Winter Meeting 2003 (abstracts)
At Manor House, University of Birmingham, January 6th-8th
Theme: The Hebrew Bible against its Ancient Near Eastern Background
Robert Gordon (Cambridge), ‘Comparativism and the God of Israel’ (Presidential Paper)
Dr Janet Tollington (Cambridge), ‘Abraham and His Wives: Status and Culture’
Dr Anselm Hagedorn (Berlin), ‘“A Stranger from Abroad”: Greeks in Palestine in Old Testament Times’
Mr Mervyn Richardson (Woubrugge), ‘Characteristic Features of Peripherally Biblical Traditional Literature’
Dr Stephanie Dalley (Oxford), ‘Athaliah the Queen of Sargon II and Assyrian Relations with Judah’
Professor Kevin Cathcart (Dublin), ‘From Akkadian to Ugaritic: Comparative Semitic Philology and the Text of the Hebrew Bible’
Dr Peter Williams (Cambridge), ‘Teraphim, Rephaim, and the Ugaritic RPUM’
Dr Sarah Nicholson (Glasgow), ‘On Tamar in Genesis 38’Summer Meeting, July 2002
Summer Meeting 2003 (abstracts)
At St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, July 21st-23rd.
A Joint Meeting with the Oudtestamentisch Werkgezelschap, and in coordination with the Society of Biblical Literature International Meeting, under the joint presidency of Professors Robert Gordon and Arie van der Kooij
Theme: The Hebrew Bible against its Ancient Near Eastern Background
Professor Kenneth Kitchen (Liverpool), ‘The Hieroglyphic Inscriptions of the Neo-Hittite States (1200-700 BC): A Fresh Source of Background to the Hebrew Bible’
Dr Jan Wagenaar (Utrecht), ‘The Ancient Israelite Festival Calendar in its Ancient Near Eastern Context’
Dr Jan-Wim Wesselius (Kampen), ‘Language Play in the Old Testament and in Ancient North-West Semitic Inscriptions’
Dr Nathan MacDonald (St Andrews), ‘Whose Monotheism? Whose Rationality?’
Dr Marjo Korpel (Utrecht), ‘Disillusion among Jews in the Persian Empire’
Ms Ora Lipschitz (Jerusalem), ‘Camels, Philistines and Writing’
Professor Peter Machinist (Harvard), ‘The Old Testament in Comparative Perspective: The Case of Julius Wellhausen and Assyriology’ (in the Concert Hall)
Dr Meindert Dijkstra (Utrecht), ‘Annals and Chronicles’
Dr Philip Johnston (Oxford), ‘Death in Israel and Egypt: A Theological Reflection’
Dr Pierre Van Hecke (Brabant), ‘Pastoral Metaphors in the Hebrew Bible and its Ancient Near Eastern Context’
Winter Meeting 2003
Professor Robert Gordon (Cambridge): ‘“Comparativism” and the God of Israel’ (Presidential Address)
The steady accession of comparative Near Eastern material has almost inevitably fostered a perception of resemblance, rather than of difference, between Israel’s God and the gods of the ancient Near East. This tendency towards convergence is evident in a number of areas, four of which were highlighted: divine action in history, prophecy, the national covenant, and aniconism. On the other hand, expressions of what may be termed ‘reverse comparativism’ have also been forthcoming in recent writing. According to this approach, the Old Testament is seen as impoverished and constricted by Deuteronomic and similarly motivated manipulation of Israel’s religious and literary traditions. Monotheism itself is regarded as having robbed the tradition of the variegation and richness of polytheistic religion as it actually existed in (principally) pre-exilic Israel — a form of Israelite religion to which the Old Testament itself is the primary witness. In response, the paper examined ‘ways in which even the heavy hand of Deuteronomism or monotheism has worked positively, imaginatively and insightfully with Israel’s traditions’. Four features of the Old Testament were cited in illustration: the Old Testament’s ready attribution of characteristics (forms, functions, epithets) of ancient Near Eastern gods to the God of Israel (‘The Coat of Many Colours’), the development of the Israelite narrative tradition (‘God and the Narrative Tradition’), the anthropomorphic depiction of God (‘The Anthropomorphized God’), and the integration of the ancient Near Eastern ‘council of the gods’ into a range of Old Testament texts (‘The Conciliar God’). In conclusion, it was maintained that ‘there is no reason why the making of cultural comparisons [between Israel and its neighbours] should be abandoned’, and that it is legitimate, and even desirable, to attempt to highlight and discuss elements of cultural uniqueness in the biblical text.
