The Power of Images: The Poetics of Violence in Lamentations 2 and Ancient Near Eastern Art Restricted; Files Only

Walker, Mark (Spring 2019)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/1n79h518c?locale=en
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Abstract

The publication of Keel’s Symbolism of the Biblical World (1972) introduced ancient Near Eastern iconography as an invaluable resource for the interpretation of the Hebrew Bible. According to Keel, such images allowed the modern interpreter to “through the eyes of the ancient Near East” (8) and, when compared with the biblical literature, rendered accessible “identical, similar, or even diametrically opposed apprehensions of the same phenomenon” (12-13). In the intervening decades since (and of) Keel’s work, iconographic exegesis of the Hebrew Bible has witnessed significant methodological and theoretical developments, many of which can be broadly characterized by an increasing concern with issues of histor(icit)y and contiguity in the image-text comparison. 

The present work represents a (re)turn to a phenomenological approach to iconographic exegesis that is especially concerned with how images and texts might mutually inform one another at the level of their respective poetics. As a test case for such a comparison, the dissertation examines how the phenomenon of violence figures in Lamentations 2 and Ashurbanipal’s palace reliefs—specifically, the Battle of Til-Tuba program (Southwest Palace, Room 33) and the lion hunt reliefs (North Palace, Room C). The project begins with a discussion of the neurological and cognitive relationship between seeing images with the eye and imagining them with the “mind’s eye” as a means of justifying such a phenomenological approach that compares how ancient artists and the biblical author construct the violent images that are seen and imagined in their works, respectively (ch. 1). It then conducts detailed analyses of the poetics of violent imagery in Lamentations 2 (chs. 2-3), the Battle of Til-Tuba reliefs (ch. 4), and Ashurbanipal’s lion hunt reliefs (ch. 5) before providing an extended comparison of the similar and divergent ways that violence figures in the literary and textual images of each piece (ch. 6). The dissertation’s contributions are twofold. First, it proffers new interpretive insights concerning the phenomenon of violence in the ANE artwork and Lamentations 2 specifically—particularly as it pertains to the poem’s construction of Yahweh’s and Zion’s bodies, its perspectival play, its manipulation of time, and the “power” of its imagery in eliciting the divine gaze. Second, the present work demonstrates the utility of ANE art for illuminating not only what but also how a given phenomenon figures in biblical poetry and vice versa.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1:Introduction: The Power of (Violent) Images in Verbal and Visual Media..................................... 1

1.1.      Three Important Movements in Biblical Iconography.................................................................................................... 3

1.1.1. The Movement from Phenomenology to Histori(icit)y in Keel’s Work............................................. 3

1.1.2. The Movement toward an Exclusive Histor(icit)y in Biblical Iconography................................... 7

1.1.3. The Movement (Back) toward Phenomenology in Biblical Iconography ...................................... 8

1.2. The Return to a Phenomenological Approach in Biblical Iconography.............................................................. 14

                  1.2.1. Why a Phenomenological Approach?................................................................................................................... 15

                                    1.2.1.1. The Neural Relationship between Perceiving and Imag(in)ing Objects .................. 16

                                    1.2.1.2. The Neural Relationship between the Experience of Visual and Verbal Arts...... 20

                                    1.2.1.3. The Cognitive Relationship between the Verbal Arts and Imag(in)ing Objects. 23

                                    1.2.1.4. The Relationship between Visual and Verbal Images in Summary............................. 27

                  1.2.2. What does a Return to a Phenomenological Approach Look Like?................................................ 29

                                    1.2.2.1. An Expanded Comparative Playing Field.................................................................................... 29

                                    1.2.2.2. A Careful Attention to Literary and Artistic Integrity.......................................................... 31

                                    1.2.2.3. A Comparison of Poetic and Imagistic “Functions”.............................................................. 34

                  1.2.3. What Phenomenon Will Be Considered?......................................................................................................... 36

                                    1.2.3.1. Why Violence?............................................................................................................................................... 36

                                    1.2.3.2. Why Lamentations 2?.............................................................................................................................. 38

                                    1.2.3.3. Why Ashurbanipal’s Palace Reliefs?............................................................................................... 42

Chapter 2:            Images of Violence in Third-Person Perspective (Lamentations 2:1-10).................. 44

2.1. Introduction.............................................................................................................................................................................................. 44

2.2.   Translation of Lamentations 2:1-10............................................................................................................................................ 47

2.3.   Poetic Analysis of Lamentations 2:1-10.................................................................................................................................... 49

2.3.1.              Yahweh the Enemy(-like): Zion’s Home Invaded (vv. 1-5)............................................................... 50

2.3.2.            Yahweh the Iconoclast: Zion’s Temple Nullified (vv. 6-7)................................................................ 72

2.3.3.            Yahweh the Demolitionist: Zion’s Structures Felled (vv. 8-9a).................................................... 83

2.3.4.            Yahweh the Oppressor: Zion’s People Bereaved (vv. 9b-10)........................................................... 89

2.4.   Summary................................................................................................................................................................................................... 98

