By Jacqueline E. Lapsley
This article is an exegetical examine of the tensions inherent in Ezekiel's realizing of the human ethical self. The publication explores the dynamics of those tensions, and efforts to unravel them within the textual content.
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Additional resources for Can These Bones Live? The Problem of the Moral Self in the Book of Ezekiel
16 than to any other chapter. He does not treat ch. 18 or any of the other relevant chapters in any length (Origen, Homelies sur Ezechiel [Sources Chrétiennes 352; Paris: Editions du Cerf, 1989], 212-347,183). 4 Theodoret of Cyrrhus, Patrologia Graeca (vol. 81; ed. J. -P. Migne; Paris: 1864), 924. See also Godfrey W. Ashby, Theodoret of Cyrrhus as Exegete of the Old Testament (Grahamstown: Rhodes University, 1972), 131-33. 5 Origen makes this interpretive move as well. 6 David Halperin cites some of the talmudic evidence: '"It once happened that someone read [in synagogue the passage beginning] declare to Jerusalem her abominations [Ezekiel 16:2] when R.
18 did. "'81 Likewise Klein sees the prophet oriented toward different purposes at different moments: "Because repentance is the goal of this chapter [ch. 18], the new heart and spirit are described as human achievements. " 82 It is entirely possible for the prophet's speech to address varying concerns with different audiences, but to suggest that this adequately explains the tensions and inconsistencies in the prophetic discourse is to beg the question: What lies beneath these tensions? What is the fundamental problem or need that the prophet is addressing, that these tensions should surface in this way?
In sum, the Protestant scholarship of this period noted a tension in Ezekiel's language, but was hardly perturbed by it, preferring to understand it as a reflection of a broader truth within Protestant theology. II. Individualism A. Ezekiel and the Triumph of Individualism Until very recently many scholars saw Ezekiel as the prophet who made the decisive turn away from corporate responsibility to exalt the responsibility of the individual before God. This view of Ezekiel's role in the evolution of individualism fit well into a larger developmental framework for understanding ancient Israelite religion and ethics that arose in the nineteenth century and continued to dominate well into the twentieth.