Dr Janet Tollington (Cambridge): ‘Abraham and his Wives: Culture and Status’
The narratives in Genesis 11:26-25:11 include stories about Abraham’s relationships with three wives, Sarai/Sarah, Hagar and Keturah and the sons born as a result of these unions. This paper explored the origins of each wife and the terminology used to describe her status and relationship to Abraham; and in respect of Sarah and Hagar their relationship to each other. The discussion incorporated a consideration of cultural attitudes towards marriage, adultery, and what in today’s world might be called surrogate motherhood with respect to the birth of Ishmael. A theological approach was adopted towards the question of status, and issues of authority, dominance, mutuality and self-interest were considered alongside a discussion of the ways in which the narrator presented each character. This revealed significant differences in terms of the level of interaction between Abraham and each of his wives, a literary device also used by the narrator to portray each character’s attitude towards God. Both Sarah and Hagar are depicted as more aware of God’s presence and ongoing involvement in the fulfilment of the divine promises than Abraham. Each marriage relationship showed Abraham’s primary concern to be that of self-interest with an ambivalent attitude towards the well-being of his wives. However, whilst Abraham was presented in the narratives, when interacting with wider society, as the important person in each partnership, in the relationships themselves he appears less authoritative and rarely in control of events. Certainly Sarah is portrayed directing her husband’s actions as often as she allows him to direct her. The paper argued that all three marriages have importance theologically for Israel’s self-understanding as the elect nation living in relationship with kindred peoples; and that in the Abraham/Sarah marriage Abraham represents the leaders of Israel who put the nation, represented by Sarah, at risk. Perhaps these narratives are not as patriarchal as is generally presumed, for close attention to the women’s stories reveals a distinctive theological voice at work challenging received tradition.
Dr Anselm Hagedorn (Berlin): ‘“Who Would Invite a Stranger from Abroad?”: The Presence of Greeks in Palestine in Old Testament Times’
The paper surveyed the textual and archaeological evidence for a possible presence of Greeks in Syro-Palestine before the conquest of Alexander the Great. Starting from Homer, Odyssey 17.382-385, where migrant craftsmen from the East are mentioned, the possibility was explored of the existence of ‘travelling specialists’ from the Greek mainland and the Aegean islands in Palestine. Herodotus, the only Greek author who explicitly calls Palestine ‘Palestine’, stresses that there has been contact between Greece and especially Phoenicia from a very early stage onwards. Strikingly, the only Greek active in Palestine whom we know by name is the brother of the poet Alcaeus who served as a mercenary in the army of Nebuchadnezzar II and was probably involved in the siege of Ashkalon. Generally speaking, these so-called mercenaries (or probably better: ‘soldiers of fortune’) are about the only Greeks for which one can establish a secure presence. Next to the Kittimmentioned in the Arad ostraca, the Judean fortress of Mezad Hashavyahu deserves attention. Here, an archaeological site that cannot be identified from the biblical text, Greek soldiers lived next to Judean military personnel. This mercenary presence certainly does not allow us to subscribe to W.F. Albright’s thesis of a coast ‘dotted with’ Greek settlements, because there is no evidence of a specific Greek way of life at the sites where pottery has been found. Since pottery is often used to argue for Greek presence, it was necessary to survey this evidence. If we are correct to assume that the preferred mode of existence of Greeks in Palestine has been the enoikismos, it is hardly surprising that we do not find any architecture of a specific Greek style, since this mode of ‘colonial’ existence is generally expressed by making use of the exterior structure (houses etc.) of the native population but using interior furnishings (pottery etc.) which reflect the place of origin of the settlers. This would explain why the existence of Aegean Greece and its inhabitants is known in biblical sources but concrete points of contact are missing. If the Greeks living in Palestine were not part of any elite group, it is hardly surprising that the written evidence is sparse (and always next to Semitic inscriptions) and that the elite circles mostly responsible for the authorship of the biblical documents hardly mention contact with them. True, ‘in the ancient Near Eastern universe Israel and Judah are something of a backwater’ and both states probably never had any direct political dealing with Aegean Greeks, but on the non-elite level we can confidently argue for contact and exchange as well as some permanent Greek presence in Palestine before Alexander the Great.
