본문 바로가기
  • Home

A Study on the purpose of the book of Ruth in the context of Ancient West Asian Religion

Kim Jin Myung 1

1장로회신학대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The book of Ruth has been interpreted as a short story or novella which has a political purpose: to protest the exclusionary policies of Ezra-Nehemiah(prohibition of mixed marriage), or to legitimate David's monarchy and to explain his providential ancestry. In the OT studies of Ruth, the diachronic method has been used, and the issue of ‘human being’ is always located in the center of these arguments. But Ruth has been read primarily not as a political book but as a canon of Judaism and Christianity. For this reason, this paper explores the descriptions of God in the final text of Ruth and the religious and theological meaning of these texts in the context of ancient West Asian Religion. This study uses a synchronic method(Canonical, Literary, Religious) to expound the book of Ruth. It attempts to propose a new understanding for the purpose of the writing of Ruth. The religions of the Moabites and the Canaanites were closely connected with fertility cults, and they understood that their gods(Baal-Anat, Chemosh-Ishtar Chemosh) gave them food and life. The book of Ruth, however, insists that YHWH gives food and life to the Israelites. It can be found in the verses of 1:6 and 4:13 which compose ‘inclusio’ in this book and some texts of this book directly and indirectly show YHWH as a God who gives food, life, goodness and blessing to His people(1:8, 2:4, 2:20). The fertility cults of Moab and Canaan continually influenced the Israelites from the beginning of their settlement in Canaan to the end of the kingdom of Israel. In this specific historical environment, Ruth proves that the core concepts(food, life) of paganism belong to God and describes Ruth and Naomi as positive images of faithful women in the OT. These elements of this book clearly delivered a religious message. Through this study, it can be proved that this book is written for the purpose of apologetics.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.