The Burning Bush: An Investigation of Form and Meaning in Exodus 3 and 4

Akao, John Osemeikhian (1985) The Burning Bush: An Investigation of Form and Meaning in Exodus 3 and 4. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This Thesis aims at investigating the development and theological significance of the Burning Bush story. As a narrative in its present biblical setting, Ex. 3 and 4 constitutes a pivotal point in the tradition of the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. It serves as the basis for the subsequent miraculous works in Egypt, while it provides the clue for the understanding of the Mosaic involvement in the deliverance episode. The importance which Israelite tradition later came to attach to the Exodus Event, and its popularity among oppressed people of every generation have been contributory to my desire to examine more closely this 'Divine-human encounter' at the Burning Bush. Therefore to begin with I have first summoned the various textual evidences available on the subject for a thorough interrogation to see how the story has been reported and used since its assuming literary form. In this exercise which takes up Chapter 1, I discover divergences and discrepances among the various texts, which point to some sort of literary development of the story. On the basis of this finding in Chapter 1, I then try to put the question whether it is possible to trace and recover by any means what the form of the original story was and how it has been developed to assume the form we now have in the Massoretic Text. The answer to this question constitutes the thrust of Chapter 2. In conducting this investigation in Chapter 2, to recover the original form, I departed from the hitherto used tools - J. E. Source analysis, which have so far multiplied the problems of understanding the Text rather than illuminate them. I have used, instead, the Form-Critical and Traditio-historical analysis and have been able to successfully/ successfully uncover the two basic underlying literary structures of our Text. Having unveiled the basic forms and demonstrated how they have been brought together by our author (s) to make up our present text, I then tried to see which Biblical Literary Genre has influenced its composition. This examination is carried out in Chapter 3, where 'Prophetic Call Narrative' is found to be the Model for the Burning Bush Story. Here the two basic forms discovered in Chapter 2 are examined at greater depth. In thus giving a Prophetic Call paradigm to our Text, it is found that our author(s) has used one of the popular 'Motifs' of Yahweh's appearance and intervention in the cosmos found in copious references throughout Biblical Scripture. The examination of this 'Motif' in our text and its use in subsequent Biblical Literature and in Post-Biblical Writings constitutes the burden of Chapter 4. With the development of our Text thus traced to its limit in Chapter 4, I then turned to the second half of the title of our investigation - The Theological Significance and Interpretation of the Text. It is to this enquiry that Chapter 5 is devoted. How is the bringing together and the literary expansion of what constitutes the basic elements of our Text to be interpreted? In addressing ourself to this question, I first delineated what I style the basic theological strands in the text before looking for the message of the Text in the Textual exegesis - an exercise in which the results of Literary analysis are married together with theological elucidation. It is my hope that the method, used here to some degree of success, if applied to some other relevant Biblical pericopes will yield similar dividends.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Biblical studies, Theology
Date of Award: 1985
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1985-76551
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2019 14:10
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2019 14:10

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