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Visions of death and re-creation: Ezekiel 8–11, 37:1–14 and the crisis of identity in the Babylonian exile and beyond

Hiebel, Janina Maria (2015) Visions of death and re-creation: Ezekiel 8–11, 37:1–14 and the crisis of identity in the Babylonian exile and beyond. Pacifica: Australasian Theological Studies, 28 (3). pp. 243-255. ISSN 1030-570X


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The words and images of death and re-creation in Ezekiel refer to the collective identity of the House of Israel and to its relationship with its God. Two symptomatic texts are discussed: the first temple vision (Ezek 8–11) and the vision of the valley of bones (Ezek 37:1–14). From Ezek 8–11, the vision of the defiled temple, it becomes evident that the relationship between YHWH and Israel is in a crisis beyond repair; death and destruction are the consequences. The reality of death is the starting point of 37:1–14. The vision demonstrates YHWH’s ability and willingness to restore life even to the dry, scattered bones and, thus, also to Israel as the people of YHWH. For the author(s) of these texts, the initiative for destruction lies on the human side first; the initiative for restoration lies with God alone. What dies and is resurrected is the relationship between God and God’s people. Its ‘death’ becomes a threat to the identity of both. Its ‘re-creation’ is not an act of mercy but an act of power, safeguarding YHWH’s identity as well as Israel’s. Ezekiel’s contribution to overcoming the crisis of the Babylonian exile is not to be underestimated. These texts’ potential to encourage hope is greater than commonly granted and they may hold a message also for our times.

Item Type: Published Articles
Repository Version: Author's Final Manuscript
Keywords: Ezekiel, death and resurrection, first temple vision, vision of the valley of bones, Ezekiel 8-11, Ezek 37:1-14, collective identity, Babylonian Exile
Fields of Research: 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220401 Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History)
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
Type of Activity: Pure Basic Research
Subjects: B - Old Testament
College/Association with University of Divinity: YTU: Yarra Theological Union
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Mr Micah Daley-Carey
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2017 03:43
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2017 04:23
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/2956

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