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Sources and Authors: Assumptions in the Study of Hebrew Bible Narrative


The foundational period of Hebrew Bible scholarship promulgated the assumption that the original “authors” were incapable of the sophisticated literary technique displayed in that work. Complexity was ascribed to a later stage. Yet in that later stage the supposedly more sophisticated redactors were unable to see blatant contradictions and redundancies. This work investigates Genesis, Judges, Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles looking at how the message conveyed has been misunderstood through assumptions about the capacities and intentions of original writers. It shows how retaining the assumptions about the inability of early writers inevitably leads to conclusions of a late provenance.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-0034-3
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: May 20,2011
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 391
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0034-3
$206.00
$123.60

Study of the Hebrew Bible has tended to bifurcate into a historical approach which seeks for the various sources out of which the text was composed and a literary approach which concentrates on the literary and structuring devices which hold the text together and assist in conveying its message. Why are there two approaches – one of which emphasizes the diversity of the text and another which recognizes its unity? A foundational period of scholarship came with the assumptions that the original "authors" would have been incapable of sophisticated literary technique; sophistication could only come later.

This conclusion was reinforced by claims that the "bits put together" were redundant and/or contradictory. As scholarship has come to recognize the complexity of the narrative, that complexity has been ascribed to a later stage. Yet this later stage that is capable of providing sophistication and complexity is also regarded as being unable to see blatant contradictions. This work investigates Genesis, Judges, the books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles, looking at the way the message is conveyed and how that has been misunderstood through assumptions about the capacities and intentions of original writers. It shows how retention of the original premise of the inability of early writers to be sophisticated, and the more recent recognition of the sophistication of the text, must inevitably lead to theories of the late origin of the text.

Study of the Hebrew Bible has tended to bifurcate into a historical approach which seeks for the various sources out of which the text was composed and a literary approach which concentrates on the literary and structuring devices which hold the text together and assist in conveying its message. Why are there two approaches – one of which emphasizes the diversity of the text and another which recognizes its unity? A foundational period of scholarship came with the assumptions that the original "authors" would have been incapable of sophisticated literary technique; sophistication could only come later.

This conclusion was reinforced by claims that the "bits put together" were redundant and/or contradictory. As scholarship has come to recognize the complexity of the narrative, that complexity has been ascribed to a later stage. Yet this later stage that is capable of providing sophistication and complexity is also regarded as being unable to see blatant contradictions. This work investigates Genesis, Judges, the books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles, looking at the way the message is conveyed and how that has been misunderstood through assumptions about the capacities and intentions of original writers. It shows how retention of the original premise of the inability of early writers to be sophisticated, and the more recent recognition of the sophistication of the text, must inevitably lead to theories of the late origin of the text.

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Contributor Biography

Noel Weeks

Noel K. Weeks is an Honorary Associate of the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Sydney and the Department of Ancient History at Macquarie University, following a career of teaching Ancient History and Akkadian at the University of Sydney. He holds degrees in science from the University of New England, theology from Westminster Theological Seminary and ancient history and languages from Brandeis University. His research concentrates on ancient Mesopotamia and Israel.