Mr Mervyn Richardson (Woubrugge): ‘Characteristic Features of Peripherally Biblical Traditional Literature’
Traditions associated with Coptic sacred sites show that only some have been preserved in textual form. Such texts as Papyrus Westcar, which contains fantastic stories of the historically verifiable Old Kingdom pharaohs, also seems to rely on oral tradition. Why that text has not usually been included in anthologies of Near Eastern literature illustrating the Old Testament is not clear, for there are abundant parallels. The story of Sinuhe is regularly quoted, though little is made of the duplicate texts on ostraca written in the school at Deir el-Medineh. These show that there were attempts to set Sinuhe within the context of a later world and to resolve grammatical cruces, aims which figure prominently within biblical exegesis. Similarly, the duplicate of the Merenptah stele confirms that it was composed as a religious hymn rather than a historical annal, and this, together with circumstances surrounding its first discovery, means that it needs to be reassessed in terms of its historical value for the emergence of Israel. An insight into the ancient Egyptian view of ancient Palestine can be gleaned from the letter of Hori in Papyrus Anastasi. Allen in The Context of Scripture provides more details about an Egyptian’s awareness of the language of his neighbours than that given by Wilson in Ancient Near Eastern Texts. There are several Hittite and Akkadian texts which also show the range of change a literary narrative undergoes when evolving into traditional literature. Such examples may well provide the context in which the scriptural narrative as we know it evolved.
Dr Stephanie Dalley (Oxford): ‘Athaliah the Queen of Sargon II and Assyrian Relations with Judah’
Evidence from two Assyrian letters and an administrative text from Nimrud, and from two sculptures from Sennacherib’s palace at Nineveh, contain evidence that Judah in c. 716/715 BCE and thereafter was a vassal of Assyria supplying tribute and troops. Details on the Lachish relief indicate that Sennacherib largely blamed the Nubians for Hezekiah’s disloyalty in 701. The Assyrian-style stamp seal of a high official of Uzziah suggests a long-term close relationship between Judah and Assyria. Assyrian interest in Palestine focussed largely on trade with Egypt. On the border of Egypt both Tiglath-pileser III and Sargon used Arab agents to organise their trading posts. Since those kings marched past Judah on several occasions, the biblical account of how Hezekiah ‘harrassed’ the Philistine cities may imply that Judean kings acted as agents for Assyria. This would explain why Padi of Ekron was delivered to Hezekiah, why Sennacherib called Hezekiah ‘strong and mighty’, and why Jerusalem was wealthy and important. Deportation figures for 701 may be high because they include Philistines with Judeans. In addition, the tomb found recently at Nimrud containing the sarcophagus of Yaba wife of Tiglath-piliser III and Athaliah wife of Sargon II with inscribed grave-goods may be significant, since Athaliah is almost certainly a Hebrew name, and Yaba, presumably related to her, is likely to be Hebrew also. If so, Hebrew spoken by Sargon’s wife would account for why the rab shakeh could speak Hebrew to the people of Jerusalem. Diplomatic marriages with foreign royalty were common at that period, and help to allow a more nuanced approach to Assyrian policy. Mistranslation and unwarranted assumptions have led to wrong interpretation of Sennacherib’s intentions in 701; corrections suggest that he did not attempt to capture Jerusalem.
Professor Kevin Cathcart (Dublin): ‘From Akkadian to Ugaritic: Comparative Semitic Philology and the Text of the Hebrew Bible’
One of the events in the 1960s which many Old Testament scholars remember well was the publication of James Barr’s Comparative Philology and the Text of the Old Testament. No less interesting were some of the lively reviews of that book. This paper briefly examined Barr’s definition of comparative philology, his distinction between the two types of treatment: the textual and the philological. It is not an uncommon situation to work with a combination of the textual and comparative approaches. Excesses in philological treatments should not deter scholars from engaging in the comparative philological approach, nor should the wholesale reckless emendation of the biblical text associated with a previous era be used to block sensible and convincing solutions based on emendation. In the second part of the paper, worked examples were presented which took into account recent research and epigraphical discoveries. They involved the use of comparative data from Akkadian, Ugaritic and Old Aramaic. For example, modern English translations of the Old Testament must acknowledge (as does the REB) that at Ezekiel 16:30, אמלה לבתך means ‘How angry I am with you’, not ‘How sick is your heart’ (NRSV) (see Akkadian libbati malû, ‘to become angry with’). Other texts chosen for discussion were Numbers 23:9; Job 30:3, 17; Nahum 2:14; 3:17; and Habakkuk 2:3.
