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Interpreting the Text: Essays on the Old Testament, its Reception and its Study

Published: Apr 2015
£60.00
Roger Tomes (1928 —2011) was a well-known British scholar of the Old Testament, wide-ranging in his interests and meticulous in his scholarship. He was particularly productive after his retirement from his post at Northern College, Manchester, an interdenominational college for ministry training and theological study, and remained an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Manchester. He excelled in the conference paper or journal article form, but made no collection of his papers in his lifetime. Two of his Manchester colleagues have here made a selection from both his published essays and his unpublished papers, many of them delivered in the last few years to the Ehrhardt Seminar for biblical research in Manchester. Tomes was always concerned with the relevance of the Bible to the life of the Church, and the earliest essay in the volume, from 1969, is a contribution to the theology of the Old Testament. Others deal with the reception of biblical criticism in theological education in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. One of Tomes's abiding concerns was with Jewish —Christian relations; his interests in Jewish interpretation are reflected here in a study of the rabbinic use of the book of Jeremiah, and an essay on the Jewish American poet Emma Lazarus. He was working on the reception history of the story of David at the time of his death, and the fruits of that study are included in the form of two fascinating essays. Besides all this, the book covers a range of topics in the study of the Old Testament, including the deutero-canonical writings, its law and historical writings in particular.
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Interpreting the Text: Essays on the Old Testament, its Reception and its Study

£60.00
Roger Tomes (1928 —2011) was a well-known British scholar of the Old Testament, wide-ranging in his interests and meticulous in his scholarship. He was particularly productive after his retirement from his post at Northern College, Manchester, an interdenominational college for ministry training and theological study, and remained an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Manchester. He excelled in the conference paper or journal article form, but made no collection of his papers in his lifetime. Two of his Manchester colleagues have here made a selection from both his published essays and his unpublished papers, many of them delivered in the last few years to the Ehrhardt Seminar for biblical research in Manchester. Tomes was always concerned with the relevance of the Bible to the life of the Church, and the earliest essay in the volume, from 1969, is a contribution to the theology of the Old Testament. Others deal with the reception of biblical criticism in theological education in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. One of Tomes's abiding concerns was with Jewish —Christian relations; his interests in Jewish interpretation are reflected here in a study of the rabbinic use of the book of Jeremiah, and an essay on the Jewish American poet Emma Lazarus. He was working on the reception history of the story of David at the time of his death, and the fruits of that study are included in the form of two fascinating essays. Besides all this, the book covers a range of topics in the study of the Old Testament, including the deutero-canonical writings, its law and historical writings in particular.
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The Necessary King: A Postcolonial Reading of the Deuteronomistic Portrait of the Monarchy

Published: Sep 2013
£80.00
The Necessary King explains why Israel needed a king according to the Deuteronomistic History, and why its exilic readers can expect no future except under Davidic rule. Given Israel's tendency to rebellion against its divine suzerain, the king is the necessary agent of God's colonization of Israel, making and keeping it a loyal subject. The Deuteronomistic History with its pro-Davidic narrative has three prongs, each of which relies on an imitation of the imperial ideology of Judah's colonial masters. First, Dtr imitates the discourse of Neo-Assyrian treaties and Mesopotamian royal inscriptions, replacing the imperial suzerain with God. Second, having established this client —suzerain relationship in Deuteronomy, Dtr then goes on to imitate imperial portrayals of the disloyal and wicked foreign enemies whom the Mesopotamian king colonizes. Israel is a foreign enemy in God's eyes, repetitively proving their disloyalty to their divine suzerain and so demonstrating the need for an Israelite king who will colonize them —for their own good. Third, Dtr imitates the ideology of the Mesopotamian powers in its portrayal of the monarchy. Dtr presents the Davidides' relation to Judah/Israel just as the Mesopotamian colonial powers present their kings' relation to the foreign peoples they have conquered: their colonial rule is necessary, and actually benefits the peoples whom they colonize. Disqualifying prophets, priests, and judges as potential leaders of Israel, and presenting the people as far too sinful to live without leadership, the Deuteronomistic History portrays the Davidic monarchy as a necessity.
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The Necessary King: A Postcolonial Reading of the Deuteronomistic Portrait of the Monarchy

