Divine Motive in the Hebrew Bible: A Comprehensive Survey and Analysis

Bibliographic information:

Thigpen, J. Michael. Divine Motive in the Hebrew Bible: A Comprehensive Survey and Analysis. Gorgias Biblical Studies 64. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias, 2015.



Although God’s motives are frequently referenced in the analysis of biblical narratives, and stated programmatically in theological treatments of the Hebrew Bible, there are no comprehensive works examining divine motive. This study fills this critical gap by studying the more than 500 passages that contain an explicit statement of divine motive. Following the methods used in the examination of motive statements in the legal materials and psalms, the study provides a comprehensive survey and analysis of all the explicit statements of divine motive across the Hebrew canon. The study explores the distribution of the various motive texts and types, and the forms of the divine motive statement. After an exploration of significant example passages, the survey concludes with an analysis of the major categories of divine motive.

The study moves from the comprehensive survey to take an in-depth look at divine motive in the books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. These two texts are chosen for concentrated treatment because together they contain 25% of the divine motive statements in the Hebrew Bible. For each book, the study analyzes the distribution of divine motive statements within the book, provides an evaluation of the various forms of motive statement, discusses the relationship between divine motive and key themes in the book, and explores key motive texts. The study concludes with a comparison and contrast of the use of divine motive statements in Jeremiah and Ezekiel in light of the comprehensive survey.


Gorgias Press (website: https://www.gorgiaspress.com/divine-motive-in-the-hebrew-bible)

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