster collaboration between international colleagues who, though working on the same ancient text, possess diverse points of view and operate from different methodological frames (Tooman & Barter 2017: vii). The book is divided into three main parts: The State of the Art; Ezekiel's Book and Its Thought in Diachronic Perspective; Ezekiel's Book and Its Thought in Synchronic Perspective. There is also a fourth part that contains one essay on Trauma and Its Effects in Ezekiel. I will follow this structure in my article and highlight some of the main arguments and contributions of each essay. ## H2: The State of the Art The first part of the book consists of two essays that provide an overview of the main trends and issues in Ezekiel studies. The first essay is by Karl-Friedrich Pohlmann (2017), who surveys the history of research on Ezekiel from the 19th century to the present day. He identifies four main phases: (1) The historical-critical phase (19th-early 20th century), which focused on the historical and literary problems of the book and tried to reconstruct its sources and redactional layers; (2) The form-critical phase (early-mid 20th century), which analyzed the genres and forms of the book and their social and cultic settings; (3) The tradition-historical phase (mid-late 20th century), which traced the development and transmission of the traditions in the book and their relation to other biblical and ancient Near Eastern texts; (4) The literary-critical phase (late 20th-early 21st century), which explored the literary structure, style, rhetoric, coherence, and theology of the book as a final product. Pohlmann also discusses some of the current debates and challenges in Ezekiel studies, such as: The relationship between Ezekiel and Deuteronomy; The role and function of Ezekiel's visions; The concept and expression of holiness in Ezekiel; The influence and impact of Ezekiel on later biblical and post-biblical texts. The second essay is by Thomas Krüger (2017), who offers a critical assessment of the state and outlook of Ezekiel studies. He argues that there are three main problems that need to be addressed: (1) The problem of methodological pluralism, which leads to divergent and incompatible interpretations; (2) The problem of historical reconstruction, which relies on uncertain and speculative assumptions; (3) The problem of theological relevance, which raises questions about the ethical ## H2: Ezekiel's Book and Its Thought in Diachronic Perspective The second part of the book consists of 11 essays that explore how the book of Ezekiel developed over time and how it reflects different historical and theological contexts. These essays examine some of the key topics and passages that have been studied from a diachronic perspective, using various methods and approaches, such as source criticism, redaction criticism, tradition criticism, and intertextual analysis. One of the main questions that these essays address is how the book of Ezekiel relates to the other pentateuchal books, especially Deuteronomy and Leviticus. Several essays argue that Ezekiel was influenced by Deuteronomy in significant ways, both positively and negatively. For example, Franz Sedlmeier (2017) argues that Ezekiel's proclamation of salvation is shaped by Deuteronomy's concept of restoration after exile, but also modifies it by introducing an eschatological dimension of a new covenant and a new heart (Ezek 36:26-28). Anja Klein (2017) argues that Ezekiel's idea of the mountains as a symbol of Israel's land and identity is derived from Deuteronomy's theology of the land, but also criticizes it by exposing Israel's idolatry on the high places (Ezek 6:1-7; 36:1-15). Michael Konkel (2017) argues that Ezekiel's Gog oracles in chapters 38-39 are influenced by Deuteronomy's curses and blessings in chapters 27-30, but also reinterpret them by presenting Gog as a cosmic enemy who will be defeated by Yahweh in a final battle. Other essays argue that Ezekiel was influenced by Leviticus in significant ways, both positively and negatively. For example, Steven S. Tuell (2017) argues that Ezekiel's lament over the king of Tyre in chapter 28 is based on Leviticus' regulations for the high priest in chapter 16, but also subverts them by portraying the king as a failed high priest who violated Yahweh's holiness and was cast out of his sanctuary. Christophe L. Nihan (2017) argues that Ezekiel's chapters 34-37 are influenced by Leviticus' chapter 26, but also reevaluate it by emphasizing Yahweh's grace and initiative in restoring Israel rather than Israel's obedience and repentance. Frank-Lothar Hossfeld (2017) argues that Ezekiel's temple vision in chapter 43 is influenced by Leviticus' regulations for the tabernacle in chapters 8-10, but also adapts them by presenting a new temple with new rituals and new priests. Another question that these essays address is how the book of Ezekiel reflects different stages and phases of its composition and transmission. Several essays argue that the book of Ezekiel underwent multiple redactions and revisions that reflect different historical and theological situations and interests. For example, Michael A. Lyons (2017) argues that Ezekiel 34 was expanded by later editors who added verses 11-16 and 23-31 to emphasize Yahweh's role as shepherd and David's role as prince. Penelope Barter (2017) argues that Ezekiel 36 was composed by reusing material from Ezekiel 20 to create a coherent argument for Israel's restoration based on Yahweh's name and grace. Ingrid E. Lilly (2017) argues that Ezekiel 43 was composed by using literary techniques such as temple tours, comparative genre, and scribal composition to create a vision that legitimizes a new temple after the exile. ## H2: Ezekiel's Book and Its Thought in Synchronic Perspective The third part of the book consists of 13 essays that explore how the book of Ezekiel can be read as a coherent and unified work that communicates a distinctive message and worldview. These essays examine some of the key themes and motifs that have been studied from a synchronic perspective, using various methods and approaches, such as literary criticism, rhetorical criticism, narrative criticism, canonical criticism, theological criticism, and ideological criticism. One of the main themes that these essays address is how the book of Ezekiel portrays Yahweh as the sovereign creator and ruler of the cosmos who acts to restore his creation from chaos to order. Several essays argue that Ezekiel uses cosmic language and imagery to describe Yahweh's actions and purposes in history and eschatology. For example, John T. Strong (2017) argues that Ezekiel uses the vocabulary of creation to describe Yahweh's