£80.00
The Necessary King explains why Israel needed a king according to the Deuteronomistic History, and why its exilic readers can expect no future except under Davidic rule. Given Israel's tendency to rebellion against its divine suzerain, the king is the necessary agent of God's colonization of Israel, making and keeping it a loyal subject. The Deuteronomistic History with its pro-Davidic narrative has three prongs, each of which relies on an imitation of the imperial ideology of Judah's colonial masters. First, Dtr imitates the discourse of Neo-Assyrian treaties and Mesopotamian royal inscriptions, replacing the imperial suzerain with God. Second, having established this client —suzerain relationship in Deuteronomy, Dtr then goes on to imitate imperial portrayals of the disloyal and wicked foreign enemies whom the Mesopotamian king colonizes. Israel is a foreign enemy in God's eyes, repetitively proving their disloyalty to their divine suzerain and so demonstrating the need for an Israelite king who will colonize them —for their own good. Third, Dtr imitates the ideology of the Mesopotamian powers in its portrayal of the monarchy. Dtr presents the Davidides' relation to Judah/Israel just as the Mesopotamian colonial powers present their kings' relation to the foreign peoples they have conquered: their colonial rule is necessary, and actually benefits the peoples whom they colonize. Disqualifying prophets, priests, and judges as potential leaders of Israel, and presenting the people as far too sinful to live without leadership, the Deuteronomistic History portrays the Davidic monarchy as a necessity.
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Jonathan Loved David: Manly Love in the Bible and the Hermeneutics of Sex

Published: Mar 2011
£60.00
The relationship between the Hebrew heroes David and Jonathan has caught the attention of popular and scholarly writers alike. Yet there is little agreement about the nature of this relationship that speaks of a love between two men that 'surpasses the love of a man for a woman' (2 Sam. 1.26). Weighing the arguments of scholars including Nissinen, Stone and Zehnder, Heacock produces a meta-critical analysis of the many interpretations of the relationship between David and Jonathan, identifying three dominant readings: the traditional political-theological interpretation, the homoerotic interpretation, and the homosocial interpretation. After outlining the three interpretive approaches, Heacock considers the evidence cited to support each: namely, themes in the David and Jonathan narrative and related biblical texts, ancient political treaties, laws pertaining to homogenital behaviour in the ancient Mediterranean world, and the heroic tales of the Gilgamesh Epic and Homer's Iliad. By applying recent epistemological shifts in knowledge as developed in the interdisciplinary fields of sexuality studies, queer studies and ancient studies, Heacock emphasizes the inescapability of the modern reader's cultural context when reading the narrative, particularly the influence of modern discourses of sexuality. Rather than suggest an alternative historical reading, Heacock turns the debate on its head by abandoning claims to historical veracity and embracing the input of the contemporary queer reader. Using queer theory and reader-response criticism, he offers a reading of the relationship between David and Jonathan through the lens of contemporary gay male friendships. This queer reading not only celebrates manly love in its numerous forms, but also adds a self-critical voice to the discussion that exposes the heteronormative assumptions underlying the questions often asked of the narrative.
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Jonathan Loved David: Manly Love in the Bible and the Hermeneutics of Sex