  • Cover Page (page 1)
  • Table of Contents (page 5)
  • Acknowledgements (page 9)
  • Abbreviations (page 11)
  • 1 Introduction (page 13)
    • Older Versus More Recent Criticism (page 13)
    • The Wider Issues (page 15)
    • The Methodology of Literary Criticism (page 16)
    • The Methodology of This Work (page 18)
    • Reading Texts and Writing History (page 21)
    • The Process of Composition (page 24)
  • 2 Genesis (page 31)
    • Doublets in the Patriarchal Narratives (page 32)
    • The Purpose of Repetition (page 34)
    • The Genealogies (page 38)
    • Alternate Explanations (page 40)
    • The Joseph Story (page 42)
    • Accretion Models (page 44)
    • The Primeval History (page 47)
    • The Creation Accounts (page 50)
    • The Divine Names (page 55)
    • Promise and Divine Name (page 59)
    • Text Divisions in Genesis 2…3 (page 62)
    • The Flood Narrative (page 65)
    • The Sons of God (Genesis 6:1…4) (page 76)
    • Varieties of Repetition (page 79)
    • Small Additions (page 82)
    • The Crucial Assumptions (page 83)
  • 3 Judges (page 85)
    • Judges and Sources (page 85)
    • The Introductions (page 88)
    • The Individual Judges (page 93)
      • Othniel (page 93)
      • Ehud (page 94)
      • Shamgar (page 96)
      • Barak (page 97)
      • Gideon (page 101)
      • Abimelech (page 106)
      • Minor Judges and the Meaning of JudgeŽ (page 110)
      • Jephthah (page 113)
      • Samson (page 116)
    • Connections Between Stories (page 118)
    • The Last Two Stories (page 120)
    • The Pro-MonarchyŽ Refrain (page 122)
  • 4 Samuel (page 125)
    • Initial Orientation (page 125)
    • Contrasts (page 126)
    • David and Uriah (page 132)
      • Rosts Thesis (page 133)
    • Character and Leadership (page 137)
    • Circularity of Argument (page 142)
    • The Samuel Narrative (page 143)
    • The Ark NarrativeŽ (page 149)
    • The Rise of Monarchy (page 158)
    • Phenomena to be Explained (page 159)
    • Things That Come in Threes (page 160)
    • Internal and External Factors in the Demand for a King (page 163)
    • Pro- and Anti-Monarchy Bias Re-Examined (page 167)
    • The Ambiguity of the Philistine Threat (page 169)
    • Complexity of Intention and Complexity of Situation (page 173)
    • Samuels Commission and Samuels Delay (page 174)
    • Intentions (page 178)
    • David, Saul and Goliath (page 180)
    • Presuppositions (page 192)
  • 5 History and Historiography (page 195)
    • Limitations (page 195)
    • The Naïve World (page 198)
    • Theories of Change (page 201)
    • Political and Religious (page 209)
    • Other Figures, Other Theories (page 211)
    • Testing the Theory (page 217)
    • Primacy of Politics (page 220)
    • Harmonisation (page 221)
  • 6 Kings and Chronicles (page 223)
    • Kings Source Citations (page 227)
    • Chronicles Source Citations (page 230)
    • A Possible Thesis (page 238)
    • Some Implications (page 240)
    • Differences Between Kings and Chronicles (page 242)
    • The Case Against Chronicles (page 244)
    • The Chroniclers Perspective (page 252)
    • Speeches of Chronicles (page 254)
    • The Emphasis of Chronicles (page 257)
    • David in Chronicles (page 274)
    • Solomon in Chronicles (page 278)
    • Rehoboam in Chronicles (page 279)
    • Abijah in Chronicles (page 282)
    • Asa in Chronicles (page 289)
    • Jehoshaphat in Chronicles (page 291)
    • Jehoram in Chronicles (page 300)
    • Ahaz in Chronicles (page 301)
    • Hezekiah in Chronicles (page 302)
    • Manasseh in Chronicles (page 302)
    • Josiah in Chronicles (page 303)
    • Concluding Thoughts on the Chronicler and his Sources (page 308)
    • The Sources of Kings (page 310)
    • Noths Deuteronomistic History (page 312)
    • The Formulae of Kings (page 322)
    • The Redactions of Kings (page 326)
    • The Coherence of the Text (page 333)
    • A Model for The Composition of Kings (page 337)
  • 7 Historiography and History (page 341)
    • Two Stage Theories (page 342)
    • Greece as Context (page 347)
    • Archaeology as Gap Filler (page 349)
    • Political Sociology as Gap Filler (page 350)
    • History-likeŽ Fiction (page 355)
    • Structuralism (page 356)
    • The Ancient Text and Us (page 357)
  • Bibliography (page 359)
  • Index of Scripture Passages (page 385)
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