Dr Peter Williams (Cambridge): ‘Are the Biblical Rephaim and the Ugaritic RPUM Healers?’
The biblical Rephaim and Ugaritic RPUM are generally connected with the root רפא ‘heal’. It is usually suggested that the Ugaritic form is a participle and that the Masoretic vocalization רְפָאִים represents a tendentious correction from an original participle, רֹפָאִים. MT’s non-participial vocalization is supported by the Septuagint and probably Samaritan Pentateuch, and, contrary to the claim of R. Liwak, the participial vocalization is not demanded by the Neo-Punic inscription from El-Amruni. Consideration of the difficulty involved in the systematic tendentious alteration of the vocalization of a common Hebrew term suggests that the theory of revocalization should be set aside as implausible. Since it is unlikely that Ugaritic and Hebrew had the same vowel pattern for the term, the argument that the Hebrew term has not been revocalized brings into question the consensus vocalization of the Ugaritic RPUM as a participle. The lack of support for the participial vocalization of the Ugaritic word, combined with the observation that as yet no Hebrew, Phoenician or Ugaritic text mentioning these figures need imply that they have healing powers, suggests that scholarly association of the Rephaim or RPUM with healing is not warranted.
Dr Sarah Nicholson (Glasgow): ‘Playing the Whore: Gender Performance and Basic Instinct in Genesis 38’
This paper raised the question of the plausibility of the Tamar story and asked why she risks assault and even death by her encounter with Judah. Using Judith Butler to challenge the system of binary opposites that has been used to explain the story, it may be argued that subtle dimensions emerge in Tamar’s performance of prostitution. The traditional answer that she was socially and materially bereft without a son does not fully explain the reason for her action. It makes more sense when we consider the possibility that she desires Judah. A brief exploration of evolutionary psychology also points in this direction.
Summer Meeting 2003
Professor Kenneth Kitchen (Liverpool): ‘The Hieroglyphic Inscriptions of the Neo-Hittite States (c. 1200-700 BC): A Fresh Source of Background to the Hebrew Bible’
Indigenous written sources from the North Levant in the 1st millennium BC are very limited in scope and quantity as compared with Mesopotamia and Egypt. Most familiar is the modest collection of West-Semitic texts (mainly Old Aramaic and Phoenician). A larger group of inscriptions from Syria and south-east Anatolia is the so-called ‘Hittite Hieroglyphic’ inscriptions (strictly, hieroglyphic Luvian) left to us by the kings and ruling elites of the Neo-Hittite states such as Carchemish, Malatya, Gurgum, Hamath, Que, and Tabal (among others), close neighbours of Aram and Phoenicia. Full decipherment of these texts followed from the discovery in 1946 of the bilingual inscriptions (‘Hittite Hieroglyphic’ and Phoenician) at Karatepe, and intensively worked out in recent decades, culminating (to date) in the recent publication of a full and accurate Corpus of these texts by J.D. Hawkins (plus H. Cambel for Karatepe), with translations and commentary. The language is Indo-European, deriving from the cuneiform Luvian of the Hittite Empire of the later 2nd millennium, and precursor to the Lycian of classical times. Their potential input for Old Testament studies is varied. Politically, there was a brief age of ‘mini-empires’ within c. 1190-950 BC, headed by Carchemish and Tabal, with which those of Aram-Zobah/Damascus and the Hebrew United Monarchy have affinities. We can now ‘personalize’ the ‘kings of the Hittites’ of 2 Kings 7:6. In the social/religious sphere, these texts illustrate the roles of royalty in the areas of cult and rituals, and of deity in royal activities in war and peace; with one ‘Hittite Hieroglyphic’ text, we may end (as was said of Jezebel) by ‘going to the dogs’!