£60.00
The relationship between the Hebrew heroes David and Jonathan has caught the attention of popular and scholarly writers alike. Yet there is little agreement about the nature of this relationship that speaks of a love between two men that 'surpasses the love of a man for a woman' (2 Sam. 1.26). Weighing the arguments of scholars including Nissinen, Stone and Zehnder, Heacock produces a meta-critical analysis of the many interpretations of the relationship between David and Jonathan, identifying three dominant readings: the traditional political-theological interpretation, the homoerotic interpretation, and the homosocial interpretation. After outlining the three interpretive approaches, Heacock considers the evidence cited to support each: namely, themes in the David and Jonathan narrative and related biblical texts, ancient political treaties, laws pertaining to homogenital behaviour in the ancient Mediterranean world, and the heroic tales of the Gilgamesh Epic and Homer's Iliad. By applying recent epistemological shifts in knowledge as developed in the interdisciplinary fields of sexuality studies, queer studies and ancient studies, Heacock emphasizes the inescapability of the modern reader's cultural context when reading the narrative, particularly the influence of modern discourses of sexuality. Rather than suggest an alternative historical reading, Heacock turns the debate on its head by abandoning claims to historical veracity and embracing the input of the contemporary queer reader. Using queer theory and reader-response criticism, he offers a reading of the relationship between David and Jonathan through the lens of contemporary gay male friendships. This queer reading not only celebrates manly love in its numerous forms, but also adds a self-critical voice to the discussion that exposes the heteronormative assumptions underlying the questions often asked of the narrative.
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The Demise of the Warlord: A New Look at the David Story

Published: Oct 2010
£50.00
The novelty of this monograph on David and Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11 —12) lies in its placing the narrative in the context of the behaviour of nomadic warlords and Amorite tribal chieftains as reflected in several Akkadian texts from Mari and Mesopotamia. The biblical story is interpreted in the light of an Akkadian literary topos depicting the ideal warlike existence of a Bedouin tribal chieftain. According to this topos, David's dallying with women, and eating, drinking and living in the shade rather than leading armies into military exploits would be considered unworthy of a warlord and disparaging to his reputation. Another new feature in this book is the explanation of the treatment that King David inflicted on Uriah the Hittite, a 'resident alien' according to the rabbis, in the light of the outrage that a high official of a Pharaoh committed upon a resident-alien in El-Amarna times. There seems to have existed a non-written ancient Near Eastern law about the obligation of protecting and not harming resident aliens. As evidenced by the El-Amarna letter 162, disregard for this law entailed a death sentence on the perpetrator of such an outrage. In 2 Samuel 11 —12 the outrage done to the resident alien is expressed through the literary motif of the abduction of the beautiful wife in the context of oppression and threat exercised by the powerful over the weak and the helpless.
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The Demise of the Warlord: A New Look at the David Story

£50.00
The novelty of this monograph on David and Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11 —12) lies in its placing the narrative in the context of the behaviour of nomadic warlords and Amorite tribal chieftains as reflected in several Akkadian texts from Mari and Mesopotamia. The biblical story is interpreted in the light of an Akkadian literary topos depicting the ideal warlike existence of a Bedouin tribal chieftain. According to this topos, David's dallying with women, and eating, drinking and living in the shade rather than leading armies into military exploits would be considered unworthy of a warlord and disparaging to his reputation. Another new feature in this book is the explanation of the treatment that King David inflicted on Uriah the Hittite, a 'resident alien' according to the rabbis, in the light of the outrage that a high official of a Pharaoh committed upon a resident-alien in El-Amarna times. There seems to have existed a non-written ancient Near Eastern law about the obligation of protecting and not harming resident aliens. As evidenced by the El-Amarna letter 162, disregard for this law entailed a death sentence on the perpetrator of such an outrage. In 2 Samuel 11 —12 the outrage done to the resident alien is expressed through the literary motif of the abduction of the beautiful wife in the context of oppression and threat exercised by the powerful over the weak and the helpless.
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Love, Lust, and Lunacy: The Stories of Saul and David in Music

