Bible & The Arts
Biblical Commentaries
Biblical Languages
Hebrew Bible / Old Testament
History of the Biblical Period
Journals
Literature of the Bible
New Testament
Theology of the Bible
Bible Bibliographies
Bible in the Modern World
Biblical Reception
Classic Reprints
Dictionary of Classical Hebrew
Earth Bible Commentary
Hebrew Bible Monographs
Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism
New Testament Monographs
Pericope
Readings: A New Biblical Commentary
Recent Research in Biblical Studies
Text of the Hebrew Bible
The Social World of Biblical Antiquity, First Series
The Social World of Biblical Antiquity, Second Series
Click here for titles coming soon...
Click here to view the latest titles
Click here to view the complete catalogue
Search Books & Journals
About Us
For Authors
For Customers
Contact Us
Facebook





xiv + 259 pp.

£27.50 / $42.50 / €37.50
Scholar's Price

£55 / $85 / €75
List Price
Hardback






Authority and Violence in the Gideon and Abimelech Narratives
A Sociological and Literary Exploration of Judges 6–9
Linda A. Dietch

Authority and violence exhibit a close and complex relationship in the social worlds depicted in biblical narratives as well as in ancient and modern societies. The perceived legitimacy or illegitimacy of authority and violence can hinge upon a number of factors. In the stories of Gideon and Abimelech in Judges 6–9, lethal actions are depicted as justified, regrettable, or reproachful based, in part, on assumptions regarding kinship, honor, and justice. These narratives form an intriguing interlude within Judges as they directly broach, for the first time in the flow of biblical history, the ‘reality’ of dynastic kingship within Israel while telling a tale of deadly and divinely motivated reversals of power.

An interdisciplinary approach that blends social-scientific analysis driven by Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts of social field, habitus, capital, and doxa with a close narrative analysis recommends new ways of understanding the biblical characters’ motivations, skills, and social capital; the linguistic capital of the text’s creators; and the social worlds from which the narratives emerged. By examining the narrated relations of power through a sociological lens, the study discerns and describes how political and religious power is attained, preserved, transmitted, resisted, endorsed, disguised, or divinized. Building upon this basis, concentration on narrated violence suggests how the stories might be purposed to endorse, legitimate, or resist authority in the ancient context. The study concludes with a synthesis of its results and a survey of scribalism in order to recommend historical settings for the origination of the narratives. The study demonstrates how the biblical text, as a cultural product, can both knowingly and unknowingly communicate information about a society’s social relations, values, and concerns.

This is the second volume in the sub-series The Bible and Social Science.


Linda A. Dietch is an independent scholar living in Ambler, Pennsylvania.

Series: Hebrew Bible Monographs, 75
978-1-909697-82-9 hardback
Publication September 2015

Contents
1. INTRODUCTION TO THE TEXT AND RELEVANT BIBLICAL SCHOLARSHIP
   Review of Relevant Scholarship
   Distinctive Features of Judges 6–9
   Sociology and Media

2. DESCRIPTION OF INTERDISCIPLINARY METHODOLOGY
   Harnessing the Potential of Two Fields
   Fields and Power
   Language and Symbolic Power
   Legitimate Violence
   Setting the Agenda

3. FIELDS AND POWER IN THE GIDEON NARRATIVE
   Context and Crisis
   Gideon’s Legitimation
   The Midianite Defeat
   Gideon’s Rule
   The Field of Power
   Capital in Conflict
   Summary and Synthesis: Converging and Diverging Perspectives

4. FIELDS AND POWER IN THE ABIMELECH NARRATIVE
   Context and Crisis
   Abimelech’s Legitimation
   Abimelech’s Rule
   The Field of Power
   Summary and Synthesis: Converging and Diverging Perspectives

5. THE AUTHORITY OF VIOLENCE AND THE QUESTION OF ETHICS
   Terminology in Retrospect and Prospect
   The Authority of Violence in the Gideon Narrative
   The Authority of Violence in the Abimelech Narrative
   Summary and Synthesis: Converging and Diverging Perspectives

6. JUDGES 6–9 AND THE FIELD OF CULTURAL PRODUCTION
   Ideology, Doxa, and the Text
   Learning from a Modern Example of Cultural Production
   Opinions, Propaganda, and Implied Authors
   Linguistic Competency, Competition, and Real and Implied Authors
   Bridging the Gap between Implied and Real Authors