Auf dem Weg in das Land der VerheißungDas Homo-viator-Motiv aus biblischer Sicht

Abstract / DOI

On the Road to the Promised Land. Biblical Perspectives on the «homo viator». This article investigates the «homo viator» motif in its connection to the motif of the Promise of the Land in the Old Testament, furthermore casting an eye on its consummation in the New Testament. Abraham appears as the prototype of a pilgrim. He leaves Ur in Chaldaea in order to reach the Land of Canaan, prefiguring Israel’s exodus from its Babylonian Exile. Abraham however becomes the prototype of the worshiper completing the ascent to Jerusalem, described in the Songs of Ascent (Ps 120–134), when he offers a sacrifice on a mountain in the land of Moriah. The Temple of Solomon was later to be built on the same spot. The motif central to the Pentateuch, that of the Promise of the Land, only finds its completion beyond the Pentateuch, namely in the Book of Joshua. When the Pentateuch is detached from the subsequent books of History, the Promise of the Land suddenly finds itself in an eschatological context. Within the founding myth of Israel, the Entry into the Land in turn is transferred to the yet-to-be-fulfilled future. The New Testament takes up this motif. At the end of his life, Jesus ascends to Jerusalem as did Abraham and there, on a hill, he offers himself as a sacrifice. Christian pilgrimage culture, which flourished especially from the fourth century onwards, interpreted pilgrimage to biblical sites as a kind of sacramental enactment of the biblical history of salvation.

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