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Crisis as the Way of Salvation in the Prophet Amos

Danijel Berković ; Biblijski institut, Zagreb

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 171 Kb

str. 47-64

preuzimanja: 761



The word ‘crisis’, in its primary meaning does not convey a very positive nuance. The notion fi ts better in the context of such ideas as chaos, confusion, threat or even destruction; anything but salvation! On the other hand, the etymology of the word ‘crisis’ (gk. krisis)
carries somewhat diff erent contextual nuances such as decision-making, temptation, or separation (cf. Majnarić/Gorski: 241). Th e verbal root is krinw and means to decide or divide, as well as to choose between two options.48 In that sense, crisis may be a turning
point and decision time between destruction and salvation, making it an essentially a neutral notion. Crisis is opportunity and chance, or alternatively judgment and destruction.
In the first half of the 8th cent BC in the Northern Kingdom (Israel) there was no apparent crisis. However, from the neighbouring Southern Kingdom (Judah), a prophet by the name of Amos comes with words of crisis, i.e. the word „that the LORD has spoken
against you“ (Am 3:1) Th is comes to wealthy, corrupt Samaria, capital of the Northern Kingdom, where life was far from desperate.
Th e text of the prophet Amos is the work of literary virtuoso. With distinctive literary skills, Amos vividly portrays what he fi nds in Israel during the rule of Jeroboam II (793-753) clearly apprehending the forthcoming crisis or punishment (Am 1-2). In spite of all this, the prophet points towards salvation (cf. Am 9:11). In an unusual but skilful literary presentation the prophet puts forward a salvational alternative. Th is he achieves through a number of analogies with daily life (cows, teeth, a booth). In this Amos is unique among biblical prophets, for his cynical of irony (cf. Am 4:4-5). It is through these that the prophet shows the constructive tension between hopelessness (crisis) and salvation. For example, while there is an abundance of „cows of Bashan“ (wantonness) (4:1) there
are clear omens of the days of „clean teeth“ (famine) (4:6).

Ključne riječi

crisis, cross, salvation, prophet, literary signals, stylistics, symbol

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