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Altes Testament


Schultz, Richard L.


The Search for Quotation: Verbal Parallels in the Prophets.


Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press 1999. 395 S. 8 = Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, Suppl.Series 180. Lw. £ 50.-. ISBN 1-85075-496-9.


James D. Nogalski

This book revises and updates the author's dissertation completed in 1989 under the direction of Brevard Childs. Schultz provides a genuine service to those involved in the study of verbal parallels in prophetic literature with this three part analysis that starts with the state of the problem, then looks at comparative examples, and illustrates a working model for evaluating verbal parallels in the prophets.

Part I, chapters 1-2, presents a Forschungsbericht of first magnitude in which S. demonstrates the lack of a consistent use of terminology regarding verbal parallels, the lack of methodological clarity, and the ways in which prophetic "quotations" have generally served to "prove" other agendas without necessarily providing a careful assessment of the data. S. surveys a significant sample of writers from the 19th century onward to show how recurring vocabulary in the prophets has generally found explanations in models that mirrored the way that prophetic literature was treated at the time. S. also shows that the lack of a sustained dialog about the nature of the verbal parallels has resulted in a situation which offers no consistency regarding the identification and classification of quotations. Lists of quotations by various scholars working independently vary greatly because of the lack of relatively objective criteria that can produce agreement among greater numbers of scholars. Moreover, even when agreement can be reached that citation appears, far more attention has been devoted to discussions of the direction of borrowing than the way that the quotation functions within the given context(s).

S. urges greater caution and stricter definitions for the term quotation in prophetic studies. S. identifies four crucial problems facing scholars who wish to move beyond the current impasse to interpret prophetic quotation. First, he notes the myriad of factors that can give rise to verbal parallels. Second, no criteria have consistently produced a critical consensus concerning the direction of borrowing in individual cases. Third, finding agreement concerning terminology is complicated but necessary for progress to be made. Fourth, changes in understandings about the nature of prophetic literature have resulted in the awareness of prophetic writings as complex, multi-layered entities that make determinations about specific oracles very difficult if not impossible. S. calls on scholars to shift the focus to the role of the verbal parallels in prophetic rhetoric rather than focusing on parallels as evidence for dating the layers of a given writing.

In part II, chapters 3-6, S. places prophetic quotation into a larger contextual framework by looking at quotation in four other types of literature: ancient Near Eastern literature, early Jewish quotation, other Old Testament uses of quotation, and modern Western literary studies of quotation.

In chapter three, S. surveys the work of scholars who have studied quotation in Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and Ugaritic literature in his attempt to shed light on Old Testament prophetic literature. From this survey, S. draws several conclusions. First, verbal parallels can occur without literary dependence, e.g. in the use of formulae and stereotypical phrases. Second, recognizing quotation is complicated by the fact that the majority of quotations lack explicit introductions which alert the reader that a quote follows. Quotations are recognized by contextually awkward features (archaic vocabulary, grammar, style, etc.) or simply by recognizing the passage. Third, the way that the quotation diverges from the original can be as important as the similarity for understanding the intention of the one quoting a text. Fourth, quoted material tends to relate to major religious and interpersonal issues. Fifth, literary borrowing was a familiar rhetorical device in the ancient Near East for more than two millennia.

S. evaluates the literature of ancient Judaism in chapter four by interacting with scholarly studies on the use of quotation in Sirach and the Hodayoth of Qumran. S. admits this concentration represents a small slice of the writings of ancient Judaism, but believes that this overview allows him to deduce several implications for prophetic literature. Several of his observations coincide with those noted above. Because the direction of influence can generally be determined in these writings, S. also argues that one can make additional observations. He notes that the citations are influenced by the themes and theology of the borrowing author; that the frequency, sources, and functions of the citations vary widely; that the Old Testament citations are often adapted and interpreted to the current context; and that introductory formulae more frequently mark the citation in these later writings.