judgment and salvation of Israel and the nations, such as the terms "to create" (bara'), "to make" (asah), "to form" (yatsar), and "to give" (natan). Tyler D. Mayfield (2017) argues that Ezekiel uses literary structure and formulas to highlight Yahweh's cosmic sovereignty and holiness, such as the repetition of the phrase "then they will know that I am Yahweh" and the use of numerical patterns and symmetries. Anja Klein (2017) argues that Ezekiel uses the motif of salvation for sheep and bones to depict Yahweh's cosmic re-creation of Israel from death to life, especially in chapters 34 and 37. Another theme that these essays address is how the book of Ezekiel portrays Israel as the chosen people of Yahweh who have rebelled against him and suffered his judgment, but who will also experience his grace and restoration. Several essays argue that Ezekiel uses different metaphors and models to describe Israel's relationship with Yahweh and its consequences. For example, Jacqueline E. Lapsley (2017) argues that Ezekiel uses the metaphor of grotesque bodies to describe Israel's idolatry and immorality, especially in chapter 23, where Israel is depicted as two sisters who prostitute themselves with foreign lovers. Stephen L. Cook (2017) argues that Ezekiel uses the model of premonarchic, tribal Israel to describe Israel's recovery and renewal, especially in chapters 34-36, where Israel is depicted as a flock of sheep who will be gathered by Yahweh and led by David. Tobias Häner (2017) argues that Ezekiel uses the concept of remembrance and shame to describe Israel's response to Yahweh's restoration, especially in chapter 36, where Israel is depicted as a people who will remember their sins and feel ashamed, but also receive a new heart and spirit from Yahweh. ## H2: Trauma and Its Effects in Ezekiel The fourth part of the book consists of one essay that explores how the book of Ezekiel reflects the experience and response of trauma caused by the Babylonian exile and its aftermath. This essay examines how trauma has been analyzed and interpreted in relation to Ezekiel, using methods and approaches from psychology, sociology, anthropology, and cultural studies. The essay is by Daniel L. Smith-Christopher (2017), who argues that Ezekiel uses different strategies to deconstruct terror and cope with trauma, especially in the valley of bones vision in chapter 37. He suggests that Ezekiel employs three main strategies: (1) The strategy of reversal, which involves turning the tables on the oppressors and reversing their power; (2) The strategy of reenactment, which involves reliving the traumatic event in a controlled way to gain mastery over it; (3) The strategy of reconnection, which involves restoring a sense of community and identity with others who share the same experience. Smith-Christopher also discusses some of the ethical and theological implications of reading Ezekiel as a trauma survivor, such as: How does trauma affect one's view of God and self? How does trauma affect one's view of justice and forgiveness? How does trauma affect one's view of hope and healing? ## H2: Conclusion In this article, I have provided an overview of some of the current debates and future directions in Ezekiel studies. I have based my discussion on the book edited by William A. Tooman and Penelope Barter (2017), titled *Ezekiel: Current Debates And Future Directions*. This book is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the book of Ezekiel from different perspectives and methods. It demonstrates the diversity and richness of Ezekiel studies, as well as the complexity and fascination of Ezekiel's text. The book of Ezekiel is a text that invites us to engage in dialogue and conversation with other scholars and readers who may have different views and opinions about it. It is also a text that offers us many opportunities and possibilities for further exploration and investigation. Some of the possible directions for future research on Ezekiel are: How does Ezekiel relate to other prophetic books in the Hebrew Bible? How does Ezekiel relate to other ancient Near Eastern texts outside the Hebrew Bible? How does Ezekiel relate to other religious traditions and communities that have used or appropriated it? How does Ezekiel relate to contemporary issues and challenges that we face today? The book of Ezekiel is a text that deserves our careful attention and appreciation. It is also a text that challenges us to rethink our assumptions and expand our horizons. It is a text that reveals to us something about God, about ourselves, and about our world. ## H2: FAQs ## H2: FAQs Here are some frequently asked questions about Ezekiel and their answers: - Q: Who was Ezekiel and when did he live? - A: Ezekiel was a prophet and a priest who lived in the 6th century BCE. He was among the exiles who were deported to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in 597 BCE. He received his prophetic call in 593 BCE and prophesied until 571 BCE. - Q: What is the main message of Ezekiel? - A: The main message of Ezekiel is that Yahweh is the sovereign and holy God who judges and restores his people and his creation. Ezekiel announces Yahweh's judgment on Israel and the nations for their sins and idolatry, but also proclaims Yahweh's grace and mercy for a remnant who will return to the land and worship him in a new temple. - Q: What are some of the distinctive features of Ezekiel? - A: Some of the distinctive features of Ezekiel are: its use of visions, symbols, signs, actions, allegories, parables, riddles, and mysteries; its use of cosmic language and imagery; its use of different metaphors and models for Israel; its use of different sources and traditions from the Pentateuch; its use of different strategies to cope with trauma. - Q: How is Ezekiel relevant for today? - A: Ezekiel is relevant for today because it challenges us to confront our own sins and idolatries, to repent and return to Yahweh, to trust in his sovereignty and holiness, to hope in his restoration and re-creation, to participate in his mission and service, and to worship him in spirit and truth. - Q: How can I learn more about Ezekiel? - A: You can learn more about Ezekiel by reading the book itself, by consulting commentaries and other scholarly works on it, by joining a study group or a class on it, by listening to podcasts or lectures on it, by watching videos or movies on it, or by praying and meditating on it. I hope you enjoyed reading this article on Ezekiel: Current Debates And Future Directions. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to share them with me. Thank you for your attention and interest.




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