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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:54167
Doc. No:TL24121
Call number:‭3294229‬
Main Entry:Warren Calhoun Robertson
Title & Author:Drought, famine, plague and pestilence: Ancient Israel's understandings of and responses to natural catastrophesWarren Calhoun Robertson
College:Drew University
Date:2007
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2007
Page No:211
Abstract:Natural disasters are universal realities of life. Because they randomly destroy human life and property and disrupt the intellectual and social status quo of the community, natural disasters require explanation by the affected communities. What is more, radical experiences of natural disasters may serve as catalysts, prompting the affected communities to articulate, challenge and reformulate assumed notions related to the occurrence of disasters. The ancient Israelite community is one such community affected by natural disaster and warfare, who respond in a variety of ways. This interdisciplinary study integrates textual analysis of the Hebrew Bible and comparable ancient Near Eastern material with social theory and archaeology in order to articulate the ancient Israelites' taken-for-granted understandings (doxa) of natural disasters, their intellectual and theological challenges to those understandings, and their intellectual and theological reconstructions of those understandings. Common understandings are cast in terms of punishment for covenant infidelity. When natural catastrophes are understood as divine punishment for human action, however, their arbitrary destruction challenges those taken-for-granted assumptions. The clash between cognitive expectation and experiential reality produces cognitive dissonance. Responses, then, come in the attempt to return to cognitive, if not social, stability. Several responses are practiced and articulated by the ancient Israelites regarding the retributive understanding of natural (and other communal) disasters: avoid and/or attempt to prevent the disrupting experience through the use of apotropaic and other ritual techniques, protest the suffering of the innocent, revise the assumptions about divine punishment and/or divine character, revise the assumptions about human actions, or despair of identifying any correlation between human action and divine punishment.
Subject:Philosophy, religion and theology; Social sciences; Ancient Israel; Ancient Near East; Hebrew Bible; Natural disasters; Old Testament; Bible; Ancient civilizations; Judaic studies; 0579:Ancient civilizations; 0751:Judaic studies; 0321:Bible
Added Entry:H. B. Huffmon
Added Entry:Drew University