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Phineas Priesthood 2a: back in the old days

[ by Charles Cameron — who was admittedly more concerned with champagne than cuneiform as a student ]

Back in the old days, this is how it was:

SPEC DQ Moabite Stone I Sam 15.2-3

While researching Phineas Priesthood 2: The Tanakh, I found myself reading John J Collins, The Zeal of Phinehas: The Bible and the Legitimization of Violence, his 2002 Presidential Address to the Society of Biblical Literature — and ran across the Moabite Stone, which I should probably have remembered from my time reading Theology at Oxford under such luminaries as HFD Sparks of Oriel, who introduced me to Pritchard‘s Ancient Near Eastern Texts (“ANET”) if I am not mistaken.

The parallel is a familiar one to more diligent scholars than I — but worth bearing in mind, I think, when considering the story of Phinehas / Pinchas / Phineas.

2 Responses to “Phineas Priesthood 2a: back in the old days”

  1. Cheryl Rofer Says:

    Just thinking out loud: The Old Testament is pretty bloody in general. There’s something about a prophet calling down bears to eat some children who were laughing at him. So it’s easy to find things that justify pretty bloody actions. Murder? Why not? You’re saving the faithful from a plague.
    It’s also pretty tribal, protecting those faithful from the pagans and those who behave badly in other ways. So if you want tribal, it’s a place to justify that.
    But there is the common observation that the New Testament, for those who call themselves Christians, changes those bloody tribal mores.

  2. Charles Cameron Says:

    Hi Cheryl:
    As i just mentioned to Zen on FB, I understand that Gil Baile’s Violence Unveiled offers an easier intro to Rene Girard’s approach than Girard himself provides.

    What (very) little of Bailie I have dipped into seems to suggest that the turning point between the tribal honor orientation and our modern concern for human rights occurs first in the Suffering Servant songs of Isaiah 53, and then in their interpretation as referring to Christ in Acts 8 — two loci in which can be witnessed the change from a “rightousness of the crowd” view to an “innocense of the victim” emphasis.

    I suspect Girard and Bailie are offering us not just an insight into how “the New Testament, for those who call themselves Christians, changes those bloody tribal mores” as you put it — but how a major cultural shift with direct relevance to our contemporary “west vs jihadi” conflict took place.
    But I haven’t read deeply enough.

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