Dr Jan Wagenaar (Utrecht): ‘The Priestly Festival Calendar in its Ancient Near Eastern Context’
The festival calendar recorded in Leviticus 23 and Numbers 2829 seems to combine the features of two mutually exclusive festival calendars. On the one hand they share the tripartite lay-out of the pre-exilic festival calendar preserved in Exodus 23:14-19; 34:18-26; Deuteronomy 16:1-17, while on the other they agree with the biannual scheme adopted in Ezekiel 45:18-25 and the priestly festival calendar (Exodus 12:1-13; Leviticus 23:5-8, 23-27, 33-37). The data suggest that the celebration of three harvest festivals a year in agreement with the course of the agricultural year may in the late exilic or early post-exilic period have been abandoned in favour of the custom of observing two major festivals a year after the example of the vernal and autumnal new year festivals of the Babylonian festival calendar. The present text of the festival calendar recorded in Leviticus 23 and Numbers 2829 may be explained as a late post-exilic scribal compromise between the pre-priestly and priestly festival calendars.
Dr Jan-Wim Wesselius (Kampen): ‘Language Play in the Old Testament and in Ancient North-West Semitic Inscriptions’
It is well known that we find an entire array of instruments of what we could call language play in the Old Testament: ambiguity, double entendre, and intra-textual repetition being only a few of them. Numerous scholars have pointed out that there are parallels to this in Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Hittite and Ugaritic texts. It has, however, been noticed only to a limited degree that certain North-West Semitic (especially Phoenician and Aramaic) inscriptions also contain some of these elements. This remarkable agreement serves to further the interpretation of some of these inscriptions, of which the Phoenician Kilamuwa inscription and the Old Aramaic Tel Dan inscription were discussed in some detail in this paper, and of the literary traditions of the Old Testament in their ancient North-West Semitic context.
Dr Nathan MacDonald (St Andrews): ‘Whose Monotheism? What Rationality?’
The axis ‘monotheism’‘polytheism’ is frequently used to locate religious expressions from ancient Israel and her Near Eastern neighbours. Though pervasive in biblical scholarship, the use of this axis is not self-evident and depends on a particular construal of the nature of God, the world and religious belief. It is well known that ‘polytheism’ does not belong to any religious self-description. But what of ‘monotheism’? Whose monotheism is it, and what kind of rationality does it presuppose? And what difference might it make to our understanding of Old Testament articulations of Yahweh’s oneness?
Dr Marjo Korpel (Utrecht): ‘Disillusion among Jews in the Persian Empire’
For many Jewish exiles in the Neo-Babylonian empire, disillusion with their own religion was so deep that neither the high hopes of Second Isaiah nor the Edict of Cyrus allowing them to return to their homeland and start rebuilding the temple was sufficient incitement to repatriate. Often they allowed themselves to be integrated into the culture of the country they lived in. Throughout the Persian empire the mixture of religions that resulted from the liberal religious policy of the new masters resulted in a slackening observance of traditional religious duties. Some Jews adopted religious practices from other peoples they lived in contact with, intermarriage with non-Israelites became quite normal, and some of them abandoned religion altogether, trying to organise their lives autonomously.
Ms Ora Lipschitz (Jerusalem): ‘Camels, Philistines and Writing’
It was noted that the Bactrian and the Dromedary were domesticated in different regions at different times. The issue as far as the Old Testament is concerned is the domestication of the Dromedary which, William Albright rightly claimed, could not be prior to the 12th century BCE. Camels are absent from early records, e.g. at Mari and Ugarit, and there is not even a word for ‘camel’ in Egypt. Various representations of camels from earlier periods were discussed. 25 of the 54 references to camels in the Old Testament occur in Genesis, most of them in ch. 24 (18 times). Some references locate camels in their correct Arabian cultural context (Ishmaelites/Midianites); in other cases camels have been added routinely to already existing lists of animals. Genesis 24 is to be regarded as a late exemplum (at least post-Deuteronomic) in which the proper treatment of camels is a key element. It was noted that the Philistines never appear in the many lists of the pre-Israelite inhabitants of the land. These lists consist of six peoples in two fixed groups, each containing three elements (only the later Deuteronomist adding the Girgashites). Since this recurrent 3 + 3 form probably indicates fixed oral tradition, the absence of the Philistines from these lists may reflect awareness of their late arrival in the region. Finally, although the Pentateuch is free in its association of writing with Moses, it does not associate this skill with the patriarchs. The explanation may be that there was a clear conception of what could be attributed to whom, and writing was not thought appropriate for the patriarchs. The discussion concluded with reflections on the occasional value of the ‘argument from silence’ as potential evidence of accurate historical reminiscence, and sometimes as good as (other) facts and artefacts which tend to be regarded by some as evidentially more reliable.