Published: Oct 2010
£65.00
This is Leneman's second foray into the interdisciplinary study of the Bible and music, following her The Performed Bible: The Story of Ruth in Opera and Oratorio (2007). In Love, Lust, and Lunacy she shows how these themes have captured the imagination of librettists and composers of many eras to set the narratives of the books of Samuel to music. Leneman convincingly illustrates music's ability to suggest emotions and character traits that can only be read between the lines of a text, through an in-depth discussion of 16 operas and oratorios from the eighteenth to the late twentieth century —including works of Handel, Nielsen, Parry, Honegger, Milhaud and lesser-known composers. The musical analyses can be understood on different levels by both specialists and non-specialists, providing a new perspective for biblical scholars along with a new appreciation of the biblical texts for musicians and music lovers. Librettists and composers working with the Saul and David stories were alert to the complexity and ambivalence of the biblical portraits, and filled in the blanks left by the biblical writer in stirring and compelling ways. Their gap-filling may sometimes contradict traditional versions or interpretations of the biblical text, but their musical creativity often makes the words and actions of the biblical characters more convincing and compelling. In the musical works reviewed here there are portrayed three-dimensional figures —not only David and Saul, but also Samuel, Michal, Bathsheba, the Woman of Endor and others, personages barely glimpsed between the lines of the biblical text but imagined in different ways by readers in every generation.
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Love, Lust, and Lunacy: The Stories of Saul and David in Music

£65.00
This is Leneman's second foray into the interdisciplinary study of the Bible and music, following her The Performed Bible: The Story of Ruth in Opera and Oratorio (2007). In Love, Lust, and Lunacy she shows how these themes have captured the imagination of librettists and composers of many eras to set the narratives of the books of Samuel to music. Leneman convincingly illustrates music's ability to suggest emotions and character traits that can only be read between the lines of a text, through an in-depth discussion of 16 operas and oratorios from the eighteenth to the late twentieth century —including works of Handel, Nielsen, Parry, Honegger, Milhaud and lesser-known composers. The musical analyses can be understood on different levels by both specialists and non-specialists, providing a new perspective for biblical scholars along with a new appreciation of the biblical texts for musicians and music lovers. Librettists and composers working with the Saul and David stories were alert to the complexity and ambivalence of the biblical portraits, and filled in the blanks left by the biblical writer in stirring and compelling ways. Their gap-filling may sometimes contradict traditional versions or interpretations of the biblical text, but their musical creativity often makes the words and actions of the biblical characters more convincing and compelling. In the musical works reviewed here there are portrayed three-dimensional figures —not only David and Saul, but also Samuel, Michal, Bathsheba, the Woman of Endor and others, personages barely glimpsed between the lines of the biblical text but imagined in different ways by readers in every generation.
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Five Stones and a Sling: Memoirs of a Biblical Scholar

Published: Oct 2009
£14.95
Michael Goulder is a scholar who has always taken an original approach to the Bible and biblical criticism. He has developed five major theories, which challenged received opinion among the learned; and the book tells the story of how these 'stones' fared when confronting the biblical establishment. He wryly admits that his slinging has been rather less successful than David's against Goliath. Among his five theories a special place must be given to his demonstration of how much of the teaching ascribed to Jesus actually derived from the evangelists —the Lord's Prayer for example being composed by Matthew out of Jesus' prayers in Gethsemane. The parables too are the composition of the evangelists, Matthew characteristically writing of kings and rich merchants, while Luke speaks of women, stewards, a beggar and a Samaritan. A long-rooted error Michael Goulder has valiantly opposed has been the belief that Matthew and Luke were both dependent on a lost source, Q; in fact, he argues, Luke was familiar with Matthew's Gospel and copied or developed its teaching as he thought best. Goulder has worked at the Old Testament as well as the New. He concludes that the Psalms were not the individual prayers of pious Israelites, as Gunkel and others supposed, but the compositions of kings or their poets, deploring national disasters and praying for blessing at the great autumn festival. This account of Goulder's scholarly work is fascinatingly interwoven with that of his life and ministry; and there are many anecdotes and vignettes of other people that are both amusing and interesting. He was ordained a priest in the Anglican Church, and though he resigned his Orders in 1981, he never lost his love of the Bible.
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Five Stones and a Sling: Memoirs of a Biblical Scholar

