Houston, TX 77005
10:00 a.m. Monday, April 15, 2013
In the Hebrew Bible Daniel is the youngest book and the only full-blown apocalypse. My dissertation deals with the interpretive use of older scriptural texts in Daniel. The major purpose is to examine how the authors of Daniel invoke, absorb, and rework varying biblical materials written by their predecessors. My dissertation is concerned with the shaping of the exegetical traditions in Daniel, which depend on Jewish collective memory embodied in the Scriptures. Many scholars have argued that the cognitive dissonance of the post-exilic Jewish community between cherished religious tradition and the current historical reality gave birth to the new genre of apocalyptical compositions in Daniel. By contrast, my dissertation offers an essential balance to their emphasis on a socio-psychological hypothesis of the sort. As a matter of fact, Daniel preserves in many ways the streams of the ancient exegetical activities. The authors of the Jewish apocalypse either faithfully continue the meaning of an older tradition or, more interestingly, elegantly transform the long-cherished tradition to what they want it to mean. This fact signifies that Daniel well accomplishes fundamental harmony with the already established tradition and at the same time actualizes the revered scriptural legacy in the new complex situation of the intended Jewish audience/readers. Accordingly, our modern critics should understand the authors’s scribal deviation from the evident sense of a scriptural text as their persistent devotion to the inherited sacred tradition. This way of interpretation that my dissertation advances may well demonstrate the authors’s overarching theological project, in which they explained the harsh reality of their intended audience/readers to persuade them into the upcoming bright prospect. Methodologically, the primary focus of my dissertation on how one text uses another text is deeply involved with various forms of intertextuality. In discussing a range of interpretive glosses inextricably embedded in the fabric of Daniel, I refrain from embracing an anachronistic approach that imposes on the biblical text a specific set of expository categories that are much later developed by post-biblical rabbinic writers of the Mishnah and Talmud. Instead, I draw heavily upon the theory of literary allusion that has been passionately advanced by some specialists from classical studies on the Greco-Roman literature (e.g., Gian Biagio Conte, John Hollander) and by a group of Israeli critics generally called the Tel-Aviv school of poetics (e.g., Benjamin Hrushovski, Ziva Ben-Porat). While embracing Ben-Porat’s definition of literary allusion as “a device for the simultaneous activation of two texts,” I take one step further by using my own analytical framework for a three-stage procedure of activation of an allusion in Daniel. The first stage is to recognize the main sign of allusion that works between the marker element of the alluding text in Daniel and the marked component of the evoked text in another biblical book. The second stage, which is correlated with the first stage, demonstrates that the supplemental signs of allusion suggest themselves under the force of the main sign of allusion. The final stage pursues to provide a maximal meaning of the given text in Daniel. Here the literary allusion operates on a highly conceptual level, so that meaningful intertextual patterns are yielded from ideological correspondences between two independent contexts of the alluding and evoked texts. Besides this method, I often bolster my argument with a relevant investigation into the Nachleben of the given text. That is to say, I probe how a specific biblical interpretation in Daniel recurs and is developed further in the Jewish literature written after Daniel. Structurally, my dissertation is divided into six chapters. The first chapter summarizes the previous research on intertextuality in Daniel. Here I introduce the critical issues, surveying how scholars have examined the ancient Jewish literary phenomenon. The second chapter provides method. In addition to my own analytical tool, I underscore the need to distinguish a variety of approaches that are wrought under different rubrics such as “intertextuality,” “citation (or, quotation),” “influence,” “echo”, and “allusion.” Here I argue that an allusion-oriented model is most apt for my own research, which is involved with the diachronic issue of directionality of literary dependence. The main body of the dissertation is devoted to rigorous probe to the appropriation of the Scriptures in Daniel. Here I scrutinize the ways Daniel draws on the three major parts of the Hebrew Bible: the Pentateuch (third chapter), the Prophets (fourth chapter), and the hagiographic writings (fifth chapter). In the sixth and final chapter I summarize the fruits as well as some remaining questions of my research. I propose a set a set of characteristics of the poetics of allusion in Daniel.