The Outsider in Our Midst : A Study of Language and Norms Concerning the “Outsider” in Persian Period Yehud
Sammanfattning: The topic for the present study concerns how values and norms are conveyed through language. I explore two texts set in the Persian period—Isaiah 56:1–8 and Nehemiah 13:1–3, 23–31—and how these texts discuss those literary figures described as not belonging to the community. The investigation is conducted through a method inspired by Pierre Bourdieu’s work in social anthropology. Bourdieu’s notions are turned into heuristic tools for literary analysis. By systematically examining the literary figures that appear in the texts—how they can be interpreted as agents, possessing different forms of capital, which situate them in various fields—the analysis consists of studying the power dynamic between the “in-group” and those on the outside. Thus, the implicit values and tacit knowledge of the agents are highlighted, which in turn means that an understanding is gained as to what affects the language used by the agents. This doxa affects the agents and their position in the fields. I interpret Deuteronomic theology—particularly in the form of Deuteronomy 23:2–9— and imperial ideology as doxic, as notions common to everyone.At the end of the investigation, the results of the analysis are discussed by critically engaging with the theoretical notion of hospitality. This discussion is included in order to situate the agents in the fields as host and guest, to examine the power dynamic further.One of the primary aims of the present study is to challenge the position among scholars that these texts contradict each other, where the former is viewed as inclusivist and the latter considered exclusivist. I arrive at a different conclusion, that Isaiah 56 and Nehemiah 13 could be read in dialogue with one another. Nehemiah 13 can be seen as an embodiment of Isaiah 56 through the character of Nehemiah as an image of utmost loyalty, similar to the sārîs and the ben-nēkār, which both emerge as tropes conveying loyalty.
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