The Embodied Promise: How the Hebrew Covenants Correspond to the Corporal
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The book often called the Hebrew Scriptures or the Old Testament, appropriately called the Tanakh, consists of a creation poem (the "Heptameria") followed by the grand narrative of development of Israel, which itself is composed of many shorter stories. The Tanakh might be described as a sequence of five covenants (pacts or treaties) between Yahweh and human beings. Each of these covenants has a conveyer, to be distinguished from the recipients of these covenants, and the conveyers are Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Jeremiah. The recipients of each of these covenants are, respectively: all animal life, Abraham, Israel, David's dynastic successors, and the two nations of Israel and Judah. Appropriate names for each of these covenants are: The Conservation Covenant, Abraham's Covenant, The Sinai Covenant, The Davidic Covenant, and the New Covenant. Each covenant corresponds to a part of the human body. Conservation corresponds to the blood, Abraham's to the genitals, Sinai to the abdomen (stomach and womb), David's to the heart, and New to the boundaries of the body. Thus, the Tanakh is a whole with an organizing principal of covenantal correspondence to corporality. With the understanding that each covenant corresponds to the body in a particular way, we can appreciate how Israel maintained a sense of connection with their deity with a worldview of "polarization," in which there were two substances; divine substance and worldly substance. Furthermore, we can speculate that a relationship existed between the belief that humans bore the image and likeness of their deity and belief in covenant. Employing the correspondence between covenants and body parts as a hermeneutical device, we can understand how mysterious stories functioned within a grand narrative, a narrative in which Yahweh progressively adopts the Israelite body. Other than the covenant stories themselves, stories this study considers are: the story of the Nephilim, the story of Noah's cursing of Canaan, the stories the destructions of Babel and Sodom, the stories of Abraham passing off his wife as a sister, the stories of women rescuing Moses, the story of the failure of Saul, the story of Nathan's parable against David, and various episodes of Jeremiah's prophesy. We will also consider the land-tenure system of ancient Israel whereby people returned to their ancestral land during the year of Jubilee. The Sinai Covenant addresses the abdomen (stomach and womb,) and the Davidic Covenant addresses the heart. The first regards all of Israel as possessing divine sonship or adoption, and second reserves divine sonship, or adoption, to the royal descendants of David. We thus discover tension between the covenants of Sinai and David. This study interprets the New Covenant as a Hegelian synthesis between the Sinai and Davidic covenants.