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Title: When Creation Speaks with one Voice: A Study of the Role of non-human Characters in the Book of Jonah and its Implications for the Human Attitude to Nature
Authors: Abasili, Alexander #
Issue Date: 2012
Series Title: To Discern Creation in Scattering World
Conference: LEST VII location:Leuven date:28-31 October 2009
Abstract: The book of Jonah, though short, has attracted a great deal of scholarly investigations whose interest is often sustained by Jonah’s attitude, the spontaneous repentance of the Ninevites or the literary beauty of the text. This article, however, studies the book of Jonah from a different point of view and with a different set of questions. It focuses on all the non-human characters in the book like the great Storm, the great fish, the animals of Nineveh, the worm and the kikayon plant. This choice is built on our conviction that studying the book of Jonah through the prism of these non-human characters reveals something new about the book of Jonah; it allows us to appreciate the roles played by the non-human characters in the book of Jonah and the implications thereof, particularly, in the face of today’s ecological crisis. For instance: Why must animals, herds or flocks fast and wear sack cloth with the people of Nineveh? Does it suggest the beauty of the unity and coexistence of creatures? What is the significance of YHWH’s choice of a fish in salvaging Jonah and his use of a kikayon plant in shielding Jonah from the hot sun (Jonah 4:6)? What is the implication of YHWH’s reaction to Jonah’s annoyance over the repentance of the Ninevites: “Why should I not be concerned for Nineveh and its animals?” [Jonah 4:10] Why does YHWH include the animals of Nineveh in his answer? Put simply: In the face of today’s ecological crisis, what does the book of Jonah tell us?
Publication status: accepted
KU Leuven publication type: IC
Appears in Collections:Research Unit Biblical Studies
# (joint) last author

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