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Henderson, Ruth


Second Temple Songs of Zion. A Literary and Generic Analysis of the Apostrophe to Zion (11QPsa XXII 1–15); Tobit 13:9–18 and 1 Baruch 4:30–5:9.


Berlin u. a.: De Gruyter 2014. 340 S. = Deuterocanonical and Cognate Literature Studies, 17. Geb. EUR 109,95. ISBN 978-3-11-031564-6.


Ibolya Balla

In the revised version of her doctoral dissertation Ruth Henderson provides a comparison of three Zion Songs along with their individual, detailed literary analysis. After an overview of the topos of the future Jerusalem in Second Temple literature (chapter 1.1–3) the reasons for selecting the Zion Songs and the author’s objectives are set out in chapter 1.4, 1.5, 1.8. One of the basic tenets of H.’s research is that specific Second Temple songs from the Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha and Qumran scrolls, concerned with the future Jerusalem, represent a specific genre which is manifested in many characteristics these poems share. Three of these works have been selected as the subject matter of the book ( Apostrophe to Zion [11QPsa XXII 1–15], Tobit 13:9–18, and 1 Baruch 4:30–5:9). These songs have been analysed in commentaries and studies individually but not in comparison. The author aims at filling this lacuna by providing not only a detailed literary analysis of the poems but also a comparison of them. One of the significant characteristics these works have in common is their opening address and frequent reference to Zion/ Jerusalem. After pointing out the problems concerning the iden-tification of the genre of these songs, the author notes the need for delineating the poems collectively as a genre (chapter 1.6). While only the Ap Zion refers to Jerusalem as Zion, Tobit 13:9–18 and 1 Baruch 4:30–5:9 also exhibit a Zion theology similar to that found in Isa 40–66 which has highly influenced these poems, all three are called Zion Songs in the book (chapter 1.7).
In chapter 2 (Methodological considerations) the author identifies a) the limits and terminology of poetic units used in her book (chapter 2.2), b) the model of genre preferred by her in the investigation into the three compositions (chapter 2.3), c) the approach to the structure of the poems (chapter 2.4), and d) allusiveness, as a form of »intentional reference to other sources« (23), including the books of the Hebrew Bible (chapter 2.5). The latter can take the form of »biblical influences«, »implicit quotations«, »allusion«, »echo« and »model« (chapter 2.6), the significance of each of which is evaluated regarding each of the three Zion Songs.
Chapter 3, 4 and 5 have the detailed analysis of the Apostrophe to Zion, Tobit 13:9–18, and 1 Baruch 4:30–5:9, respectively. Their examination is similar in that they all have as their main aspects – apart from others – the following: review of research of the song or its context (chapter 3.1, 4.1, 5.1, respectively); text, translation, and helpful notes (chapter 3.2, 4.2, 5.2, respectively); structure of the poem or its context (chapter 3.3, 4.3, 5.3, respectively); an assessment of scriptural influences upon the songs using the following terminology: models, thematic echoes, allusions (chapter 3.4, 4.4, 5.4, respectively).
Concerning Ap Zion (chapter 3) one area that has not been fully discovered in previous research is the relation of the conception of Jerusalem between the poem and the Zion Songs of Isa 40–66 which form the basis of its Zion theology. H. points out as the result of the analysis of structure and of scriptural influences the conception of Zion demonstrates a development in the Second Temple song as compared with the isaianic model. Its language is more abstract than that of the isaianic songs; however, Zion is not an abstract concept but a concrete city reflecting spatial quality and continuity from past to present and future. The poem’s structure is especially suitable to express the author’s view on the centrality of the future Jerusalem with its alphabetic, tripartite and concentric structure. The key idea and message of the poem is at the middle (unit l, lines 8–9; Zion’s hope will not be lost).
Chapter 4 treats Tobit 13:9–18 in the context of 13:1–18. Concerning the structure of the context (Tobit 13) H. argues for a different division to that generally accepted by scholars (vv. 1–8; 9–18), by stating that vv. 7–8, 9b are transitional verses between vv. 1–6 (also containing editorial expansion) and 9a, 10–18. Verses 9a, 10–18 show a concentric structure in which the central idea is Jerusalem’s joy at the return of her righteous children (v. 13). The main biblical models of the poem in terms of themes, language and motifs are the Zion Songs of Isaiah 40–66, but the images of the latter have been reworked and the motif of praise – especially characteristic of psalmic literature and late Second Temple liturgy – and joy becomes dominant. The representation of the future Jerusalem in the poem as the fulfilment of prophetic hope concerning the city – in the universal plan of God – forms a contrast with the contemporary conditions of the author and serves as a motivation for hope and faith in the restoration.
