Eve’s Apologetics

Eve’s Apologetics

*This post was originally published bilingually in English as well as Korean back in 2017. Now the post is separated in each language. For the Korean version, see this.

Intro

The Hebrew Bible was written in a context in which patriarchal order was highly valued; it was, thus, written to maintain and reinforce the patriarchal order. For example, the didactic lessons in Proverbs employ the so-called “father-son” rhetoric, typical in ancient Near Eastern didactic genres. In this father-son dialogue, the father teaches his heterosexual young son wisdom by means of objectifying “woman.” The woman introduced as “strange-woman” or “loose woman” in Proverbs (2:16, 5:3, 7:5), for example, is utilized as a symbol of foolishness and sin, which is represented by adultery. Another woman introduced as “woman wisdom” in Proverbs 1-9 is the counterpart of the strange woman. She is an incarnation of wisdom, personified as a charming marriageable woman, whom the son must seek like his potetial spouse. These two female figures were created in patriarchal order and reinforced the order again.

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What/Who on earth is Qohelet?

*This post was originally published bilingually in English as well as Korean back in 2017. Now the post is separated in each language. For the Korean version, see  this.

Qohelet is the protagonist of the book of Ecclesiastes in the Hebrew Bible. In some (older) English translations, including ESV, KJV, ASV, RSV, and WEB, the word “Qohelet” is translated as “the Preacher.” In some other translations, such as NIV and NRSV, the word appears as “the Teacher.” Additionally and unusually, Good News Bible (GNB) takes the word as the “Philosopher,” and Common English Bible (CEB) as “the Teacher of Assembly.” Among the translations, the most well-known designation is the “Preacher.” But Qohelet is not really a preacher or a teacher in the sense that we usually understand the terms. Perhaps, Qohelet could be seen as a teacher, since his writing, known as Ecclesiastes, is edifying after all. But the Hebrew word, “Qohelet,” does not mean “teacher.” Also, we do not call every speaking subject who provides moral and intellectual lessons teacher.

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Old Testament vs. Hebrew Bible

Ideological Issues of the term, “Old Testament”

*This post was originally published bilingually in English as well as Korean back in 2017. Now the post is separated in each language. For the Korean version, see here

Christian Scripture, commonly called “the Bible,” is divided into two sections, the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament comes first in the Bible and occupies an enormously large portion of it, compared to the New Testament. The “New Testament,” of course, means a new covenant, whereas the “Old Testament” gives an impression that this particular corpus of texts is something old: so it is perhaps obsolete or inferior to the new covenant. I know Christians don’t think this way, but, in terms of the designations themselves, it is true that people rarely think that something “old” is equal to or better than something “new.” Even Jesus says “no one puts new wine into old wineskins” (Luke 5:37). For this reason, there are people who don’t like the name “Old” Testament, and some of them prefer the term “the First Testament.” Despite the limitations or the negative connotations of the name “Old” Testament, however, most Christians seem reluctant to replace the old name with the alternative. That is, perhaps, because they are so deeply familiar with the name “Old Testament.” Or maybe they think that the designations are not a big deal, as far as they are aware that the Old Testament is as important as the New Testament. In other words, even though the “Old Testament” is not the best designation for the corpus of these texts, the discussed problems do not strongly motivate most Christians to seek an alternative for the “Old Testament.” With respect to this point, the mentality of many biblical scholars would probably be the same. Nevertheless, most biblical scholars, whom I know or read, usually prefer the “Hebrew Bible” to the “Old Testament.” Then what on earth caused them to abandon their old habit, to push them out of their comfort zone, and to use an alternative, “Hebrew Bible?”

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Son and Grandson in the Hebrew Bible

Son and Grandson in the Hebrew Bible

Ancient Jews used the word, ben, for both “son” and “descendant” and didn’t have a specific word for “grandson.” So the Hebrew Bible expresses grandson as “son of son” (Gen 11:31; 45:10; 46:6). Cf. Father (in Hebrew ʾab) can also designate “ancestor.” This lack of a specific term for “grandson” causes confusion. Let’s look at some examples. 

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하와의 변론

하와의 변론

*This post was originally published bilingually in English as well as Korean back in 2017. Now the post is separated in each language. For the English version, see this.

구약성경은 가부장적 질서 속에서 작성되어 그 질서를 유지하고 강화하는 역할을 했을 것으로 추정할만 한 여러 가지 단서들을 제공한다. 잠언의 교훈적 가르침들은 아버지와 아들 사이의 대화라는 고대 근동의 교훈적 장르의 전형적인 화법을 사용하고 있다. 이 대화에서 가르치는 자–‘아버지’–는 여성을 ‘대상화’하여 젊은 이성애자 남성(아들)을 가르치기 위한 수단으로 사용한다. 가령 흔히 ‘음녀’라고 알려진 잠언(2:16, 5:3, 7:5)의 한 여성은 잠언의 교훈적 대화에서 젊은 이성애자 남성(아들)이 음행으로 대표되는 갖가지 죄에 빠지지 말라는 교훈을 주기 위해 활용된 존재이다. (사실 ‘음녀’는 문자적으로 ‘낯선 여인’이라고 번역해야 한다. ‘음녀’는 지나친 의역이다.) 또 다른 여성으로 의인화된 지혜(호크마)는 ‘낯선 연인’과 대조되는 존재로 ‘아들들’이 반드시 습득해야 할 지혜와 지혜로운 삶의 전형으로 활용되었다. 이 두 여성은 젋은 이성애자 남성들에게 매력을 어필하는 존재로 등장한다. 이들은 가부장적 질서 속에서 존재 가치를 지니며 그 존재 자체로 이미 가부장적 질서를 강화한다.

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