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Authority and Violence in the Gideon and Abimelech Narratives: A Sociological and Literary Exploration of Judges 6-9

£55.00

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.

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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.

Additional information

Table of 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

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Book information

Author
Linda A. Dietch
List Price
£55 / $85 / €75
Series
The Bible and Hebrew Bible Monographs, 75, Social Science, 2
Scholars' Price
£27.50 / $42 / €37.50
ISBN 13 hardback
978-1-909697-82-9
Format
Hardback
Page Extent
xiv + 259
Publication Date
September 2015
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