£14.95
Michael Goulder is a scholar who has always taken an original approach to the Bible and biblical criticism. He has developed five major theories, which challenged received opinion among the learned; and the book tells the story of how these 'stones' fared when confronting the biblical establishment. He wryly admits that his slinging has been rather less successful than David's against Goliath. Among his five theories a special place must be given to his demonstration of how much of the teaching ascribed to Jesus actually derived from the evangelists —the Lord's Prayer for example being composed by Matthew out of Jesus' prayers in Gethsemane. The parables too are the composition of the evangelists, Matthew characteristically writing of kings and rich merchants, while Luke speaks of women, stewards, a beggar and a Samaritan. A long-rooted error Michael Goulder has valiantly opposed has been the belief that Matthew and Luke were both dependent on a lost source, Q; in fact, he argues, Luke was familiar with Matthew's Gospel and copied or developed its teaching as he thought best. Goulder has worked at the Old Testament as well as the New. He concludes that the Psalms were not the individual prayers of pious Israelites, as Gunkel and others supposed, but the compositions of kings or their poets, deploring national disasters and praying for blessing at the great autumn festival. This account of Goulder's scholarly work is fascinatingly interwoven with that of his life and ministry; and there are many anecdotes and vignettes of other people that are both amusing and interesting. He was ordained a priest in the Anglican Church, and though he resigned his Orders in 1981, he never lost his love of the Bible.
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Psalms

Published: May 2009
£15.00£35.00
The Book of Psalms is often seen as an anthology of prayers and hymns from which the reader may extract a selection as need or interest dictates. However, a recent development in Psalms scholarship has been a discussion of whether the collection of psalms has some overall structure. Is the whole of the Book of Psalms greater than the sum of its individual parts? This commentary argues that it is and presents a continuous reading of the Book of Psalms. Moreover, the long-standing tradition, found within both Judaism and Christianity, of associating the psalms with David is used as a reading strategy. In this volume, the Psalms are presented sequentially. Each has its place in the collection but thirty-five are treated at greater length. They are read, at least in the first two books (Psalms 1 —72), as if they were David's words. Beyond that a more complex and developed association between David and the Psalms is demanded. David becomes a figure of hope for a different future and a new royal reign reflecting the reign of Yahweh. Throughout, David remains a model of piety for all who seek to communicate with God in prayer. It is in the light of this that later disasters in the life of Israel, especially the Babylonian Exile, can be faced. In the Book of Psalms, the past, in terms of both David's life and the history of Israel, is the key to future well-being and faithfulness.
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Psalms

£15.00£35.00
The Book of Psalms is often seen as an anthology of prayers and hymns from which the reader may extract a selection as need or interest dictates. However, a recent development in Psalms scholarship has been a discussion of whether the collection of psalms has some overall structure. Is the whole of the Book of Psalms greater than the sum of its individual parts? This commentary argues that it is and presents a continuous reading of the Book of Psalms. Moreover, the long-standing tradition, found within both Judaism and Christianity, of associating the psalms with David is used as a reading strategy. In this volume, the Psalms are presented sequentially. Each has its place in the collection but thirty-five are treated at greater length. They are read, at least in the first two books (Psalms 1 —72), as if they were David's words. Beyond that a more complex and developed association between David and the Psalms is demanded. David becomes a figure of hope for a different future and a new royal reign reflecting the reign of Yahweh. Throughout, David remains a model of piety for all who seek to communicate with God in prayer. It is in the light of this that later disasters in the life of Israel, especially the Babylonian Exile, can be faced. In the Book of Psalms, the past, in terms of both David's life and the history of Israel, is the key to future well-being and faithfulness.
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Identity and Loyalty in the David Story: A Postcolonial Reading

