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Australian Biblical Review


ISSN 0045-0308

BOOK REVIEW  Online review only, listed in Volume 58, 2010

SANDRA HÜBENTHAL, Transformation und Aktualisierung: Zur Rezeption von Sach 9-14 im Neuen Testament (Stuttgarter Biblische Beiträge 57; Stuttgart: Katholisches Bibelwerk, 2006). Pp. 403. Paperback. €49.90.

This revised dissertation by Sandra Hübenthal, who currently works at Aachen University (RWTH), deals with the exegetical method of intertextuality; taking the textual reception of Zechariah in the New Testament as an example. In chapter 2, H. introduces the concept and provides an account of the origin of the method. She gives several discussions and definitions of the term from a literary point of view, before describing its applicability to biblical exegesis. The various forms of intertextuality in the bible are summarised under the following three headings: 1. Quotations (Zitate), which can either be taken from the MT or the LXX and may or may not be accompanied by certain textual markers; 2. Allusions (Anspielungen), which can but do not have to be very explicit; 3. Echoes, a somewhat new concept in biblical studies, and a category which is less clearly definable. As H. comments, “An echo is not a fragmented quotation, which reflects half a verse or single words of a previous text, but merely an echo, a remembrance of them” (57). In chapter 3, H. moves on to provide an introductory survey of the reception of Zech 9–14 in the NT. This is particularly illuminating, as it applies the three categories (of quotation, allusion, and echo) to the text, offering an insight into the formal aspect of the methodology.

In the second section of the book (chapters 4–9), the author examines individual passages of Zechariah 9–14 in terms of their intertextuality by a close reading of the reception of the relevant passages in the NT and OT. These analyses are structured by reviewing the scholarly exegesis and the liturgical use in the Catholic Church of these respective passages. H. also discusses further extra-biblical texts that reflect some intertextual relations to the Zechariah passages.

The first passage H. considers in chapter 4 is Zech 9:9, labelled as the “King of Peace” and its reception in Matt 21:5 and Jn 12:15. Chapter 5 concentrates on the “pierced one” from Zech 12:10 and investigates its reception in John 19:37 and Rev 1:7. Another passage from Zechariah is the “smitten shepherd and the scattered sheep” (Zech 13:7), which is investigated in chapter 6. This text provides a ripe example for the application of intertextual readings. The next chapter discusses the theme of “living water” found in Zech 14:8 (chapter 7). H. argues that the passage in Zechariah has an eschatological connotation and presents a motif that is applied into a mosaic of different associations of the day of JHWH (p. 306). It is noteworthy that Zech 14:8 draws upon different imagery from the OT. The Gospel of John and Revelation both utilise this imagery of living water, but transform and adapt it to their theological needs.

Zech 14:21 is the final passage (chapter 8) which is analyzed in light of its reception in the NT. The author concludes that the NT texts of the “cleansing of the temple” (Matt 21:12; Mark 11:15; Luke 19:45; John 2:16) include several citations of the OT, but no connections to Zech 14:21 in terms of context or motif. Thus it would be mere speculation to see an echo of Zech 14:21 in these NT passages.

By way of conclusion, H. makes a strong case for the method of intertextuality (and the concepts of transformation and actualisation) in biblical exegesis. She sees this method not as a substitute for other, more traditional approaches, such as the historical-critical method, but as a supplement to other such methods, which may inform each other when used in the right way.

Overall, H.’s study provides a well-rounded introduction to intertextual methodology and exegesis. Both the introductory and the Zechariah-specific sections of the book focus on methodology and its practical application (in this case, to Zech 9–14). Therefore, Transformation und Aktualisierung presents a valuable overview for the (German speaking) undergraduate student of biblical studies as well as a useful resource for the scholarly community.

Review by
Steffen Jöris
History Program
La Trobe University
Bundoora VIC 3086