School of Theology and Seminary Faculty Publications

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Biblical Studies | Catholic Studies


The images and genres as well as the structure of the Book of Ezekiel aim to promote symbolic thinking in which the reader receives the word of Yhwh as an engagement with the divine Other. Such engagement fosters a priestly imaginary in which the Judean exiles are called to look beyond appearances as they wrestle with the contradictions generated by the exile and the destruction of the Jerusalem temple. The readers, like Ezekiel and the exiles, can become living symbols of Yhwh. Such symbolic thinking will be illustrated through a focus on chaps. 17-20 in which the tensions between individual and collective responsibility are encompassed within Yhwh's promise of an everlasting covenant with the House of Israel. Does Ezekiel's emphasis on the priestly system foster the covenant relationship or replace it? The predominantly oral communication of the prophecy of Ezekiel to the majority of Jewish and Christian audiences until the nineteenth century C.E. challenged individuals to decide for or against Yhwh.