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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Use of the Third Person for Self-Reference by Jesus and Yahweh: A Study of Illeism in the Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Texts and Its Implications for Christology
Elledge, Roderick

London: T&T Clark, 2017 pp. xiv + 182. $114.00

Series Information
Library of New Testament Studies, 575


Description: While an individual referring to themselves in the third person may sound unusual, this phenomenon (known as illeism) is consistently and extensively reflected in the direct speech of both Jesus and Yahweh. This in turn raises various questions: why are Jesus and Yahweh presented as speaking in such a manner? Who else employs illeism in the Bible? Does it occur in the Ancient Near Eastern texts, and, if so, who utilises it? And lastly, is there a relationship between the illeism as used by Yahweh, and the illeism as used by Jesus? Elledge addresses an issue in Biblical texts often neglects by scholarship: conducting an extensive survey of the use of illeism in the Bible and the Ancient Near Eastern Texts, and presenting evidence that this phenomenon, as used by Jesus, reflects both royal and divine themes that are apparent across several different religions and cultures. Through Elledge's examinations of illeism in Classical Antiquity, Ancient Near Eastern texts and the Old and New testament, this book provides a fresh perspective on the divine use of the third person, contributing substantial analysis to the on-going discussion of Jesus' divinity and self-understanding.

Subjects: Methods, Historical Approaches, History, Ancient Near Eastern History, Other Methods, Jesus

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Review by Paul Sanders
Published 4/11/2019
Citation: Paul Sanders, review of Roderick Elledge, Use of the Third Person for Self-Reference by Jesus and Yahweh: A Study of Illeism in the Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Texts and Its Implications for Christology, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2019).


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