Images of Joshua: The Construction of Memory in Cultural Identities Open Access

Farber, Zev Israel (2013)

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Joshua son of Nun is an iconic figure of Israelite cultural memory described at length in the Hebrew Bible and venerated in numerous religious traditions. My dissertation is both a text study and a cultural memory study. As such it tackles reception as well as redaction history, focusing on the use and development of Joshua's character and how his various images are deployed in the narratives and sacred texts of several religious traditions. The first two chapters look at Joshua's portrayal in biblical literature, using both synchronic as well as diachronic methodologies. The first chapter focuses on how Joshua is presented (literary analysis) in the Bible, the second on how his image was crafted from various textual layers and traditions (Überlieferungsgeschichte and redaction/source criticism). The other four chapters focus on the reception history of Joshua as an icon of cultural memory. Chapter three deals with Second Temple and Hellenistic/Early Roman period literature (Ben Sira, Maccabees 1&2, 4 Ezra, Philo, Assumptio Mosis, Biblical Antiquities, the Apocryphon of Joshua, and Josephus), chapter four with the medieval (Arabic) Samaritan Book of Joshua, chapter five with the New Testament and Church Fathers, and chapter six with Rabbinic literature.

One central question drives this dissertation: What is the relationship between a hero and the culture in which he or she is venerated? This question is most poignant when a hero spans multiple cultures and religious traditions. On one hand, a hero cannot remain a static character if he or she is to appeal to diverse and dynamic communities. On the other hand, a traditional icon should retain some basic features throughout in order to remain recognizable. Using Joshua as a case study, my investigation into this tension demonstrates that the study of a hero figure shared by multiple cultures can assist us in understanding not only the elements that bind certain cultures together but also those that keep them apart. At the same time, by taking a cross-cultural and multi-disciplinary approach, the dissertation hopes to show how these traditions, while remaining distinct, were in conversation with each other, and subtly shaped each other's interpretive agenda.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments - vi Introduction - 1 Chapter 1: Biblical Joshua(s) - 19 Chapter 2: Pre-Biblical Joshua(s) - 111 Chapter 3: Hellenistic and Second Temple Joshua(s) - 178 Chapter 4: Samaritan Joshua(s) - 282 Chapter 5: Early Christian Joshua(s) - 348 Chapter 6: Rabbinic Joshua(s) - 456 Conclusion - 563 Bibliography - 572

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