Chapter 3:            Images of Violence in Second-Person Perspective (Lamentations 2:11-22)............. 100

3.1. Introduction............................................................................................................................................................................................ 100

3.2. Translation of Lamentations 2:11-22......................................................................................................................................... 101

3.3. Poetic Analysis of Lamentations 2:11-22................................................................................................................................ 103

3.3.1. Zion Addressed by the Speaker: A Testimony of Divine Violence (vv. 11-19) .......................... 104

3.3.1.1.     A Painful Testimony (Zion’s Contagious Grief) (v. 11a-b)............................................. 105

3.3.1.2.    A Devastating Testimony (Zion’s Dying Children) (v. 12)............................................ 109

3.3.1.3.    An Impossible Testimony (Zion’s Incomparable Pain) (v. 13).................................... 118

3.3.1.4.    A Collective Testimony (Zion’s Failed Healers) (vv. 14-17).......................................... 125

                  3.3.1.4.1.The First Failed Healer: The Prophets (v. 14)...................................................... 125

                  3.3.1.4.2. The Second Failed Healer: The Passersby (v. 15).............................................. 131

                  3.3.1.4.3. The Third Failed Healer: The Enemies (v. 16)................................................... 137

                  3.3.1.4.4. The Fourth Failed Healer: Yahweh (v. 17)............................................................ 142

3.3.1.5.    A Desperate Testimony (Zion Summoned to Action) (vv. 18-19)............................. 145

3.3.2. Zion Enraged by Yahweh: A Response to Divine Violence (vv. 20-22)........................................ 159

3.4. Summary................................................................................................................................................................................................... 169

Chapter 4:            Images of Violence in Ashurbanipal’s Battle of Til-Tuba Reliefs............................ 172

4.1. Introduction............................................................................................................................................................................................. 172

4.2. Three Criteria for the Selection of the Battle of Til-Tuba Composition........................................................... 173

4.3. An Introduction to the Battle of Til-Tuba Composition............................................................................................. 175

4.4. Three General Features of Violence in the Battle of Til-Tuba Composition................................................. 179

4.4.1. The Composition’s Left-to-Right Movement................................................................................................ 179

4.4.2. The Composition’s Use of Registers and Perspectival Play................................................................ 180

4.4.3. The Composition’s Differentiation between Elamite and Assyrian Figures............................ 187

4.5. Specific Features of Violence in the Battle of Til-Tuba Component Scenes................................................. 190

4.5.1. Violence in the Captivity Scenes (the Upper Registers of Slabs 1-3).............................................. 190

4.5.2. Violence in the Non-Narrative Battle Scenes.............................................................................................. 196

4.5.2.1. Violence at the Hill (Slab 1)................................................................................................................. 197

4.5.2.2. Violence within the Registers (Slabs 1-3)................................................................................. 202

4.5.2.3. Violence at the River Ulai (Slab 3)............................................................................................... 206

4.6. Specific Features of Violence in the Battle of Til-Tuba Narrative Sequence................................................. 212

4.6.1. The Presentation of Violence in the Narrative Sequence..................................................................... 215

4.6.1.1. Scene One....................................................................................................................................................... 215

4.6.1.2. Scene Two...................................................................................................................................................... 217

4.6.1.3. Scene Three.................................................................................................................................................. 218

4.6.1.4. Scene Four.................................................................................................................................................... 220

4.6.1.5. Scene Five..................................................................................................................................................... 225

4.6.1.6. Scene Six........................................................................................................................................................ 232

4.6.1.7. Scene Seven................................................................................................................................................. 232

4.6.2. The Performance of Violence in the Narrative Sequence................................................................... 233

4.7. Summary.................................................................................................................................................................................................. 238

Chapter 5:            Images of Violence in Ashurbanipal’s Lion Hunt Reliefs........................................ 241

5.1. Introduction............................................................................................................................................................................................. 241

5.2. Two Criteria for the Selection of the Lion Hunt Scenes............................................................................................. 242

5.2.1. The Brilliance of Ashurbanipal’s Lion Hunt Reliefs................................................................................. 242

5.2.2. The Metaphoricity of Ashurbanipal’s Lion Hunt Relief....................................................................... 244

5.2.2.1. The Prominence of the Lion Hunt in Mesopotamian Iconography........................ 246

5.2.2.2. The Figurative Significance of the Lion Hunt in Mesopotamian 

                  Iconography.............................................................................................................................................. 248

5.2.2.2.1. The Hunt’s Cultic Significance................................................................................... 248

5.2.2.2.2. The Hunt’s Mythic Significance................................................................................ 253

5.2.2.2.3. The Hunt’s Heroic Significance................................................................................ 259

5.2.2.2.4. Summary................................................................................................................................ 266

5.3. An Introduction to the Lion Hunt Scenes of the North Palace............................................................................. 267

5.4. An Analysis of the Hunting Sequence of Room C.......................................................................................................... 275

5.4.1. The Visual Sequence of the Hunt (Northeastern Wall)......................................................................... 277

