Gestures and Social Values in Proverbs
While scholarship on nonverbal communication in the Hebrew Bible has traditionally focused on ritual dress, postures of worship, and related topics, there exist a number of non-ritual gestures in the text for which we have little understanding, such as occur in the book of Proverbs. As the premier source for moral pedagogy in the Hebrew Bible, Proverbs contains a number of gestures that, when properly interpreted, enhance an understanding of social values in ancient Israel. To aid in the process of decoding these literary features, Jones examines Ugaritic, Akkadian, Egyptian, and Sumerian texts, identifying similar gestures and anatomical idioms and how they are variously interpreted in their respective contexts. Though the particular religious and cultural systems of these neighboring entities are distinct, their ideology of social values—values imbedded in the fabric of daily life and indicative of the universally shared experience of all communities—comes to the fore through the medium of gesture.