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Myth, Metaphor Or Memory? The Allusions To Creation And Exodus In Isaiah 51:9–11 As A Theological Response To Suffering During The Exile

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Chapter Summary

As part of an urgent plea or prayer for divine intervention the author of Isaiah 51:911 combines possible allusions to creation and the exodus as analogous events in the past in response to the suffering endured during the Babylonian Exile. It is surprising that the possible allusion to creation seems to have more in common with Ancient Near Eastern mythology than with the biblical creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2. The mythological allusions can also be interpreted as metaphors and memories that provide comfort for the suffering. The possible combination of creation and exodus motifs during the time of the Babylonian exile might therefore be a good example of an imaginative process of metaphorisation to provide a suitable theological response to suffering. The memories of creation and exodus are much more than inert mythological fossils embedded in the religious traditions of Israel.

Keywords: Babylonian exile; Genesis 1; Isaiah 51:911; mythological allusion



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