5.4.1.1. Scene One: The Preparation for the Hunt................................................................................. 277

5.4.1.2. Scene Two: The Spectators of the Hunt.................................................................................... 280

5.4.1.3. Scene Three: The Execution of the Hunt.................................................................................. 284

5.4.2. The Sympathetic Response Evoked by the Hunt (Northeastern Wall)...................................... 286

5.4.3. The Visual Arrangement of the Hunt (Southwestern Wall).............................................................. 298

5.4.4. The Manipulated History of the Hunt (Room C)..................................................................................... 299

5.5. Summary.................................................................................................................................................................................................. 302

Chapter 6:           Conclusion: The Poetics of Violence in Lamentations 2 and Neo-Assyrian Art..... 304

6.1. Introduction........................................................................................................................................................................................... 304

6.2. The Selection of Violence in Text and Image................................................................................................................... 305

6.2.1. The Selection of Historical Defeat...................................................................................................................... 305

6.2.2. The Selection of Victors and Victims............................................................................................................... 308

6.3.3. The Selection of Women and Children........................................................................................................... 313

6.2.4. Summary............................................................................................................................................................................. 314

6.3. The Presentation of Violence in Text and Image............................................................................................................ 315

                  6.3.1. The Presentation of the Body.................................................................................................................................. 315

                                    6.3.1.1. The Presentation of the Body in the Neo-Assyrian Reliefs.............................................. 316

                                    6.3.1.2. The Presentation of Corporate Bodies in Lamentations 2.............................................. 318

                                    6.3.1.3. The Presentation of Individual Bodies in Lamentations 2............................................. 321

                                                      6.3.1.3.1. The Presentation of Yahweh’s Body......................................................................... 321

                                                      6.3.1.3.2. The Presentation of Zion’s Body............................................................................... 327

                                                      6.3.1.3.3. The Presentation of the Speaker’s Body.............................................................. 330

                                    6.3.1.4. Summary........................................................................................................................................................ 333

                  6.3.2. The Presentation of Perspective.......................................................................................................................... 333

                                    6.3.2.1. Perspective in Neo-Assyrian Iconography............................................................................... 334

                                    6.3.2.2. Perspective in Lamentations 2........................................................................................................ 335

                                                      6.3.2.2.1. General Perspectival Movement.............................................................................. 336

                                                      6.3.2.2.2. Specific Perspectival Movement.............................................................................. 337

                                                      6.3.2.2.3. Perspectival Movement and Zion’s Children.................................................. 340

                                    6.3.2.3. Summary....................................................................................................................................................... 342

                  6.3.3. The Presentation of the Sufferer......................................................................................................................... 342

                  6.3.4. Summary............................................................................................................................................................................ 346

6.4. The Combination of Violence in Text and Image.......................................................................................................... 346

6.4.1. The Multiplication of Violence............................................................................................................................. 347

6.4.1.1. The Multiplication of Violence in Neo-Assyrian Iconography.................................... 347

6.4.1.2. The Multiplication of Violence in Lamentations 2............................................................ 349

                                    6.4.1.2.1. The Use of Totalizing Language................................................................................ 349

                                    6.4.1.2.2. The Use of Word Pairs.................................................................................................... 350

                                    6.4.1.2.3. The Use of Expanded Backgrounds........................................................................ 352

                                    6.4.1.2.4. The Use of Ambiguity...................................................................................................... 353

6.4.1.3. Summary....................................................................................................................................................... 354

                  6.4.2. The Integration of Violence................................................................................................................................... 354

                                    6.4.2.1. Integrating Forces in the Neo-Assyrian Reliefs.................................................................... 356

                                    6.4.2.2. Integrating Forces in Lamentations 2........................................................................................ 358

                  6.4.3. The Temporality of Violence................................................................................................................................. 359

                                    6.4.3.1. Temporality in Lyric Poetry.............................................................................................................. 360

                                    6.4.3.2. Temporality in the Assyrian Reliefs............................................................................................ 362

                                    6.4.3.3. Temporality in Lamentations 2..................................................................................................... 362

6.5. The Justification of Violence in Text and Image............................................................................................................. 364

                  6.5.1. The Purpose of the Neo-Assyrian Reliefs........................................................................................................ 365

                                    6.5.1.1. The Audience of the Neo-Assyrian Reliefs............................................................................... 365

                                    6.5.1.2. The Power of the Neo-Assyrian Reliefs...................................................................................... 367

                  6.5.2. The Purpose of the Lamentations Sequence............................................................................................... 369

                                    6.5.2.1. The Date of the Lamentations Sequence.................................................................................. 369

                                    6.5.2.2. The Sitz(e) im Lebenof the Lamentations Sequence......................................................... 371

                                    6.5.2.3. The Visuality of the Lamentations Sequence........................................................................ 373

                                    6.5.2.4. The Power of the Lamentations Sequence............................................................................. 374

6.6. Conclusion.............................................................................................................................................................................................. 378

Appendix: Figures....................................................................................................................................................................................... 385

Bibliography..................................................................................................................................................................................................... 418

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