H. notes regarding 1 Baruch 4:30–5:9 (chapter 5) that it exhibits a seven part concentric structure with the central idea expressed in v. 37a (reversal of Jerusalem from mourning to joy, from loss of her children to return of her children), serving as the basis for and also culmination of the address comforting the city at the beginning and end of the song. Various biblical sources are responsible for the shaping of the perspectives and motifs within the song or its context (1 Baruch 4:5–5:9), such as Deuteronomy, Jeremiah, Deutero-Isaiah, Micah, Zephaniah, Job, Psalms, Lamentations. On the basis of the difference in the use of biblical material between the context, 1 Baruch 4:5–29, and 1 Baruch 4:30–5:9 H. argues that the latter, or part of it (4:30–5:4), probably came from a different source and was integrated into its context. The concept of future Jerusalem is viewed within an eschatological framework but a visionary description of the eschatological city – found in the other two poems – is not articulated here.
Following the examination of the three songs as individual compositions and as parts of a wider literary work chapter 6 has their respective genre analysis. In the context of the psalms found in 11QPsa Ap Zion reflects one of the most significant themes of the Scroll, the »restoration of Zion as the place in which God is to be found and worshipped« (273). Before determining the genre of the songs (chapter 6.2) H. defines a range of characteristics – both formal and substantive – that are essential features of the poems belonging to the same genre. The first formal characteristic discussed is rhetorical organization, important for both the songs’ generic antecedents, the isaianic Zion Songs and those discussed in the monograph. This is manifest in: an initial, direct address to Zion/ Jerusalem sustained throughout the poem; an abundance of second feminine singular forms used in reference to Zion; a frequent use of imperatives addressed to Zion; predominant use of the future tense; the schematic importance of the number seven. The other characteristic is external structure which is manifest in the concentricity that applies to all three songs. While their linear sequencing sets them apart from each other, all of them display a concentric structure with a main idea at their centre (in Ap Zion, it is an assurance that Zion’s hope will not be lost [unit l, lines 8–9]; in Tobit 13:9–18 it is an exhortation to Jerusalem to rejoice at the return of her children in righteousness, who will bless God within her [13:13]; in 1 Baruch 4:30–5:9 it is the reversal of Jerusalem from mourning to joy, from loss of children to return of children [4:37a]). All other concepts have a circular arrangement around the centre. In this regard they are similar to Isa 56–66 and Zech 1–8 where the oracles that emphasize the continuing significance and centrality of Zion in the centre of these works are surrounded by interpretative material. The result of this composition is that attention is focussed on Zion/Jerusalem. After discussing formal characteristics by which the three songs can be recognized as a genre, substantive features are detailed in chapter 6.2.2. They are found in the isaianic Zion Songs as well. These include: the basic image (Zion »personified as a mother bereft of her children, who is to be transformed by the glory of God and the return of her children« [283]); the major themes (eschatological return of Zion’s children; overthrow of Zion’s enemies; future glory of Zion; joy; Zion in a restored relationship with God; Zion as the radiant centre of the world. In chapter 6.4 H. treats the various functions or Sitz im Leben that the genre, previously determined, may have had within its socio-historical context. These include theological, polemical and liturgical func-tions.
An overview of the similarities and differences between the songs is provided in chapter 7.1 and 7.2 followed by remarks on the use or role of structure in literary analysis (chapter 7.3) and a summary of the possible functions of Second Temple Zion songs.
While the large number of subchapters makes the division of the book somewhat complicated, it is an invaluable contribution from several aspects. So far it is the most comprehensive investigation of scriptural influences on the three Zion Songs, thus providing at the same time a goldmine of information for the reception history of various, significant, biblical passages. H.’s work is also very useful for its delineation of the genre of the poems, and for the detailed comparison of the songs. It is a welcome addition to works dealing with Second Temple literature and within it the Second Temple Songs of Zion.