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Tryggve Mettinger

Tryggve Mettinger (born 1940 in Helsingborg)[1] is a retired professor of Hebrew Bible, at Lund University, Sweden, where he taught from 1978 to 2003.[2]

Life and workEdit

Between 1960 and 1978, Mettinger studied various theological and philological subjects such as Semitics, Egyptology and Assyriology, as well as Comparative Literature, at the Universities of Lund and Copenhagen, after which he earned his doctorate in 1971, worked as docent (Reader) of Old Testament exegesis and subsequently was appointed professor at Lund University, a capacity in which he served until his retirement in 2003.[1] He has had visiting professor positions in the U.S., Israel, the Netherlands, and South Africa.[2] He was awarded the Thuréus prize (humanities) 2008 by the Kungl. Vetenskaps-Societeten in Uppsala.[2] Between 1978 and 2003, he was one of the editors of the monograph series Coniectanea Biblica, Old Testament Series. Mettinger served as an expert consultant for the official Swedish Bible translation committee, whose work led to the creation of the Bibel 2000 translation.[3] He is a member of various learned societies, such as the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, Stockholm[4] and the (British) Society for Old Testament Study (honorary member).[1] He has also been a guest lecturer at many universities and delivered papers at many conferences devoted to Old Testament study, Assyriology and Comparative Religion. He has described his epistemological attitude towards studying religious texts using the following words: "I try to draw a line [of demarcation] between what I believe I know as a scholar and what I know I believe as a Christian."[5]

In 2011, the Festschrift Enigmas and Images was published in his honor. [6] That volume also includes an almost complete bibliography of Mettinger's publications up to that point. Previously, another Festschrift dedicated to him was also published as a volume of Svensk Exegetisk Årsbok.[7] In 2015, a volume collecting a number of his scholarly essays was published by Eisenbrauns under the title Reports from a Scholar's Life; the book also includes an English language version of Mettinger's farewell lecture when leaving his professorship at Lund University (a lecture that has given the book its title) — summarizing much of his scholarly career.[8] The lecture can also be read online.[9]

Central points of scholarshipEdit

Among the central points of his scholarly work have been such subjects as Israelite aniconic cult (cult without images), put in the context of a wider study of Ancient Near Eastern religion (the monograph No Graven Image?, in which he argued that the official Jerusalem cult was indeed aniconic in nature), Israelite notions of divinity as reflected in various divine names (In Search of God, subsequently translated into many languages), the state officialdom of the Solomonic era (his doctoral dissertation, Solomonic State Officials), and the question of "Dying and rising gods" in the Ancient Near East (in the book "The Riddle of Resurrection'', in which he defended the concept that there were, indeed, prevalent images of divine beings believed to die and return to life again). Another of his studies is The Dethronement of Sabaoth, which deals with the theologies of the Babylonian Exile, as opposed and related to that of the monarchical era - the Babylonian exile creating a cognitive dissonance in the theological traditions connected with the presence of YHWH in the Jerusalem temple, which, according to Mettinger, led to the rise of theologies focused on YHWH's "name" or "glory".[10] His monograph A Farewell to the Servant Songs criticized the notion of a separate collection of "Servant Songs" in the text of Deutero-Isaiah. Mettinger has worked extensively with extra-biblical material from the Ancient Near East (e.g. Ugaritic, Akkadian). The latter is evident in his study of the Eden narrative (2007), which includes not only comparisons with the Akkadian Adapa and Gilgamesh stories but also uses narratological and literary methods. He has also published Swedish language studies on the biblical creation stories in relation to modern astrophysics (2011) as well as an exposition on the love poetry of Song of Songs (2016), the latter of which uses literary perspectives to elucidate the import of the biblical book. Mettinger has often applied cultural/literary and religio-historical comparison with various Ancient Near Eastern cultures in his exegetical work, as well as perspectives from iconography and archaeology.[1]


  • Solomonic State Officials. A Study of the Civil Government Officials of the Israelite Monarchy (1971)
  • King and Messiah. The Civil and Sacral Legitimation of the Israelite Kings(1976)
  • The Dethronement of Sabaoth: Studies in the Shem and Kabod Theologies by Tryggve Mettinger (1982)
  • A Farewell to the Servant Songs. A Critical Examination of an Exegetical Axiom (1983)
  • Eva och revbenet. Sex uppsatser om Gamla Testamentet
  • No Graven Image? Israelite Aniconism in Its Ancient Near Eastern Context (1995)
  • The riddle of resurrection by Tryggve N. D. Mettinger (2001) ISBN 9122019456
  • In Search of God: The Meaning and Message of the Everlasting Names by Tryggve Mettinger, translated by Frederick H. Cryer (Jul 15, 2005) ISBN 0800637402
  • The Eden Narrative: A literary and religio-historical study of Genesis 2-3, Winona Lake, IN (2007)
  • I begynnelsen. Hur skall vi förstå Bibelns tre första kapitel? Aspekter från astrofysik och exegetik(2011)
  • Reports from a Scholar’s Life. Select Papers on the Hebrew Bible. Edited by Andrew Knapp (2015; collected essays).
  • Sångernas Sång. En mästares dikt om kärleken (2016)

Festschrift: Göran Eidevall and Blazenka Scheuer (ed.), Enigmas and Images. Studies in Honor of Tryggve N.D. Mettinger (2011)

External link: Mettinger's website -


External linksEdit