Chapter V briefly introduces several works which study quotation in Wisdom, prophetic, and narrative literature, but which have also turned their attention to the ways that quotation functions. This focus on functionality leads to chapter six, a survey of recent Western literary studies of quotation. S. determines that awareness of three models of imitation (transformative, dissimulative, and eristic) allow one to begin to speak about ways in which quotes function. Further considerations lead S. to argue that the motives, types, and function of quotations can be meaningfully categorized, even when some of the categories necessarily overlap. S. infers from this survey that the use of quotation is a complex, multifunctional phenomenon with respect to authorial intent and reader competency. S. also notes that quotation affects both the quoting text and the way the source text is understood. Finally, S. argues that self-quotation within a given composition should be expected to occur frequently and "should be distinguished from external quotation because of its (i.e., self-quotation's) effective structural and recapitulative function." (207)

Part III, chapters 7-9, combines methodological reflections (chapter seven) with illustrative samples of verbal parallels in Isaiah (chapter eight) with the hope of moving toward a new model for dealing with verbal parallels in prophetic literature. S. concludes (chapter nine) with an analysis of the problems, new perspectives, and prospects that this model suggests.

In chapter II, S. suggests three terms which provide a functional means of describing correspondence between two texts. These three terms "verbal parallel, verbal dependence, and quotation" provide concentric categories that require increasingly higher degrees of linguistic evidence and documentation of literary intent. Verbal parallel implies "verbal correspondence between two texts in which actual dependence is either impossible or unnecessary (for the sake of argument) to demonstrate." (217) Verbal dependence should be used when "one prophet is dependent on the words of another, without stating anything about the nature or form of the 'source' or suggesting any reason for the prophet's drawing upon it." (217) Quotation is "reserved for those examples in which an exegetical purpose in reusing earlier material can be demonstrated where an understanding of the earlier text and context is helpful, if not essential" (221).

S. uses this terminology as a springboard toward a new model for working with verbal parallels in prophetic literature. His model, which he labels "quotation criticism" (222), calls for (1) a careful use of terminology which analyzes the type of verbal and syntactical correspondence, (2) careful examination of the diachronic and synchronic elements of the parallel texts, and (3) evaluation which acknowledges the multi- functionality of quotation.

S. uses chapter eight to apply his model by analyzing five different parallel texts found in Isaiah (Isa 11:6-9//65:25; Isa 8:15//28:13; Isa 40:3, 10//57:14//62:10-11; Isa 2:2-4//Mic 4:1-3; Isa 15-16//Jer 48). In analyzing the various criteria, he ultimately labels each of these texts as a quotation, although he also refers to some of them, at times, merely as verbal parallels. The last two groups of parallels, according to S., function differently than the first three, in large part because they represent external parallels while the first three groups function within Isaiah as self-citations and/or quotations which help develop a theme of the book. S. analyzes each set of passages diachronically and synchronically, arguing in each case that these two perspectives complement one another to help advance one's appreciation of the respective contexts. S. sees this complementary quality as an important element of the multi- functionality present within these texts.

S. provides an important contribution to the study of parallel texts with his careful, reasoned, and reasonable analysis of verbal parallels. While many of the issues he raises have been raised by others, few have attempted to bring these issues to the fore in a systematic investigation. No one working seriously on the shape or the development of prophetic books should ignore the issues S. raises in this work. S. makes a lasting contribution by bringing numerous isolated studies into conversation with one another. S. offers a clarion call for a thoughtful, transparent use of terms. His repeated assertions of the necessity of striking a mutually enhancing balance between diachronic and synchronic analysis is a welcome call not to ignore the complexity of these texts, even while attempting to explain the text in its entirety.

S. significantly advances discussion of verbal parallels in prophetic literature by pulling together a massive amount of information. His proposals deserve careful consideration, but they also raise questions. Two such questions will illustrate why the dialog needs to continue. First, one could ask to what extent he has demonstrated the necessity of doing both diachronic and synchronic analysis. In each of the five quotations he discusses, his diachronic analysis ends with an impasse of scholarly opinions that, to varying degrees, is only resolved by synchronic observations. In this sense, his presentation demonstrates that diachronic analysis needs synchronic analysis, but he does not show the significance of diachronic analysis as clearly. Second, one should ask whether his assertion that internal quotations, eo ipso, function differently than external quotations is more of a presumption than a principle he has demonstrated. Recent work on the Book of the Twelve, as well as the prophetic corpus as a whole, has at least suggested several places where "external" verbal parallels, verbal dependence, and/or quotation functions precisely in the same ways as some of the internal quotations he describes.

These questions, along with others, point to the need to continue the dialog, but they by no means detract from the contribution of this work. S. has documented the issues and framed the conversation in a manner that must be taken into account by those whose work must deal with verbal parallels, verbal dependence, and quotation in prophetic literature.