Dust or Dew

Immortality in the Ancient Near East and in Psalm 49

By Janet Smith

Dust or Dew

paperback-logo

  • ISBN: 9781608996612
  • Pages: 286
  • Publication Date: 1/28/2011
  • Retail Price: $33.00
Web Price: $26.40
Web Price: $26.40

Dust or Dew

Immortality in the Ancient Near East and in Psalm 49

By Janet Smith

paperback-logo

PAPERBACK

  • ISBN: 9781608996612
  • Pages: 286
  • Publication Date: 1/28/2011
  • Retail Price: $33.00
Web Price: $26.40

About-

Dust or Dew addresses the question of Israel's unique contribution to beliefs about afterlife in the Ancient Near East as hinted at in Psalm 49. Reading this obscure psalm separately from other diverse contexts is often unrewarding. Dust or Dew shows which other readings, from the literature of both ancient Israel and its neighbors, enriches our understanding not only of the psalm and but also of Israel's developing concepts of sheol and redemption for the righteous. The Korahite clan of Israel emerges from the historical shadows. Finally, new light on Genesis 1-3 enriches understanding of the Psalm 49, while a survey of the icons of ancient goddess worship informs our understanding of Genesis 1-3.

Endorsements & Reviews-

"Janet Smith offers a fresh perspective on the difficult and complex question of death and 'life after death' in the ancient world of the Bible. She has in purview the large sweep of Ancient Near Eastern religion. But she goes about the issue in a proper way, focusing on texts (the Psalms and particularly Psalm 49) and on the sub-community from which these Psalms arose. She studies the 'Psalms of Korah,' a group whom she identifies as the 'custodians of the hope of a future redemption for the soul from sheol.' Her work leads her to conclude, against mythological speculation, that 'life after death' in ancient Israel concerns the victory of God in the world. Her careful reading of texts will serve well a rethinking of the 'this-worldly, bodily' form of Israel's faith in 'the God of life.' The last word, she affirms, belongs not to death, but to life"!
--Walter Brueggemann
Columbia Theological Seminary

"Janet Smith skillfully collects bits of scattered information about Ancient Near Eastern beliefs in the afterlife and examines their connection to the theology of the ancient Hebrews. Her work uncovers new and significant discoveries that relate to the Psalms and the Hebrew theology of the afterlife. Janet's research is comprehensive, her arguments are convincing, and her conclusions are well supported. Dust or Dew makes a significant contribution to the field of ancient near eastern and biblical studies."
--Lee Roy Martin
Pentecostal Theological Seminary, Cleveland, Tennessee

"What was the early Hebrew concept of the afterlife? The Hebrew Bible is filled with references to sheol, but rather than offering a systematic understanding of the afterlife, these references are often contradictory. Drawing on the best scholarship, Smith focuses on Psalm 49, which she interprets in light of biblical and Near Eastern texts. She concludes that there is 'a clear sense of trajectory from the vaguest. . . . ideas of a grave-like sheol transitioning to a confidence that righteous individuals will be immediately taken from sheol.' This book is a must for all theological libraries and religious studies programs as well as biblical scholars interested in the biblical understanding of the afterlife."
--D. William Faupel,
Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington DC

Contributors-

Janet Smith

Bio(s)-

Janet Smith is a former geologic draftsperson and illustrator. She holds a PhD in Hebrew Bible from Union Institute & University.

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