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Interrogating the Violent God of Hosea: A Conversation with Walter Brueggemann, Alice Keefe, and Ehud Ben Zvi

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image of Horizons in Biblical Theology

This essay responds to Brueggemann, Keefe, and Ben Zvi. Commending Brueggemann's discernment of multivocality in Hosea, this response considers his idea of a recovering God in light of rhetorical disjuncture between the brutal God of most of Hosea and the nurturing deity of Hosea 14. Keefe's welcome focus on class-based economic motivations for Hosea's polemics raises a question about the "urban elite male warrior class" that she identifies as responsible for regional economic exploitation; postcolonial notions of hybridity and mimicry are invoked to extend Keefe's analysis. Ben Zvi's argument that Persian-period literati would have been empowered by Hosea's utopian rhetoric is considered; the male rereadership would have been shamed, too, by Hosea's metaphorization of Israel as adulterous woman, and Yehud readers might not have seen the monarchical-era implied audience as discontinuous with themselves. The question is posed as to what role(s) the prophet Hosea might play in the hermeneutical models of Brueggemann, Keefe, and Ben Zvi.

Affiliations: 1: Yale Divinity School, 409 Prospect Street, New Haven, Connecticut, 06511, USA


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