Gary A. Anderson
Israel's Burden or Israel's Debt

As philosophers of language have long asserted, metaphors are not literary filigree but rather compose the very ground upon which we think about and act in the world. Hence, Paul Ricoeur's now famous dictum "the symbol gives rise to the thought." Apart the metaphors of sin there is no conception of sin. My lecture will trace the shift in conception that takes place in the Second Temple period. Rather than primarily imagining sin as a burden that one must carry, the most common metaphor is that of a debt that must be repaid. Evidence of this shift is present in the texts from Qumran and my lecture will chart out the implications for Qumranic thought.