Israel remembers: Waters of chaos, waters of hope

Merilyn E.K. Clark

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This the sis explore s the role and significance of th e waters which ari se in the Flood, Reed Sea Crossing, and Jonah stories. It argues that the waters are no mere background detail, nor is their presence in each story coincidental. Rather, it proposes that the extraordinary and dangerous waters constitute a coherent imagery across the three stories, and p erform a significant, even crucial role within them. Rhetorical analysis of each story is undertaken to explore the literary functions of the waters and their role in shaping the rhetoric of the story. This analysis establishes that in each story the waters play a crucial role narratologically. They are integrally linked to plot development and climax and tension management. In their dynamic interaction with the characters of the stories, the waters become almost a character in their own right. In the portrayal of the waters there is a slide from a literal representation of the waters
to a figurative perspective, with metaphor, simile, and mythopoeic elements coming into play. The waters become "waters of the deep," inducing chaos, but pregnant with the possibilities of a new creation. The intertextual connections between the three stories are not superficial. They are interrelated and pro ceed from the surface level of key words, to deep er levels of motifs, themes and structure. Intertextual connections with the Genesis 1 creation story are revealed. The intertextual analysis of the stories, with emphasis on the waters, discloses the similarities in their narrato logical roles, as well as in the elements that come to define the distinctive coherent imagery the waters
form. Each story is a story of renewal or a new work: a new creation in the Flood
story, a new people in the Exodus story, and a new vision for Jonah. They are stories to be remembered: the waters' imagery confirming YHWH's creator and sovereign status and testifying to his transcendent authority and active, renewing presence within creation.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Painter, John, Principal Supervisor
Place of PublicationCanberra, ACT
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


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