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Title: Reading the landscape of Ezekiel 40-48 : a theology of resilience
Author: Kuo, I-Chun
ISNI:       0000 0004 7654 5648
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2018
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The Old Testament book of Ezekiel presents (in chapters 40 to 48) a landscape restoration plan after the destruction of Jerusalem. Objects, spatial elements, units, buildings, structures and landscapes are described and measured in the 'visions of God'. The hypothesis of my study is that spatial planning plays an important role in influencing landscape structures in a way that cities are made less vulnerable and more resilient to multi-hazard threats. In order to explore new ways of conceptualising this envisioned plan, I combine the methods of landscape architecture with a study of Hebrew literature. First, the concept of a 'Pattern Language', developed by the widely influential architect and design theorist Christopher Alexander, is used to re-categorize the spatial patterns evident in Ezekiel's vision. Patterns believed to be 'archetypal', deeply rooted in the nature of things and a part of human nature, are recognised. Secondly, in order to know which patterns are more significant, and how they are arranged, textual observation is conducted by choosing two words - 'behold' and 'measure' - as the indicators of the sequence of experience in the landscape. The result displays a thematic chiasm and a parallel structure. Landscape patterns including ENCIRCLING/ROUND ABOUT STRUCTURES, FOURFOLD MEASUREMENT, SQUARED SPACES and WATER FROM UNDERNEATH, play out scenes of awe and measurement in the landscape. With regard to the historical context of the landscape of Ezekiel 40-48, this thesis explores historical landscapes in the ancient Near East, and concludes that Ezekiel 40-48 demonstrates archetypal patterns that are shared with other cultures. However, archetypal patterns based on the nature of things and human nature should not be viewed as evidence of imitation or borrowing. Moreover, it is very likely that the ancient Israelite Iron Age town planning strategies serve as the basic concept of Ezekiel 40-48. Inspired by the Hebrew literary art that naturally forms corresponding themes, my research further argues that Ezekiel 40-48 can be understood as an ancient resilient landscape plan that encompasses rigidity and ductility, and two processes: resistance and recovery. Given the ancient hazards described in Ezekiel (the sword, famine, evil creatures, and pestilence), the mechanism of landscape resilience in Ezekiel 40-48 is similar to modern time ecosystem resilience, as well as disaster risk reduction, and epidemiology/public health of war and defence policy. Ezekiel 40-48 plans a self-sufficient city that is resistant to wars with its capacity to ensure food and water security. The riparian ecosystem provides medicinal resources with a life-giving river running through the land to strengthen the ability to recover. The thesis supports Greenberg's view that Ezekiel 40-48 fulfils the divine promises of 'the covenant of wellbeing' in Ezekiel 37.24b-28. In conclusion, this thesis develops a new theological way of reading Ezekiel 40-48 which prioritizes landscape. An understanding of the ancient planning in Ezekiel 40- 48 may shed light on our reading of the text and our way of viewing the visions, as well as our planning of the environment.
Supervisor: Harris, Mark ; Ward Thompson, Catharine Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Ezekiel ; landscape plan ; Christopher Alexander ; space patterns ; encircling structures ; landscape resilience