Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Religious Studies, Joint Ph.D. Program in Study of Religion

First Advisor

Amy Erickson

Second Advisor

Alison Schofield

Third Advisor

Annette Stott


Divine materiality, Divine presence, Hebrew Bible, Iconoclash, Iconoclasm


Biblical iconoclasm is any biblical text that describes the disruption of religious observances by physical violence against cult materials. This can include removing cult objects from their appointed places, god-napping divine bodies, outright destruction, cult reform, etc. Biblical iconoclasm, understood this way, is one component of the Hebrew Bible’s iconic politics. Other components of biblical iconic politics – like Idol Parodies, Bildersverbot, and aniconism – have been well studied in the past thirty years. Biblical iconoclasm has not shared the popularity of its collaborators in this respect. This dissertation is necessary because no extended study of iconoclasm in the Hebrew Bible has yet been completed; even though iconoclasm is present throughout this corpus. This dissertation, about biblical iconoclasm, begins to fill that gap. The questions that will guide my work on biblical iconoclasm are: What is the literary contribution of biblical iconoclasm to the final form of the HB? Does biblical iconoclasm have a specific literary purpose in the HB? If so, what is it?

To summarize my conclusions, biblical iconoclasm appears in a wide range of biblical texts and is used for various literary purposes within the iconic politics of these scrolls. It appears in various genres and sub-genres, is enacted by a host of characters, and occurs as a major plot point or a minor event, and everywhere in-between. Yet, while there are a variety of usages for the hundred-plus biblical iconoclasms, the majority of the instances of biblical iconoclasm attack Yahweh’s divine rivals. These attacks are not all the same, and in this dissertation I explain how these attacks work within the iconic politics of a number of HB texts.

What is the overall, literary impact of biblical iconoclasm? Biblical iconoclasm is a form of iconic politics that can be used to champion Yahweh as the victorious, or supreme, deity of the HB, among other purposes. In this dissertation, then, I will provide a close-reading (i.e., synchronic criticism) of a selection of biblical iconoclasm texts to demonstrate how biblical iconoclasms are used to attack Yahweh’s divine rivals. Thus, I will demonstrate both the dominant, literary purpose of biblical iconoclasms and some of its variety. This form of presentation, I hope, will provide the reader with a meaningful sample of biblical iconoclasm as a whole.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Albert L. McClure


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

412 p.


Biblical studies, Theology, Near Eastern studies

Available for download on Tuesday, December 31, 2024