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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

The Sin of the Calf: The Rise of the Bible's Negative Attitude Toward the Golden Calf
Chung, Youn Ho

New York: T&T Clark, 2010 pp. 256. $130.00

Series Information
Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies, 523


Description: The relationship of the biblical tradition to golden calf worship seems to be entirely negative. In the Torah and the Book of Kings, harsh criticism is wielded against the golden calf the Israelites made in the wilderness (Exod 32; Deut 9:7Ė10:11) and the calves erected by Jeroboam ben Nebat (1 Kgs 12:26-33) at Dan and Bethel during his reign over the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Hence, the question arises as to whether Jeroboam in truth set up the golden calves in order to buck the postulates of the Israelite religion of his time; that is, was Jeroboamís golden calf really meant to lure Israel into worship of other gods or idolatry? The research into the background and factors which motivated negative attitudes towards the Golden Calf will provide an insight as to when prohibition of images in the Israelite religion became crystallized and how it was indispensable in proclamation of the monotheism of YHWH.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Pentateuch, Exodus, Literature

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Review by Raz Kletter
Published 2/19/2011
Citation: Raz Kletter, review of Youn Ho Chung, The Sin of the Calf: The Rise of the Bible's Negative Attitude Toward the Golden Calf, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2011).


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