Restoration and the Refiguring of Israel's Identity: Reading Allusion to Deuteronomy 30.1-10 in Second Temple Narratives

Laugelli, Benjamin, Religious Studies - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Gamble, Harry, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia
Halvorson-Taylor, Martien, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia

Whereas most biblical scholars investigate allusion to address questions concerning literary influence and authorial intentionality, my project departs from that model to develop an intertextual and reader-oriented approach to biblical allusion that considers the interpretive possibilities reading allusion allows irrespective of authorial intention. My study explores how reading allusion to Deuteronomy 30.1-10, where Moses tells of Israel's restoration from exile, contributes to the literary figuration of a restored Israel in four biblical narratives: Nehemiah, Ruth, Tobit, and the Gospel of Mark. I argue that, once activated, the allusion positions these works as participants in a kind of experimental literary theatre; read allusively, the four narratives cast a company of diverse and unlikely actors to play the role scripted in Deuteronomy for restored Israel. These include: repatriated Judean exiles sequestered from foreign influence (Nehemiah), a Moabite woman who serves as an emblem and agent of Judean restoration (Ruth), an afflicted Israelite exile who experiences a measure of divine restoration while living in diaspora (Tobit), and the followers of a Galilean prophet divinely acclaimed as Israel's messiah and charged with bringing about eschatological restoration (the Gospel of Mark). I conclude that the performances of Deut 30.1-10 enacted in the four alluding narratives imagine alternative possibilities for refiguring national restoration under the shadow of an exile literarily depicted as unresolved and ongoing.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Hebrew Bible, New Testament, Second Temple literature, allusion, intertextuality, restoration, Deuteronomy, Nehemiah, Ruth, Tobit, Gospel of Mark, biblical narrative
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Issued Date: