Worlds that Could Not Be: Constructing Utopia in Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah
Worlds that Could Not Be: Constructing Utopia in Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah

Worlds that Could Not Be: Constructing Utopia in Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah

in The Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies

by Terje Stordalen, Gerrie Snyman, Frauke Uhlenbruch, Steven J. Schweitzer, Donald C. Polaski, Ehud Ben Zvi, Matthias Jendrek, Thomas Willi, and Vincent Geoghegan

Pages 224
Publisher T&T Clark
Published 2016
ISBN-13 9780567664051
The idea of Utopia was first made current and popular by Sir Thomas More with the publication of his book by the same name in 1516. The 'no-place' that was created has had a fantastic reception history, which makes its application to the biblical books of Nehemiah, Ezra and Chronicles as vibrant as the current scholarship which is ongoing into the Renaissance term and its implications. The essays in this collection take different approaches to the question: are there proto-utopian elements in the three books from the Hebrew Bible? Methodological considerations are found in each essay, but each essay also moves beyond the methodological constraint to raise the hypothetical question of 'what if?' in different ways.

The essays evaluate the potential, and pitfalls, of reading Biblical books as (proto-)utopian. Topics explored include the ways in which utopia construct intricate counter-realities, and how to tell whether a proposal diagnosed as 'utopian' from a modern point of view is meant to motivate its audience to political action. Case studies which read aspects of Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah as potential utopian traits include the restoration project of Ezra-Nehemiah and the rejection of foreign wives, utopian concerns in Chronicles, as well as the empire's role in writing a putative utopia, and King Solomon as a utopian fantasy-king.

  • Table Of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Testing utopia as a contemporary method in biblical studies
    • "Worlds that could not be: Is Thomas More's Utopia modern?" Terje Stordalen, University of Oslo, Norway
    • "'Utopia where it is to be hoped that the coffee is a little less sour'?: Dr Who's 'Utopia' and Chronicles" Gerrie Snyman, University of South Africa, South Africa
    • "King Solomon or King Utopus?: A game of utopian pastiche in 2 Chronicles 1-9" Frauke Uhlenbruch, independent scholar
  • After exile, under empire: utopian identity negotiations in Ezra-Nehemiah and Chronicles
    • "Exile, empire, and prophecy: reframing utopian concerns in Chronicles" Steven J. Schweitzer, Bethany Theological Seminary, USA
    • "Writing and the Chronicler: authorship, ambivalence, and utopia" Donald Polaski, Randolph-Macon College, USA
    • "Re-negotiating a putative utopia and the stories of the rejection of foreign wives in Ezra-Nehemiah" Ehud Ben Zvi, University of Alberta, Canada
    • "Antagonized utopia in Ezra-Nehemiah" Jeremiah Cataldo, Grand Valley State University, USA
  • Searching for the place: theologies of utopia
    • "Taking the reader into utopia" Matthias Jendrek, Theological Faculty Paderborn, Germany
    • "Searching the 'place' in Chronicles: a u-topia?" Thomas Willi, University Greifswald, Germany
  • Response: Utopia and its use by Biblical Scholars as seen by a utopian scholar Vincent Geoghegan, Queens University Belfast, UK
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Inner Books

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