Theophany and Chaoskampf : the interpretation of Theophanic imagery in the Baal Epic, Isaiah, and the Twelve
Ortlund, Eric Nels
This dissertation concerns the interpretation of theophanic imagery in the Prophets. In essence, my argument is that the imagery which attends and describes theophany in the poetic books of the Hebrew Bible is mythic and not metaphorical-that it should be interpreted in relation to the Chaoskampf myth, as Yahweh defeats chaos and restores order, rather than being understood as a metaphorical comparison with natural phenomena. In arguing this way, however, I am taking a new approach to theophanic imagery, for such imagery has almost uniformly been understood in Old Testament scholarship as metaphor. Before examining in detail this traditional and more widespread approach to theophanic imagery and the alternative to it which I wish to suggest, however, it will be helpful to state at the outset two foundations upon which my argument rests and the specific texts which will be enlisted to support it.