Fortress Press

Creation and Emotion in the Old Testament

Creation and Emotion in the Old Testament

David A. Bosworth (Author)


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Creation conjures emotion and thereby shapes how we think and act. People fear snakes and enclosed spaces, and delight in well-watered landscapes. Language about nature evokes these emotional meanings and their consequences. We may construe nature as a mother to enhance love of creation and motivate care for our common home. Mother nature becomes a caregiving source of life rather than an inert resource. Alternatively, we may focus on the dangers or uselessness of a swamp so that we may drain it and plant crops. Creation and the ways we speak about it reflect and shape emotion and influence behavior.

Every reference to the natural word in biblical literature involves some emotional resonance. Any animal might have intruded into the paradise of Eden, but the biblical narrative gives this role to a snake. The serpent elicits ominous foreboding because snakes evoke fear and fascination. Isaiah amplifies the joy of Israel's restoration by depicting deserts transforming into fertile fields and creation itself rejoicing. Biblical authors draw on human emotional responsiveness to creation to express and elicit emotions.

David A. Bosworth analyzes how biblical texts use creation to conjure emotion. He draws on the science of emotion, including research on human emotional responsiveness to nature. Ancient texts correlate with contemporary research on how human environments shape emotion and behavior. The chapters unfold how specific emotions emerge from biblical references to aspects of creation.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506491035
  • eBook ISBN 9781506491042
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 238
  • Publication Date October 10, 2023