During my last week flight from Frankfurt to Chicago, I watched the movie Where do we go now? by Nadine Labaki on the plane. [You may see the official trailer in the following link:
It narrates how two groups of people, Christians and Muslims live together, side by side, in an anonymous village in a warring country. It tells the story of how the women from both groups try, with different ruses, to negotiate their differences and stop their husbands, sons and brothers from fighting against each other. Some have compared it with Aristophanes’ Lysistrata. Well, this is a movie that can make you laugh and cry at the same time. And I like the way how this movie ends, leaving the whole story and question on negotiating identity open-ended. It raises the complex yet practical question: What exactly makes us “us”? What are the things we should cherish, what are the things we could give up for the sake of a greater good?
In my opinion, this is also the main question faced by the exilic priest, Ezekiel in the Hebrew Bible. In my paper at the SBL Annual Meeting in Chicago, this year, I am going to talk about the portrayals of גוים (nations) in the book of Ezekiel. Just like the film which narrates the negotiation of identities between the Christians and the Muslims in the village, the book of Ezekiel narrates the interactions of גוים (nations) with both Israel and specific foreign powers. The two sets of interactions ultimately serve to highlight Israel’s special identity under Yahweh’s universal sovereignty.
If you are at the SBL Annual Meeting, I cordially invite you to listen to my paper:
Theological Perspectives on the Book of Ezekiel
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: W192c – McCormick PlacePaul Joyce, King’s College London, Presiding
William R. Osborne, College of the Ozarks
The “Afterlife” of the Tree Metaphor in Ezekiel 17:22-24 (25 min)
Georg Fischer SJ, Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck
Pro and contra Zion? – A Comparison of the Temple’s Role in the Books of Ezekiel and Jeremiah (25 min)
Break (5 min)
Lydia Lee, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Nations (goyim) in the book of Ezekiel: Implications on the Structure of the Book of Ezekiel (25 min)
Soo J. Kim, Claremont School of Theology
YHWH Shammah: The City as Gateway to the Presence of YHWH (25 min)
Business Meeting (25 min)
Electronic copies of the papers may be requested from Dalit Rom-Shiloni at firstname.lastname@example.org as of November 1, 2012
If I won’t see you in the SBL Annual Meeting, don’t worry, next time when we meet each other, you can always ask me to talk about this paper again 🙂
Warmest greetings from Chicago!