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"Going Down" to Bethel: Elijah and Elisha in the Theological Geography of the Deuteronomistic History (Critical Essay)

Journal of Biblical Literature 2010, Summer, 129, 2

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The statement in 2 Kgs 2:2 that Elijah and Elisha "went down" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] wayyeredu) from Gilgal to Bethel has long puzzled interpreters. Some have assumed the passage must refer to a Gilgal in the central hills. (1) Others, recognizing the larger passage's connections with the crossing of the Jordan in Joshua 3-5, accordingly understand this to be the Gilgal in the Jordan Valley and are left simply to ignore the directional difficulty. (2) While it might be tempting to write off the directional oddity as being the result of an editorial or traditional "rough seam," the passage's extensive interest in geography as signaled by its attention to a number of specific locations--Gilgal (2 Kgs 2:1), Bethel (vv. 2-3, 23), Jericho (w. 4-5, 15, 18), the Jordan River (vv. 68, 13), Carmel (v. 25), and Samaria (v. 25)--suggests anything but a random loose end. The enumeration of these points on Elijah and Elisha's itinerary indicates, at the very least, a decisive concern for geography in this passage.

"Going Down" to Bethel: Elijah and Elisha in the Theological Geography of the Deuteronomistic History (Critical Essay)
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  • Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
  • Published: 22 June 2010
  • Publisher: Society of Biblical Literature
  • Print Length: 35 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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