Published: Oct 2008
£40.00
In this volume, Uriah Kim examines King David in a new light — the politics of identity and loyalty. He reads the David story from the North American context, in which millions of Americans are compelled to make a choice between their multiple heritages, which are inseparably encoded in their genetic or cultural makeup. In making this choice, their loyalty to their nation and to their particular racial/ethnic community is questioned if they do not define themselves with a single identity. Kim sees a David who was radically inclusive: an egalitarian who was open to making connections with people across various boundaries and differences and who was thus able to build a multi-ethnic kingdom. Rather than basing his rule on his own tribal identity, David built his kingdom by attracting the loyalty of diverse constituents and by putting together an eclectic coalition of ethnic, tribal, and religious groups based on loyalty. It was only later, as part of the identity formation of ancient Israel, that people who were equally part of David's hybridized kingdom were separated into 'real' Israelites as opposed to 'the other' in the narrative. In this reading, Kim leads the reader to a new understanding of David: he did not just use Realpolitik and the sword, nor did he depend totally on God's providence to establish his kingdom; rather, he practised the transgressive power of hesed ('loyalty and kindness') to forge his kingdom.
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Identity and Loyalty in the David Story: A Postcolonial Reading

£40.00
In this volume, Uriah Kim examines King David in a new light — the politics of identity and loyalty. He reads the David story from the North American context, in which millions of Americans are compelled to make a choice between their multiple heritages, which are inseparably encoded in their genetic or cultural makeup. In making this choice, their loyalty to their nation and to their particular racial/ethnic community is questioned if they do not define themselves with a single identity. Kim sees a David who was radically inclusive: an egalitarian who was open to making connections with people across various boundaries and differences and who was thus able to build a multi-ethnic kingdom. Rather than basing his rule on his own tribal identity, David built his kingdom by attracting the loyalty of diverse constituents and by putting together an eclectic coalition of ethnic, tribal, and religious groups based on loyalty. It was only later, as part of the identity formation of ancient Israel, that people who were equally part of David's hybridized kingdom were separated into 'real' Israelites as opposed to 'the other' in the narrative. In this reading, Kim leads the reader to a new understanding of David: he did not just use Realpolitik and the sword, nor did he depend totally on God's providence to establish his kingdom; rather, he practised the transgressive power of hesed ('loyalty and kindness') to forge his kingdom.
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David Observed: A King in the Eyes of His Court

Published: Mar 2008
£18.50£50.00
From his earliest anointing in 1 Samuel 16 until his deathbed discourse in 1 Kings 2, David is surrounded by a remarkable cast of supporting characters -- an ensemble whose varying perspectives on him create some of the complexity of this royal character in the biblical narrative. David's older brother Eliab speaks only once to his younger sibling, but this conversation has significant implications for the larger narrative. The encounter with Ahimelech the priest in 1 Samuel 21-22 in many ways symbolizes the 'crossing fates' of David and Saul in the sanctuary at Nob. Abner is the rival general who wants to make a deal, but his actions are difficult to gauge: does he have his own set of royal ambitions? Joab is pre-eminently a man of action and a key commander of David's troops, but this military figure surprisingly turns out to be as well an innovative reader and royal exegete. Nathan the prophet has a tendency to surface at pivotal moments in the story, as a decisive influence on the spiritual and political affairs of the king. Ahithophel is a senior counsellor in the Davidic administration who becomes mysteriously embittered against David in the rebellion of Absalom; in narratives about him there is a confluence of tangled motives and prophetic words. Finally, Solomon is the younger son who accedes to the coveted Davidic throne, and curiously shares traits with his ancestor Jacob and has a swearing problem in 1 Kings 1-2.
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David Observed: A King in the Eyes of His Court

£18.50£50.00
From his earliest anointing in 1 Samuel 16 until his deathbed discourse in 1 Kings 2, David is surrounded by a remarkable cast of supporting characters -- an ensemble whose varying perspectives on him create some of the complexity of this royal character in the biblical narrative. David's older brother Eliab speaks only once to his younger sibling, but this conversation has significant implications for the larger narrative. The encounter with Ahimelech the priest in 1 Samuel 21-22 in many ways symbolizes the 'crossing fates' of David and Saul in the sanctuary at Nob. Abner is the rival general who wants to make a deal, but his actions are difficult to gauge: does he have his own set of royal ambitions? Joab is pre-eminently a man of action and a key commander of David's troops, but this military figure surprisingly turns out to be as well an innovative reader and royal exegete. Nathan the prophet has a tendency to surface at pivotal moments in the story, as a decisive influence on the spiritual and political affairs of the king. Ahithophel is a senior counsellor in the Davidic administration who becomes mysteriously embittered against David in the rebellion of Absalom; in narratives about him there is a confluence of tangled motives and prophetic words. Finally, Solomon is the younger son who accedes to the coveted Davidic throne, and curiously shares traits with his ancestor Jacob and has a swearing problem in 1 Kings 1-2.
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The Michal Affair: From Zimri-Lim to the Rabbis

