Presentation: Unravel “Gog of Magog” in Seoul, South Korea

The Society of Biblical Literature International Meeting will take place in Seoul, South Korea during July 3-7, 2016. I am so excited that I will deliver a paper entitled “Gog of Magog within and beyond Ezekiel 38-39” in this conference on July 4, 2016!

 

 Photos taken from Allez Savoir! 39 (2007): 34-41, here 37, the website of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, and Joseph Moo’s  “Gog & Magog War Coincide With the Coming 4 Blood Moon”

According to the French report “George W.Bush et le Code Ezéchiel” by Jocelyn Rochat in Allez Savoir! 39 (2007): 34-41, the former US president George W. Bush justified the invasion of Iraq in 2003 by saying that “Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East.”

A Palestinian cartoonist Baha Boukhari painted a cartoon depicting the USA and UK as Yajuj and Majuj (Gog and Magog). According to the website of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, the cartoon appeared in the Arab newspaper Al-Ayyam on April 4, 2003.

One Singaporean Joseph Moo, following the footstep of Ronald Reagan and many others, published a series of slides entitled “Gog and Magog War Coincide With the Coming 4 Blood Moon” in May 2014 and claimed that Gog is Russia.

Who then is Gog? Come and discuss with me on July 4, 2016! 😉

Here is the abstract of my paper, which is also available on the SBL website:

The most extensive descriptions of Gog and Magog in the Hebrew Bible appear in Ezek 38-39. At various stages of their political career, both Reagan and Bush have linked Gog and Magog to the diplomatic and military enemies of the USA, identifying them either as the “communistic and atheistic” Russia or the “evil” Iraq (Halsell 1986, 45; Eichenwald 2012, 459). Biblical scholars, however, seek to contextualize Gog of Magog in the historical literary setting of the ancient Israelites. Galambush identifies Gog in Ezekiel as a cipher for Nebuchadnezzar the Babylonian king, who acted as Judah’s oppressor in the sixth century BCE (Galambush 2006, 259-260). More generally, Klein concludes that Gog, along with its companions, is “eine Personifikation aller Feinde, die Israel im Buch Ezechiel gegenüberstehen” (Klein 2008, 131). Despite their differences in detail, these scholars, like Reagan and Bush, still work under a mindset of animosity, considering only the features of Judah’s enemies incorporated into the characteristics of Gog. This paper argues that Gog and his entourage display literary attributes previously assigned to not only Judah’s enemies, but also Judah’s political allies, especially Egypt. Internal evidence suggests that the Gog oracles are a much later insertion into the book of Ezekiel (Tooman 2011, 72-83). Therefore, Ezek 38-39 apparently draws from omnifarious biblical elements and themes, so that all foreign historical nations, whether friends or foes, are all combined and transformed into a metahistorical symbol of chaos or evil, standing in opposition to YHWH and the restored Israel in the eschatological era. Brief remarks will also be made as to how the literary process within Ezek 38-39 that relegates all foreign elements to one eschatological symbol of evil is mirrored in the Septuagint (Num 24:7; Deut 3:1, 13; 4:47; Esth 3:1; 9:24) and continues to evolve in early Jewish and Christian traditions.

The paper will be presented in the Prophets Section. Here are the details:

Prophets
7/04/2016
2:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: B104 – Theology Hall (Yonsei)Chwi-Woon Kim, Baylor University
The Negative Attitude toward Abraham and Israel (Isa 63:16) in light of the Literary Development of the Prayer in 63:7–64:11 (20 min)
Discussion (3 min)
Sehee Kim, Boston University
Parallels in Concept and Plot between Ezekiel 16 and Unfaithfulness (Sumerian Myth) (20 min)
Discussion (3 min)
Lydia Lee, North-West University (South Africa)
Gog of Magog within and beyond Ezekiel 38–39 (20 min)
Discussion (3 min)
Kristin Weingart, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
My Father, My Father! Chariot of Israel and Its Horsemen!? (2 Kgs 2:12; 13:14): Elisha’s or Elijah’s Title? (20 min)
I look foward to meeting you all there! 😀

 

News: This Westerner Impresses Asians Like Me!

Speaking of an “entangled culture,” please allow me to cite one modern example.

Since July 2014, I have been an avid watcher of one South Korean talkshow called “Abnormal Summit.” In the show, 3 Korean MCs and 12 non-Koreans (G-12) gather together to discuss various serious (and not-so-serious) social issues from their own cultural perspectives. The non-Korean representatives come from Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Nepal, and the USA. Amazingly, they can all speak Korean! I really like this show, because the MCs seem to possess very high EQ, such that they manage to create many funny jokes and situations to alleviate some of the tensions arising from the most serious discussions about various cultural similarities and differences! 😀

Apparently, the show has successfully caught the international attention. A few months ago, the interviews with the German representative – Daniel Lindemann were published by several newspapers in his home country. A few lines from Lindemann stand out:

Ich sagte am Ende einer Sendung: “Manche Koreaner denken, dass Hitler ein starker Führer gewesen ist. Ich fände es aber gut, wenn solche Kommentare nicht mehr fallen würden. Weil er aus deutscher perspektive der schrecklichste Mensch gewesen ist, den man sich vorstellen kann.”

According to the news report, the Koreans were really impressed by what he had said:

Die Koreaner waren total beeinduckt davon, dass ein Deutscher sagt, sein land hat was falsch gemacht. Da habe ich gemerkt: Unsere Sendung ist bedeutsam.

Wow! nothing enthuses me more than seeing people overcome their national bigotry and bravely confront their own flaws. This is the kind of people I wish to learn from and emulate ~~

References:

Zeit Online‘s interview with Lindemann can be found here. This is where the above quotes are taken from.

The more detailed FAZ‘s interview with Lindemann can be found here. From what I gathered, he has an Israeli father and a German mother, but then he has grown up only with his mother.

If you are interested in an English introduction to the talkshow, here is a helpful blog written by an American fan of the show. The picture below is taken from the cover page of this blog.

Nope, I don’t understand Korean. But I watch the episodes with Chinese subtitles 😉

abnormal-summit

The “G-12” in the “Abnormal Summit.” D. Lindemann is the second in the bottom row (counting from left to right)