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The Other Face of God: ‘I Am That I Am’ Reconsidered

£75.00

‘I am that I am’ (Exodus 3.14) has been an exegetical puzzle to many generations of biblical scholars as well as theologians: is it about the present or the future, is it about God’s presence or his hiddenness? Den Hertog argues that such exegetical questions
have been framed too narrowly, and that this deeply suggestive statement about God needs to be set in a broader context.

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SKU: 978-1-907534-17-1

‘I am that I am’ (Exodus 3.14) has been an exegetical puzzle to many generations of biblical scholars as well as theologians: is it about the present or the future, is it about God’s presence or his hiddenness? Den Hertog argues that such exegetical questions
have been framed too narrowly, and that this deeply suggestive statement about God needs to be set in a broader context.

Firstly, the statement must be understood within the narrative of Moses’ call as an answer to his problem: how can his being launched on a radically new, prophetic mission be reconciled with the features of the God of the patriarchs? This book
substantiates the view that the meaning of the statement is deliberately indefinite: ‘I may be who I may be’. In its context, it points to Yhwh’s other face, the possibility of his manifesting himself differently from the way he is thought to be.

Secondly, the after-history of this text should also be considered, since it has shaped our understanding in one way or another. This book pays particular attention to the renderings by the ancient and early modern versions (including the King James Version). The point of departure is the Septuagint rendering ‘I am the one being’, which has traditionally been associated with the Greek philosophical concept of absolute Being. This rendering, however, appears to have originally signified God’s active
presence: ‘I am the one who shows himself to be there’.

Thirdly, this fundamental theological statement invites further a psychoanalytic interpretation. Den Hertog adopts a Lacanian perspective, according to which ‘I am that I am’ represents an irruption of an ‘I’ from nowhere, from beyond usual thought and
expectation. In its context this means that in a situation of crisis a new orientation is born, one that undermines the pharaonic powers.

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Book information

Author
Cornelis Den Hertog
List Price
£75 / $120 / €90
Series
Hebrew Bible Monographs, 32
Scholars' Price
£37.50 / $60 / €45
ISBN 13 hardback
978-1-907534-17-1
Format
Hardback
Page Extent
xx + 344
Publication Date
February 2012
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