From Babylon to Eternity: The Exile Remembered and Constructed in Text and Tradition
Cannegieter, Alex, Wilfred van de Poll, Anne-Mareike Wetter and Bob Becking
London: Equinox, 2010 pp. 113. $27.95
Description: Generally, readers have a negative idea of the Exile. Psalm 137 has fuelled the idea that this was a time of sorrow and despair. This image of the Exile influenced, for instance, Luther's ideas on the Babylonian Captivity of the Church. The four essays in this volume deconstruct and reconstruct this image. Bob Becking tries to recreate a history of the exile. On the basis of the available evidence, this could be no more than a fragmented history, nevertheless showing that the fate of the exiles was not as bad as often supposed. Anne Mareike Wetter reveals that the biblical image of exile is multi facetted. She shows how a tradition of a people tied to their God-given land was challenged by the reality of foreign occupation. And how that people eventually succeeded in translating this experience, appropriating them through a transformation into a counter-tradition that enabled them to cope with the new situation, without breaking entirely with their cultural and religious heritage. Jewish ideas on Exile are discussed by Wilfred van der Poll. He concentrates on the use of the concept of galut, which refers to the paradigmatic and identity-shaping function of the dispersion of the people of Israel and showed that the exile in Jewish thinking had become a permanent reality up until the present day. From the perspective of intertextual reading, Alex Cannegieter discusses four texts of varying ages and background - Augustine, Petrarch, Luther, and a Dutch sermon held after the end of the Second World War. She explores the ways authors chose biblical texts to appropriate them a new context, thereby changing the meaning of the new, as well as the source texts.
Subjects: Methods, Historical Approaches, History, Form, Tradition and Redaction Criticism
Review by Francis Dalrymple-Hamilton
Citation: Francis Dalrymple-Hamilton, review of Bob Becking, Alex Cannegieter, Wilfred van de Poll, and Anne-Mareike Wetter, From Babylon to Eternity: The Exile Remembered and Constructed in Text and Tradition, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2011).
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