Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Scripture References in this Resource
Ezekiel 36:16-32; Ezekiel 1:1-24:27; Ezekiel 11:12; Ezekiel 16:59-63; Ezekiel 20:43; Ezekiel 25:1-32:32; Ezekiel 33:1-39:29; Ezekiel 36:1-15; Ezekiel 36:33-38; Ezekiel 37:1; Ezekiel 40:1-48:35; Ezekiel 6:9
Mudge, Ronald R. "Honorable Shame: The Rhetorical Use of Didactic Shame Discourse in Ezekiel 36:16-36" Ph.D. diss., Concordia Seminary, 2012.328 pp.
After promising Israel such wonderful gifts as a new heart and a return to the land, Ezek36:16-32 ends with a command for Israel to be ashamed. Biblical scholars have offered a number of different explanations for this unusual order without consensus.
A methodology that employs sociological interpretation and rhetorical analysis covers new ground and resolves the crux of Ezek 36:16-32. A basic word study demonstrates that primary shame lexemes in Ezekiel refer to low status as judged by an audience or to the emotions of fear and anxiety surrounding low status. A study of the sociological function of shame discourse provides evidence for a didactic use of shame where Israel's acknowledgment of low status in their relationship with Yahweh demonstrates that Israel has learned from the punishment they received and opens the way for reconciliation with Yahweh. This study also describes differences between Yahweh's view of what causes honor and shame and the view held by most human beings.
When the insights from the word study and the sociological research are applied to an analysis of the rhetorical strategy of the book of Ezekiel, it becomes clear that Yahweh and Israel blame each other for the failure of their covenant and the resulting exile. Ezekiel 36:16-32 is the place where the book intends to resolve the issue of blame by accomplishing its rhetorical goal of persuading Israelites readers to acknowledge shame in their relationship with Yahweh.
The command for Israel to acknowledge low status follows positive promises because the promises prove that Yahweh desires and will accomplish Israel's well-being and, therefore, that Israel alone is responsible for the exile. This argument is intended to create a New Israel as it persuades the Israelite readers to acknowledge shame before Yahweh. The ensuing reconciliation and restoration will raise Israel's status and Yahweh's status in the eyes of the nations, demonstrating that didactic shame is honorable shame.
Mudge, Ronald, "Honorable Shame: The Rhetorical Use of Didactic Shame Discourse in Ezekiel 36:16-32" (2012). Doctor of Philosophy Dissertation. 46.
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