Professor Peter Machinist (Harvard): ‘The Old Testament in Comparative Perspective: The Case of Julius Wellhausen and Assyriology’
As great a biblical scholar as Julius Wellhausen was, it has often been stated that he had a major weakness, namely his failure to apply to the understanding of the Old Testament the burgeoning evidence of the broader ancient Near Eastern world that was fast becoming available during his lifetime. Indeed, the charge has been made that he cared little or nothing for this evidence and remained largely ignorant of it, because for him the only real analogy to biblical Israel was the culture of the pre-Islamic Arabs. The paper revisited this view of Wellhausen by focusing on his relationship to one of the then developing ancient Near Eastern fields, Assyriology. His relationship, it was argued, was in fact a complex one, and if he failed to utlilize Assyriology fully in his Old Testament work, it was not out of ignorance or disdain. The explanation appears to lie, rather, in a combination of Wellhausen’s personal circumstances and his sense of what the priorities should be for a field like Old Testament. Wellhausen’s views here take us straight into the larger arena of philology and how it was conceived in the nineteenth century, even as they remain a provocative challenge to contemporary studies of the Old Testament and the larger ancient Near East.
Dr Meindert Dijkstra (Utrecht): ‘Annals and Chronicles in the Bible and the Ancient Near East’
In his seminal studies on the historical traditions of ancient Mesopotamia and Anatolia, Hans Güterbock formulated the basic distinction between ‘historical documents’ in which royalty prescribed how to be remembered by posterity (in general: annals) and literature (usually called: chronicles) in which posterity selected and wrote what it wanted to be remembered from the past. The latter form was the beginning of real ancient Near Eastern historiography. This distinction has often been neglected in comparative studies. From this perspective the paper discussed some of the problems of ancient Israelite historiography in the context of ancient Near Eastern historiography.
Dr Philip Johnston (Oxford): ‘Death in Egypt and Israel: A Theological Reflection’
The Egyptians invested more in preparation for death than any other human group. Their positive view of the afterlife and its gradual extension from pharaohs to officials to commoners is well documented in primary sources and secondary literature. But the ideal of respect for the dead was widely flouted in practice, with early abandonment of funerary offerings, later reuse of mortuary material, and endemic robbery of tomb contents. Negative views always co-existed, in the early period regarding the non-elite, and from the New Kingdom onwards in various carpe diem expressions. By contrast, Israel invested relatively little in death and had a largely negative attitude towards it. The underworld was an unwelcome fate, but is only an infrequent theme in the canonical text. Contact with and veneration of the dead occurred and were condemned, but they were not major concerns of the biblical writers. Positive views only developed later, mainly from within Yahwism and without noticeable assimilation of Egyptian concepts. So in contrast to Egypt, Israel’s approach to death was cheaper, more egalitarian, less socially conservative and less delusionary. Where Egyptians sought divinisation in death, Israelites were to seek God in life.
Dr Pierre Van Hecke (Tilburg): ‘Pastoral Metaphors in the Hebrew Bible and in its Ancient Near Eastern Context’
The metaphor of God as shepherd has received quite some attention in scholarly literature (e.g. De Robert 1968, Willmes 1984, Hunziker 2001). All these treatments have concentrated, however, on the biblical texts in which the shepherd image is affirmed and elaborated, leaving out of consideration the texts in which the metaphor is either questioned, rejected or reversed (e.g. Jeremiah 49:19-20; 50:44-45; Hosea 4:16; 13:4-9; Amos 3:12; Lamentations 3:1-6). This paper argued that the inclusion of the latter texts is necessary for a correct understanding of the use and development of pastoral metaphors in the Hebrew Bible. It was shown that biblical authors treated their religious images and traditions in a dynamic and sometimes iconoclastic way. Like many other religious metaphors, the metaphor of God as shepherd was not limited to the Hebrew Bible, however; its use in different ancient Near Eastern cultures is well attested and has received extensive scholarly discussion (Müller 1961, Seibert 1969, De Moor 1982, Bosetti 1984). The paper addressed the question to what extent the dynamic and, at times, iconoclastic way in which the biblical authors treated their metaphors has parallels in the literature of these surrounding cultures. Finally, the question of a possible (negative or positive) influence of the ancient Near Eastern pastoral images on the biblical metaphor was dealt with.