In the new Hermeneia volume, the Jonah translation and commentary, renowned biblical scholar Susan Niditch encourages the reader to investigate challenging questions about ancient conceptions of personal religious identity.
Jonah's story is treated as a complex reflection upon the heavy matters of life and death, good and evil, and human and divine relations. The narrative probes an individual's relationship with a demanding deity, considers vexing cultural issues of "us versus them," and examines the role of Israel's god in a universal and international context. The author examines the ways in which Jonah prods readers to contemplate these fundamental issues concerning group- and self-definition.
In her technical study of Jonah's language, style, structure, content, and context, Niditch examines the text through the comparative lens of international folklore. The thread of appropriations of Jonah by post-biblical writers and artists is explored, and special attention is paid to rabbinic midrash, medieval Jewish manuscript illuminations, and Christian art of late antiquity. And in the tradition of Hermeneia volumes, the commentary evaluates and incorporates the insights of a long legacy of scholars who have explored this venerable text from varied perspectives.