Saturday, July 16, 2016

Lam on Sin as Rhetoric in the HB

Sin as Rhetoric in the Hebrew Bible: The Framing Power of Metaphor

Consider the idea of sin—a notion familiar from theological discussions and often understood as a violation of divine will. No doubt for many, the (Hebrew) Bible is viewed as the source from which one might derive a definition of what constitutes sinful action. Beyond merely enumerating the individual varieties of sin, however, the texts of the Hebrew Bible also employ the language of ‘sin’ as a rhetorical mode, articulating sin’s consequences and implications, calling for urgency of action where it might otherwise be lacking, and providing ways through which to conceptualize the relationship between the human and the divine.

See Also: Patterns of Sin in the Hebrew Bible: Metaphor, Culture, and the Making of a Religious Concept (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016).

By Joseph Lam
Department of Religious Studies
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
June 2016