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Early Career Scholars in the Theological Disciplines

Early Career Scholars in the Theological Disciplines: Old Testament Colloquium, Part 2

When: June 10, 2021, 1:45 pm - Thursday

Where: Ezell 211

Session 4

Session Abstract

The Colloquium this year is focusing on dissertation chapters from the student members. The Colloquium aims to foster interaction between current Ph.D. students and scholars affiliated with the conference. In Part 2 of the Colloquium, Ryan Replogle will present a portion of his dissertation, which focuses on cognitive perspectives of divine retribution in the Hebrew Bible. There will be three responses to Ryan’s dissertation section, followed by ample time for open discussion.


Paper Abstract

Ryan Replogle, Hebrew Union College, “The Perception of Divine Retribution in the Hebrew Bible”

This paper analyzes the belief of divine retribution in the Hebrew Bible from a cognitive-psychological lens. This belief, where divine power(s) reward the righteous and punish the wicked, was ubiquitous in the ANE. Yet, several passages from Psalms and the Wisdom Literature attest to doubt about the concept. I argue that these doubts resulted from inherent cognitive instability in how the belief would have been maintained: only ‘wickedness’ could be confirmed via the experience of calamity, whereas the absence of calamity hardly confirmed ‘righteousness.’ This imbalance thus periodically led to a breakdown in the entire schema.


Kipp Swinney, Baylor University, Convener

  • Ryan Replogle, Hebrew Union, "The Perception of Divine Retribution in the Hebrew Bible"
  • Daniel Oden, Harding University, Respondent
  • Melinda (Mindi) Thompson, Abilene Christian University, Respondent
  • Clay Smith, Baylor University, Respondent

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