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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

The Other Face of God: 'I Am That I Am' Reconsidered
den Hertog, Cornelis

Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2012 pp. xx + 344. $120.00

Series Information
Hebrew Bible Monographs, 32

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Description: ĎI am that I amí (Exodus 3.14) has been an exegetical puzzle to many generations of biblical scholars as well as theologians: is it about the present or the future, is it about Godís presence or his hiddenness? Den Hertog argues that such exegetical questions have been framed too narrowly, and that this deeply suggestive statement about God needs to be set in a broader context. First, the statement must be understood within the narrative of Mosesí call as an answer to his problem: how can his being launched on a radically new, prophetic mission be reconciled with the features of the God of the patriarchs? Second, the after-history of this text should also be considered, since it has shaped our understanding in one way or another. Third, this fundamental theological statement invites further a psychoanalytic interpretation. Den Hertog adopts a Lacanian perspective, according to which ĎI am that I amí represents an irruption of an ĎIí from nowhere, from beyond usual thought and expectation. In its context this means that in a situation of crisis a new orientation is born, one that undermines the pharaonic powers.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Pentateuch, Exodus, Literature, Methods, Literary Approaches

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Review by Richard S. Briggs
Published 4/22/2015
Citation: Richard S. Briggs, review of Cornelis den Hertog, The Other Face of God: ĎI Am That I Amí Reconsidered, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2015).


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