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Covenant and Grace in the Old Testament


Assyrian Propaganda and Israelite Faith


This book examines the Old Testament language about Israel’s relationship with God in the light of Assyrian royal propaganda. Unpacking this language’s meaning in both Assyrian and biblical contexts, it shows Israel borrowed language from Assyrian vassal treaties to describe its covenant with God, and this book reveals what “covenant” meant, and that it is not “covenant” at all, but “grace.” The broader theological implications of this discovery are explored in dialogue with contemporary theologians. The book takes seriously the study of text in its ancient context in order to highlight the theological content and its modern relevance.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-60724-015-0
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Feb 17,2012
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 335
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-60724-015-0
$166.00
$116.20

This book explains how Israel understood its relationship with Yahweh. This ambitious enterprise begins with one Aramaic text from the periphery of the Neo-Assyrian vassal system and eventually leads to theological reflections on the nature of God’s dealings with humanity. Israel borrowed language from Assyria in describing its covenant with God, and this book reveals what “covenant” meant, and that it is not “covenant” at all, but “grace.”

Addressing the state of the question on covenant in the Old Testament, this book moves the field forward using new texts and new directions. It shows that Israel borrowed language from Neo-Assyrian royal propaganda to describe its relationship with God. The Assyrian ideology packaged for and received in Levantine states like Judah is illustrated with the Barrakab inscription from Samal, and identical language to Barrakab is found in the Old Testament. This book explains what the language meant in Assyrian ideology, how and when it was adopted in Judah, how it came to be in exilic parts of the Old Testament, and what the language meant in the biblical context especially in the Exile. Finally, the broader theological implications of the latter are explored in dialogue with contemporary theologians. The book thus takes seriously the study of the text in its ancient context in order to highlight the theological content and its modern relevance.

This book explains how Israel understood its relationship with Yahweh. This ambitious enterprise begins with one Aramaic text from the periphery of the Neo-Assyrian vassal system and eventually leads to theological reflections on the nature of God’s dealings with humanity. Israel borrowed language from Assyria in describing its covenant with God, and this book reveals what “covenant” meant, and that it is not “covenant” at all, but “grace.”

Addressing the state of the question on covenant in the Old Testament, this book moves the field forward using new texts and new directions. It shows that Israel borrowed language from Neo-Assyrian royal propaganda to describe its relationship with God. The Assyrian ideology packaged for and received in Levantine states like Judah is illustrated with the Barrakab inscription from Samal, and identical language to Barrakab is found in the Old Testament. This book explains what the language meant in Assyrian ideology, how and when it was adopted in Judah, how it came to be in exilic parts of the Old Testament, and what the language meant in the biblical context especially in the Exile. Finally, the broader theological implications of the latter are explored in dialogue with contemporary theologians. The book thus takes seriously the study of the text in its ancient context in order to highlight the theological content and its modern relevance.

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Contributor Biography

Robert Miller

Robert Miller holds a PhD in Hebrew Bible from the University of Michigan, and is currently Associate Professor of Old Testament at the Catholic University of America. His is the author of Chieftains of the Highland Clans (2005), Syriac and Antiochian Exegesis and Biblical Theology for the 3rd Millennium (2008), and Oral Tradition in Ancient Israel (2011).

  • Table of Contents (page 7)
  • List of Illustrations (page 9)
  • Preface (page 11)
  • Introduction (page 15)
  • 1 THE SHAPE OF SCHOLARSHIP ONCOVENANT (page 21)
  • 2 THE APPEAL TO EXTRABIBLICALPARADIGMS (page 43)
  • 3 THE BARRAKAB INSCRIPTION (page 63)
  • 4 THE MATRIX OF ASSYRIANIMPERIALISM (page 91)
  • 5 THE ISRAELITE COUNTERPARTS (page 111)
  • 6 A CONTEXT FOR THE TRANSFER (page 135)
  • 7 THE TRANSMISSION OF THECONSTELLATION (page 161)
  • 9 THE CREEDAL CONTEXT (page 185)
  • 10 ELECTION AND GRACE IN ISRAELITERELIGION (page 205)
  • 11 THE TRIUMPH OF GRACE (page 229)
  • BIBLIOGRAPHY (page 265)
  • INDEX (page 329)
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