Jill Middlemas, «The Prophets, the Priesthood, and the Image of God (Gen 1,26-27)», Vol. 97 (2016) 321-341
This analysis considers aniconic rhetoric in Hosea, Second Isaiah, and Ezekiel, in order to assess commonality and difference with respect to prophetic and priestly perspectives of the divine image because interpreters draw on the prophetic literature in discussions of the thought of Gen 1,26-27. There is greater similarity in thought between Second Isaiah and Gen 1,26-27 as well as greater tension between Ezekiel and the first imago Dei passage than accounted for previously, and almost no commonality with Hosea. Furthermore, the prophets diversify the number and type of divine images as a means to resist idolatry.
324 JILL MIDDLEMAS
These examples suggest that the prophetic literature supports the
ideology that circulated against the creation and worship of divine im-
ages within the state cult. furthermore, the prophets were iconoclastic
with respect to cultic symbols of the God of the Old Testament and
suggested non-fixed symbols as viable alternatives. Two examples
within the prophetic literature include the menorah offered as a viable
cultic symbol in first Zechariah and the ornamental cherubim located
on the walls of the sanctuary, but no longer in the Holy of Holies, in
the final chapters of Ezekiel 12. Taken as a whole, then, the prophets
present the rationale for worship without fixed and definite forms that
either represented the divine image or were thought to project a stabi-
lized mental portrait of the deity. This attitude would lend support to
the perceived tension between conceptualizations of the divine image
in Second Isaiah and the Priestly Writer, especially since the imago
Dei passage is thought to refer to human creatures having the divine
form. This tension requires further thought.
Moshe Weinfeld has argued that the incomparability passages of
Second Isaiah alluded polemically to the concept of the imago Dei
found in Genesis 13. Subsequently, there have been debates about the
priority of the Genesis passage in 1,26-27 and about the dating of the
whole Priestly Work in relation to the prophecies of Second Isaiah 14,
as well as to whether the Priestly Work and Second Isaiah have much in
common or contradict each other, with Joachim Schaper favoring the
former 15 and Andreas Schüle the latter perspective 16. The stress on
divine incomparability and hostility towards the creation of idols and
the worship of divinities through statuary forms in Second Isaiah (esp.
chs. 40–48) promotes aniconism in thought as well as in practice 17.
MIDDLEMAS, “Divine Presence in Absence”, 192-194; and ID., The Divine
WEINfELD, Deuteronomy, 198; and ID., “God and Creator in Genesis 1 and
in the Prophecy of Second Isaiah”, Tarbiz 37 (1968) 105-132 (Hebrew).
J. BARR, “The Image of God in the Book of Genesis — A Study in Termi-
nology”, BJRL 17 (1968) 11-26; J.M. MILLER, “In the ‘Image’ and ‘Likeness’ of
God”, JBL 91 (1972) 289-304.
J. SCHAPER, “Divine Images, Iconophobia and Monotheism in Isaiah 40–
66”, Continuity and Discontinuity. Chronological and Thematic Development in
Isaiah 40–66 (eds. L.S. TIEMEyER – H. BARSTAD) (fRLANT 255; Göttingen 2014).
A. SCHüLE, “Made in the ‘Image of God’: The Concepts of Divine Images
in Gen. 1–3”, ZAW 113 (2005) 1-20.
Studies of the polemical passages concerning idols in Second Isaiah in-
clude: R.J. CLIffORD, “The function of the Idol Passages in Second Isaiah”, CBQ
42 (1980) 450-464; K. HOLTER, Second Isaiah’s Idol-Fabrication Passages (BET