Defending the Concept of Time in the Hebrew Bible

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  • Mette Bundvad
Due to the scarcity of reflection on time as an independent subject in the Hebrew Bible, there has been a scholarly tendency to consider biblical time conception more limited than our own, perhaps even nonexistent. This article confronts the scholarly skepticism regarding the ability of the biblical authors to think about time, defending the presence of time conceptualization in the Hebrew Bible. In the article I discuss central research contributions to the subject of biblical time, in particular Sacha Stern’s thesis that the concept of time is entirely absent from the Hebrew Bible and from ancient Judaism more widely. I explore linguistic and anthropological assumptions which underpin large parts of the discussion on time within biblical studies, arguing that one cannot assume on the basis of either that the biblical authors lacked a concept of time. Finally, I suggest that the ability of the biblical writers to coordinate unrelated processes according to a temporal axis is a strong argument in favour of their awareness of time.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSJOT (Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament)
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)280-297
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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