Wild God in the wilderness: why does Yahweh choose to appear in the wilderness in the book of Exodus?

Coetzee, Narelle Jane (2016). Wild God in the wilderness: why does Yahweh choose to appear in the wilderness in the book of Exodus? University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The wilderness is an unlikely place for Yahweh to appear; yet some of the most profound encounters between Yahweh and ancient Israel occur in this isolated, barren, arid and marginal landscape. Thus, via John A. Beck's narrative-geography method, which prioritises the role of the geographical setting of the biblical narrative, the question of 'why does Yahweh choose to appear in the wilderness?' is examined in reference to four Exodus theophanic passages (Exodus 3:1-4:17, 19:1-20:21, 24:9-18 and 33: 18-34). First, a biblical working definition of the wilderness is developed, and the specific geographic elements in each passage discussed. Subsequently, the characterisation of Yahweh's appearances is investigated, via the signs Yahweh used to appear, the words Yahweh speaks and the human experience of Yahweh in the wilderness space. In sum, five reasons for why Yahweh appears in the wilderness were considered significant. The wilderness setting allows Yahweh to be (I) actively present and intimately engaged, (2) separate and holy, (3) paradoxically creative, (4) speak transfomative and visionary words and (5) free, risky, and provoking. Finally, the implications of these findings provide new insights to theological considerations of Yahweh. Overall, Yahweh is portrayed as a wild God in the wilderness.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, Department of Theology and Religion
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BS The Bible
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/7115


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