Title page for ETD etd-10042005-115528


Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Janse van Rensburg, Hanre
URN etd-10042005-115528
Document Title The attack on Judah in Sennacherib’s Third Campaign : an ideological study of the various texts
Degree MA (Ancient Languages and Cultures)
Department Ancient Languages
Supervisor
Advisor Name Title
Prof P J Botha
Keywords
  • social values
  • ideology
  • Sennacherib
  • Jerusalem
  • 2 Chronicles 29-32
  • Isaiah 36-39
  • Lachish
  • 2 Kings 18-20
  • Isaiah
  • Hezekiah
Date 2004-09-10
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Most studies done on the subject of this mini-dissertation have only focused on the differences in chronological detail and text – searching for the facts behind the different accounts. Much attention has thus been paid to the historicity of the various texts and the way in which the different accounts affect each others credibility. But is this the only research to be done? The contention of this mini-dissertation is that to only look at the different texts surrounding Sennacherib’s third campaign through the eyes of a modern historian is to lose the unique and significant message that the various texts wanted to convey. An event only forms part of the construction of a meaningful whole by the author; thus it can be found in various stories at different places and with varying significance attached to it, without meaning that the account of which it forms a part is neither important nor historical. It only means that the authors of the various ancient accounts wanted to achieve different outcomes with their retelling of the original story. For this reason it is important to be able to enter the world represented in, and the mind of the writer of, the ancient texts – allowing the ideology and intentions of the author to be brought to the fore and the text to speak with its own voice, not that of the modern historian. To achieve this requires knowledge of the different symbols, concepts and the meanings attached to them by the ancient societies – shifting the attention to the texts themselves by looking at the way in which the events were narrated as well as what events were narrated; thus revealing the ultimate meaning and purpose of the various texts. The intention of this mini-dissertation is to study the various texts from the underdeveloped angle discussed above, namely ideology and social values. In doing so it is proposed that a new significance will be revealed for the various texts.

Research done on the subject of this mini-dissertation has mostly focused on whether there was a single campaign in 701 BC; or two campaigns, one in 701 and one later; or whether chronological difficulties should be explained as arising from the perspective of an author who wrote much later than the actual events occurred. Most studies have only focused on the differences in chronological detail and text – searching for the facts behind the different accounts. Much attention has thus been paid to the historicity of the various texts and the way in which the different accounts affect each others credibility. But is this the only research to be done? The contention of this mini-dissertation is that to only look at the different texts surrounding Sennacherib’s third campaign through the eyes of a modern historian is to lose the unique and significant message that the various texts wanted to convey. An event only forms part of the construction of a meaningful whole by the author; thus it can be found in various stories at different places and with varying significance attached to it, without meaning that the account of which it forms a part is neither important nor historical. It only means that the authors of the various ancient accounts wanted to achieve different outcomes with their retelling of the original story. For this reason it is important to be able to enter the world represented in, and the mind of the writer of, the ancient texts – allowing the ideology and intentions of the author to be brought to the fore and the text to speak with its own voice, not that of the modern historian. To achieve this requires knowledge of the different symbols, concepts and the meanings attached to them by the ancient societies – shifting the attention to the texts themselves by looking at the way in which the events were narrated as well as what events were narrated; thus revealing the ultimate meaning and purpose of the various texts. The intention of this mini-dissertation is to study the various texts from the underdeveloped angle discussed above, namely ideology and social values. The question as to why the various narratives were written as they were will be the focus of this work, pushing aside the modern paradigm and analytical methods which so often focus on the idiosyncrasies instead of the commonalities. In doing so it is proposed that a new significance will be revealed for the various texts.

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