Jonah as subversive literature? The Book of Jonah and its biblical context
This dissertation analyzes how the book of Jonah utilizes biblical and extra-biblical traditions and motifs as a means of expressing its particular theological perspective. The first chapter surveys ancient and modern research of the book. It concludes that much of the present scholarly opinion concerning Jonah is based upon methods and assumptions whose validity for biblical studies in general have been called into question. Four successive chapters are correspondingly devoted to each of the chapters of Jonah. Chapter Two concludes that Jonah 1 uses the tradition of 2 Kings 14, in combination with the ubiquitous ancient literary motif of the sea storm narrative, in order to stress God's absolute freedom from and power over the natural and human order. Chapter Three argues that the psalm of Jonah 2 is neither an interpolation nor directly dependent upon the Psalter, but rather draws upon stock Israelite imagery for distress in its demonstration that God alone is the source of both calamity and salvation. Chapter Four analyzes the verbal clues of Jonah 3 in addition to the use of biblical traditions concerning divine repentance and concludes that, in light of what the Hebrew Bible says about God's forgiveness, his repentance from punishment of Nineveh is no guarantee of its safety. Examination of Greek literary traditions about Nineveh shows that the book of Jonah is informed by their view of the city as an exotic place destroyed in the distant past. Chapter Five argues that the use of the divine attribute tradition in Jonah 4, in addition to the argument at work in God's final remarks, serves to further emphasize that divine forgiveness and care are always subject to a freedom which violates all human standards of justice and mercy. The concluding chapter traces the impact and lingering influence which the dominant view of Israelite history exerts on the interpretation of Jonah, the relationship Jonah has with Job and Qoheleth, and the avenue created from this study for a new attempt at discerning a theology of the Hebrew Bible.
0289: Ancient languages
0294: Classical studies