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Notions of Historical Recurrence in Classical Hebrew Historiography

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Chapter Summary

This chapter concerns with the historian's understanding of recurrence, not with the myth of eternal return or cosmological doctrines of conflagration and perfect reconstitution. It traverses well-trodden ground in a new way, analyzing notions of re-enactment and recurrent retribution in the works of the Deuteronomist and the Chronicler with the hope of shedding fresh light on Hebrew historiographical preconceptions. As notions of re-enactment formed one important basis for the great Israelite festivals, it is only natural that they should have been transferred to and re-developed in historiography. The Deuteronomic history affords some pertinent examples of how given actions have been repeated in the deeds of others. In Joshua, the Jordan crossing was consciously likened to the Exodus and the traversing of the Red Sea. The chapter recognizes that the first crossing of the Jordan was later re-enacted by Elijah and Elisha, who both struck the water with a mantle.

Keywords: Deuteronomist; Elijah; Exodus; Hebrew historiographical preconceptions; Jordan; Joshua



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