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The vision accounts in the Book of Ezekiel as interrelated narratives: A Redaction-critical and theological study

Hiebel, Janina (2013) The vision accounts in the Book of Ezekiel as interrelated narratives: A Redaction-critical and theological study. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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The strong connections between the vision accounts in the book of Ezekiel are a well-known fact. However, in the literature their existence is usually simply mentioned. To date, the question of how, when, and by whom (author or redactor) these links were created has attracted very little attention. The present thesis undertakes a redaction-critical study of Ez 1:1–3:15 (3:22–27); 8:1–11:25; 37:1–14; 40:1–43:11; 44:1–2, 4–6; 47:1–12 as interrelated narratives.

The aim of the first part of the thesis is to outline a unified redaction history of all vision accounts in their mutual relationship. The study begins with the diachronic analysis of Ez 1:1–3:15; 8–11; 37:1–14; 40–48* separately, discerning an oldest version and the respective redaction history for each text unit, along with a structural-literary analysis of every major stage of the text’s growth. The redaction histories are then combined, establishing the chronological order of the layers and, where applicable, their correlation or dependence. Four original vision accounts (2:3–3:15*; 8–11*; 37:1–14*; 40:1–43:10*) and two isolated disputation words (11:3–4, 7–12; 11:14–20*) are attributed to the early-exilic prophet Ezekiel. The four accounts are already at this stage arranged in two interlinked pairs. The insertion of a new “overture” (1:1–2:2*; 3:12–14*) creates particular connections among 1:1–3:15*; 8–11* and 40–48*, and thus a cycle of 3+1 visions, leading from doom to salvation. The links continue to increase in quantity and explicitness, until reaching the present tightly-knit network.

Redaction criticism ultimately should serve to facilitate a better understanding of the text. For this reason, the thesis is complemented by a shorter second part. Based on the first, it surveys aspects of the visions’ discourse, rhetoric, and theology — for example, the portrayal of characters, their relationships to each other and to the (historic) audience, the implied ideas of God and of humankind — in their development from the original vision accounts throughout selected redactional layers. To this end, a range of questions and methods is borrowed from narrative criticism and rhetorical criticism. In this way, redaction-critical analysis and literary methods that are typically used in a synchronic approach, work together on elucidating both the history and theology of some of the most complex chapters in the book of Ezekiel.

Publication Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Arts
Supervisor: Boorer, Suzanne
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