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Outrageous FortuneGloomy Reflections on Luck and Life$
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William Ian Miller

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780197530689

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197530689.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 December 2021

The Messenger

The Messenger

(p.73) 5 The Messenger
Outrageous Fortune

William Ian Miller

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a discussion of the messenger as the Ur-mediator, the go-between par excellence. He is often a double agent of sorts and cannot help but be a spy even against his will. The chapter deals with him both in his more sacred form as angels, Christ, and the prophets and in his most mundane form as a simple courier. It mostly draws on ancient Near Eastern materials with expansive reading of some biblical texts, from Ehud to messengers sent by Saul, David, and Joab. There are classical and medieval instances, as well as early modern examples. The deep issue is the importance of the ‘third party’ as he begins to emerge fully embodied from merely being an agent of a first and second party. There is an extended discussion of killing the messenger bearing evil tidings, and even not so evil tidings, and the work of intercessors between an angry Deity and sinful mankind.

Keywords:   mediation, killing the messenger, double agent, Bible, Jesus, Amarna letters, Ehud, intercession, peacemaking, spying

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