Patterns of Sin in the Hebrew Bible: Metaphor, Culture, and the Making of a Religious Concept

Hardcover | January 18, 2016

byJoseph Lam

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Sin, often defined as a violation of divine will, remains a crucial idea in contemporary moral and religious discourse. However, the apparent familiarity of the concept obscures its origins within the history of Western religious thought. Joseph Lam examines a watershed moment in thedevelopment of sin as an idea - namely, within the language and culture of ancient Israel - by examining the primary metaphors used for sin in the Hebrew Bible. Drawing from contemporary theoretical insights coming out of linguistics and philosophy of language, this book identifies four patterns of metaphor that pervade the biblical texts: sin as burden, sin as an account, sin as path or direction, and sin as stain or impurity. In exploring the permutationsof these metaphors and their development within the biblical corpus, Patterns of Sin in the Hebrew Bible offers a compelling account of how a religious and theological concept emerges out of the everyday thought - world of ancient Israel, while breaking new ground in its approach to metaphor inancient texts. Far from being a timeless, stable concept, sin becomes intelligible only when situated in the matrix of ancient Israelite culture. In other words, sin is not as simple as it might seem.

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Sin, often defined as a violation of divine will, remains a crucial idea in contemporary moral and religious discourse. However, the apparent familiarity of the concept obscures its origins within the history of Western religious thought. Joseph Lam examines a watershed moment in thedevelopment of sin as an idea - namely, within the la...

Joseph Lam is an assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern languages and civilizations from the University of Chicago. His articles have appeared in Vetus Testamentum and the Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:328 pages, 9.41 × 6.42 × 1.3 inPublished:January 18, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199394644

ISBN - 13:9780199394647

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Table of Contents

Preface1. Sin and Metaphor in the Hebrew Bible2. The Burden of Sin3. The Accounting of Sin4. Sin as Path or Direction5. Sin as Stain or Impurity6. ConclusionAppendix: On Metaphor and SimileBibliography

Editorial Reviews

"Patterns of Sin in the Hebrew Bible is a clear, theoretically informed, and illuminating examination of the Hebrew Bible's metaphors for sin. A comprehensive account of sin's appearances has long been wanting and here it is, finally. All students of the Bible will benefit from Lam's carefulattention to the workings of the biblical metaphors, and will come away with a richer and more profound understanding of how biblical sin is construed." --Jacqueline Lapsley, Associate Professor of Old Testament, Princeton Theological Seminary