Published: Jun 2006
£15.95£50.00
This fresh approach to the story of Michal, daughter of Saul and wife of David, juxtaposes three quite different interpretative methods: narratological, historical, and history of traditions. In his first chapter Bodi offers a subtle political reading of the Michal story, bringing to the fore the power-struggle between Saul and David that forms its main intrigue. Michal's personal tragedy foreshadows that of the Israelite monarchy and prefigures its end. It is a unique phenomenon in ancient Near Eastern literature that the story of a woman should serve as a means of criticizing the abuses of the monarchy and deconstructing the royal ideology. The second chapter compares the daughters of Saul and the daughters of Zimri-Lim. This eighteenth-century BCE tribal king of Mari offered his two daughters Kirum and Shimatum to the same vassal in order to be able to spy on him. Saul seems to have done something similar with his daughters Merab and Michal, both offered to David. The unhappy marriage of Kirum ended in divorce. Although the announcement of the divorce was made by her husband in a public ceremony, it was prompted by the royal princess —the first example of a divorce initiated by a woman in ancient Near Eastern texts. The third chapter explores a rich variety of rabbinic interpretations of key moments in the Michal story. Important and often little known observations are drawn from both the Talmuds and from midrashic works such as Abrabanel and anthologies like Midrash Rabbah, Yalqut Shimoni, Meam Loez and Malbim, together with the comments by Rashi and Qimhi. Both the narratological investigation and the rabbinic interpretations point to David's guilt during his dance in front of the ark. The rabbis indeed attributed the exile of the nation to David's misdeeds. A careful reading of the biblical texts dealing with the figure of David in his relationship with his first wife Michal reaches the same conclusion: He is not exactly the man he pretends to be.
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The Michal Affair: From Zimri-Lim to the Rabbis

£15.95£50.00
This fresh approach to the story of Michal, daughter of Saul and wife of David, juxtaposes three quite different interpretative methods: narratological, historical, and history of traditions. In his first chapter Bodi offers a subtle political reading of the Michal story, bringing to the fore the power-struggle between Saul and David that forms its main intrigue. Michal's personal tragedy foreshadows that of the Israelite monarchy and prefigures its end. It is a unique phenomenon in ancient Near Eastern literature that the story of a woman should serve as a means of criticizing the abuses of the monarchy and deconstructing the royal ideology. The second chapter compares the daughters of Saul and the daughters of Zimri-Lim. This eighteenth-century BCE tribal king of Mari offered his two daughters Kirum and Shimatum to the same vassal in order to be able to spy on him. Saul seems to have done something similar with his daughters Merab and Michal, both offered to David. The unhappy marriage of Kirum ended in divorce. Although the announcement of the divorce was made by her husband in a public ceremony, it was prompted by the royal princess —the first example of a divorce initiated by a woman in ancient Near Eastern texts. The third chapter explores a rich variety of rabbinic interpretations of key moments in the Michal story. Important and often little known observations are drawn from both the Talmuds and from midrashic works such as Abrabanel and anthologies like Midrash Rabbah, Yalqut Shimoni, Meam Loez and Malbim, together with the comments by Rashi and Qimhi. Both the narratological investigation and the rabbinic interpretations point to David's guilt during his dance in front of the ark. The rabbis indeed attributed the exile of the nation to David's misdeeds. A careful reading of the biblical texts dealing with the figure of David in his relationship with his first wife Michal reaches the same conclusion: He is not exactly the man he pretends to be.
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