30. Der Himmel im Alten Testament: Israels Weltbild und Weltanschauung
Author(s): Cornelis Houtman
Year of publication: 1993
How did Ancient Israel think of heaven? What place did it have in its view of the world? The Old Testament attests to a strikingly wide variety of concepts of heaven, and simultaneously to a very close association between heaven and earth. This study pays considerable attention to these topics and to the theme of heaven as God’s realm and residence. These are some of the conclusions drawn:
– for Ancient Israel, heaven and earth, (the principal components of the world) constituted a dynamic bipolarity, which was connected with mankind at one pole and with God at the other;
– the Old Testament has no world-concept (“Weltbild”). It does not give a unanimous answer to the questions concerning the how of the coming into existence of the cosmos and the how of its structure and order. It does, however, imply a world-view (“Weltanschauung”), i.e. it answers the question: To whom does the world owe its birth and existence?
This study offers a careful discussion of the Old Testament terms and concepts relating to heaven, and the use of the word-pair: heaven and earth. By distinguishing between ‘world-concept’ and ‘world-view’ a fruitful contribution is made to the clarification and understanding of the Old Testament concepts concerning the cosmos.