Memorial inscriptions from Syria-Palestine: A study in genre and theology
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Semitic languages--Religious aspects--Christianity.
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Despite a large amount of scholarly work on memorial inscriptions from Syria-Palestine, no detailed and comprehensive analysis of the genre and theology as whole has been undertaken. While the inscriptions have been individually compared and contrasted to the biblical materials, they have not been studied as a group to delineate their genre nor adequately examined to explain their theological elements. Thus, the purpose of this dissertation was to delineate the genre of the memorial inscriptions in Syro-Palestinian literature from the Iron Age and to investigate the theological elements found in those inscriptions. In order to achieve the purpose the dissertator brought together nine memorial inscriptions from Syria-Palestine in the Iron Age and analyzed them by using two distinct approaches: genre analysis and comparative method. Chapter 1 introduced the subject of the memorial inscriptions from Syria-Palestine and discussed previous studies on the matter. In addition the methodology of the following chapters of the dissertation was set forth. In order to facilitate the preparation and utilization of Chapters 3 and 4, Chapter 2 provided data concerning the discovery and description of the inscriptions, transcription, and translation of those texts in order. Chapter 3 focused on the determination of the genre of memorial inscription. The study proceeded in two distinguishing stages: the analysis stage and the synthesis stage. The analysis stage has four basic steps: determination of structure, form (in terms of typical elements found in the text), Sitz im Leben , and intention or purpose. The synthesis stage has one step: determination of genre. The four analytical steps served as the basic elements that identify genre and contribute to the determination of the genre of memorial inscriptions from Syria-Palestine. Chapter 4 investigated the theological elements of the memorial inscriptions from Syria-Palestine. For the purpose of the study some theological themes had been selected and discussed in three parts: (1) deities in the memorial inscriptions; (2) the characteristics of the deities, focusing on their various roles as described in the inscriptions; and (3) the theological characteristics of the memorial inscriptions. The study showed that the memorial inscriptions share many similar literary features such as a common tripartite structure, typical elements, and similar settings and purposes. And based on those similarities the study determined the target inscriptions utilized in the study as the memorial inscriptions. The study also showed the common theological themes found between memorial inscriptions and their theological characteristics.