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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:52356
Doc. No:TL22310
Call number:‭3227876‬
Main Entry:Nathaniel B. Levtow
Title & Author:Images of others: Icon parodies and iconic politics in ancient IsraelNathaniel B. Levtow
College:Brown University
Date:2006
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2006
Page No:246
Abstract:This dissertation investigates a distinctive genre of Israelite poetry developed in Babylonia and Judah in the latter sixth century B.C.E. that mocks the construction and worship of cult images. I disassociate these Israelite "icon parodies" from post-biblical, dualist discourse about "idolatry," and locate them instead among a spectrum of ancient iconic ritual and discursive practices. I redescribe the icon parodies as variations on traditional ancient West Asian iconic modes of cultural production, including the abduction and destruction of cult images by political opponents, and argue that their Israelite authors participate in the iconic ritual system that they place in rhetorical opposition. I present Israelite icon parodies not as static descriptions of Neo-Babylonian cult, but as discursive acts of Israelite social formation. I interpret cult images as embodiments of social power relations, and iconic rites as sites where these relations are configured and inscribed upon individuals and social groups. I identify the icon parodies as classificatory discourse that usurps the symbolic power produced through iconic ritual, and projects it upon an intended Israelite audience as a means to configure Yahwistic practice and Israelite identity during and following the Babylonian exile. Their authors draw upon established mythic, ritual, and rhetorical traditions from both ancient Israel and Mesopotamia, to classify the ancient West Asian ritual continuum in an authoritative way. Through their innovative amalgam of Israelite and Mesopotamian traditions, these Israelite authors delineated a classification of cult, and a differentiated, oppositional definition of the "Israelite way," that was granted legitimacy among the interpretive communities who received and traduced their writings. While the icon parodies are often taken as evidence of ancient Israel's differencia specifica, I therefore argue the opposite, and present them as evidence of Israelite participation in iconic traditions of ritual and discourse. I extend this interpretation to other polemical representations of iconic cult in the Hebrew Bible, which I describe as similar Israelite engagements with ancient West Asian iconic modes of social formation.
Subject:Philosophy, religion and theology; Social sciences; Ancient; Cult image; Exilic literature; Icon; Idolatry; Israel; Bible; Ancient civilizations; Archaeology; 0579:Ancient civilizations; 0324:Archaeology; 0321:Bible
Added Entry:S. M. Olyan
Added Entry:Brown University