Christian culture 基督教文化学刊

Image “Rod” in the Hebrew Bible: Literary Forms, Symbolic Function and Cultural Memory

Author: ZHANG Ruoyi, Assistant Professor, Institute of Literary Studies, Shanghai International Studies University



In the Hebrew Bible, the word “rod” possesses abundant morphologic forms, which are utilized in particular textual contexts, and show the diversity of different semantic and anthropological origins of the word. Grounded in the Masoretic text, the essay begins by offering a detailed morphologic survey of the word rod in the Hebrew Bible, with an analysis of the possible practical functions of the rod in ancient Israelite and Ancient Near East history. With this background, the essay discusses how rod became a symbol of the tribe, of justice, and of deliverance in ancient Israelite understanding, and explores the symbolic meanings of the image of the “rod” given by the Hebrew bible compilers. Finally, the relationship between “rod” and cultural memories of ancient Israelite nomad life is analysed through textual and historical analysis of the Mosaic and prophetic narratives. The conclusion is reached that the word rod in Hebrew Bible serves not only as a significant literary Leitwort, but also as the key indicator of the nomadic memories of the Israelite people.



Hebrew Bible, rod, image, cultural memories


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