Vol. 17, No. 2 (2021): “’To This Day’ as Blast from the Past: Revisiting a Rhetorical Idiom in Joshua, in Conversation With Walter Benjamin” – Timothy C. McNinch, Emory University (pp. 1-20)
The rhetorical significance of the oft-studied phrase “to this day” (‘ad hayyom hazzeh) in Joshua is illuminated by considering it in conversation with Walter Benjamin’s 1940 essay, “On the Concept of History.” After a review of biblical scholarship regarding the idiom “to this day” and discussion of common understandings of time and history in biblical narrative, the paper considers four readings from Joshua, juxtaposed in epigraphic dialogue with excerpts from Walter Benjamin’s theses on history. Viewed through this lens, the idiom “to this day” in these passages brings hidden monuments of the past into co-temporal consciousness, challenges the hegemony of progressive narratives of inevitability, and asserts the now-time relevance of paradigmatic ancestors.
Etiology, history, historical materialism, progress, time