The Facets of Fear: Models of Piety in the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East
Phillip M. Lasater, M.A.
Finanzierung: UFSP Asien und Europa
Geplante Projektdauer: September 2011 – Dezember 2013
Promotionskommission: Prof. Dr. Konrad Schmid, Theologisches Seminar/UFSP Asien und Europa
Forschungsfeld: Begriffe und Taxonomien
This project analyzes the diversity among ancient Israel’s “fear of God” (yrʾt ʾlhym/yhwh, i.e. piety) concepts, interpreting such language as roughly analogous to the modern category of "religion." The study begins by highlighting historical connections between fear of God(s) and the cult in the ancient Near East and the Hebrew Bible alike. This socio-historical backdrop sets the stage for tracing intertextual dialogue regarding concepts of yrʾt ʾlhym/yhwh and for illumining facets of fear beyond the sapiential texts to which scholars tend to limit the idea. Indeed, multiple and even competing models of religious expression await inspection in both canonical and non-canonical texts, particularly from the Greco-Roman period when the Middle East and Europe collided. Through a comparative, intertextual approach, special attention is given to the accompanying assumptions and functions of the discourse concerning fear of God, investigating overlapping spheres such as cosmology, worship, ethics, anthropology and theology. Each of these categories informs and shapes fear of God in the process of establishing a working interpretation of God, world, and humankind. The study will increase the academic understanding of ancient Israel’s religion, underscoring its multiple manifestations and discerning the threads that unify as well as distinguish significant transformations of religious life such as the shift from a primarily cult- to a primarily book-directed piety.