Celebrating the five hundredth volume, this Festschrift honors David M. Gunn, one of the founders of the Journal of Old Testament Studies, later the Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies, and offers essays representing cutting-edge interpretations of the David material in the Hebrew Bible and later literary and popular culture. Essays in Part One, Relating to David, present David in relationship to other characters in Samuel. These essays demonstrate the value of close reading, analysis of literary structure, and creative, disciplined readerly imagination in interpreting biblical texts in general and understanding the character of David in particular. Part Two, Reading David, expands the narrative horizon. These essays analyze the use of the David character in larger biblical narrative contexts. David is understood as a literary icon that communicates and disrupts meaning in different ways in different context. More complex modes of interpretation enter in, including theories of metaphor, memory and history, psychoanalysis, and post-colonialism. Part Three, Singing David, shifts the focus to the portrayal of David as singer and psalmist, interweaving in mutually informative ways both with visual evidence from the ancient Near East depicting court musicians and with the titles and language of the biblical psalms. Part Four, Receiving David, highlights moments in the long history of interpretation of the king in popular culture, including poetry, visual art, theatre, and children's literature. Finally, the essays in Part Five, Re-locating David, represent some of the intellectually and ethically vital interpretative work going on in contexts outside the U.S. and Europe.
David M. Gunn wrote The Fate of King Saul to inspire a renewed interest in the study of the Old Testament as well as the study of Saul. He explores the study of Saul and researches the narrative aspect of the books of Samuel. Additionally, he also researches the narrative that is a part of the Old Testament since the content can be complicated and difficult to understand.
Cephas Tushima provides a thorough analysis of the fate of Saul's heirs, focussing on whether their tragedies were due to continuing divine retribution, coincidence, or Davidic orchestration. He concludes that David was unjust and calculating in his dealings with the Saulides and, like other Near Eastern usurpers, perpetrated heinous injustices against the vanquished house of Saul.Traditionally readers saw Saul as evil and David as a hero; but more recently scholars have written about Saul as a tragic character and David as a villain, turning the book of Samuel into deeply contested interpretive territory. Tushima provides analysis of the critical literature surrounding this contentious issue and contributes his own study that will prove important to the continuing debate. He assesses David's character by analysing how he treats the surviving children of his predecessor, drawing upon the provisions for justice in the covenant community in the book of Deuteronomy. He demonstrates a connection between Samuel and the Torah through themes and motifs, and develops theological conclusions from them on such issues as the impact of human conduct on the environment, marriage, monarchy and Zion theology.
Narrative Ethics and Rereading the Court History according to 2 Samuel 8:15-20:26
Author: Richard G. Smith
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
This work argues that 2 Sam 8:15-20:26 is a literary unit designed to show how David and his house failed to establish "justice and righteousness" during David's reign over all Israel. After an introductory chapter and a chapter on critical methodology the rest of the work is a close reading of 2 Sam 8:15-20:26 that pays special attention to narrative ethics. Chapter 3 makes a case for reading 2 Sam 8:15-20:26 as a coherent literary unit reflecting an ethical world-view grounded in kindness and having as its main theme "the failure of justice and righteousness to be established during David's reign." Chapter 4 presents a case for reading 2 Sam 8:15-10:19 as an account of the beginnings of justice and righteousness during David's reign in which David's kindness towards Mephibosheth is presented as analogous to a Mesopotamian royal declaration and was performed as an inaugural act of charity upon David's ascent to the throne.
The first mention of David’s name is in the book of 1 Samuel 16:13. The mention of his name was so significant because it came with an unusual gait. Before this time, he had remained an insignificant minor of the family of Jesse who, though young and underage, was saddled with a giant responsibility of taking care of the large flock of Jesse’s family—all alone in the wild field. He was left alone irrespective of various dangers that abound in the field. He was considered too young to be counted as one of the sons of Jesse even when Samuel the priest made a request to Jesse to parade all his sons for one to be anointed as the new king over Israel in place of the erring Saul. But in 1 Samuel 16 verse 13, the story changed. David became a separated individual among the sons of Jesse with a clear distinction. “Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brethren, and the spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward” (1 Sam. 16:13). The significance of that unusual encounter became the separator and distinguishing factor between David and his brethren as events unfolded later in his life. That was because “the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.” David rose from an ordinary minor to an extraordinary warrior and a renowned king of all times. What are the amazing secrets behind this transformation?
In The Historical Books, Richard D. Nelson introduces neophyte readers to the basic concepts of history and historical writing and provides a simple framework of events and periods that can be used to situate historical data reported in texts or presupposed by them. Standard interpretive methods are accessibly explained and illustrated by consistent reference to 2 Samuel 24. The focus of discussion moves from the narrow level of individual pericope to larger units of meaning. Because the ultimate goal is to expose the claims made on the reader by these biblical texts and to help the reader make sense of these claims, the interpretive spotlight rests on the present interaction of text and reader rather than on the past.
This second edition of An Introduction to the Old Testament integrates and interacts with recent developments in Old Testament scholarship. Several distinctive set it apart from other introductions to the Old Testament: • It is thoroughly evangelical in its perspective • It emphasizes “special introduction”—the study of individual books • It interacts in an irenic spirit with the historical-critical method • It features points of research history and representative scholars rather than an exhaustive treatment of past scholarship • It deals with the meaning of each book, not in isolation but in a canonical context • It probes the meaning of each book in the setting of its culture Including callouts, charts, and graphs, this text is written with an eye on understanding the nature of Old Testament historiography. This upper-level introduction to the Old Testament offers students a solid understanding of three key issues: historical background, literary analysis, and theological message.
A Fresh Approach to the Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament
Author: William P. Brown
Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
At a time when the chasm between academic scholarship and theological reflection seems to be widening, both the academic guild and the church share in common an uncertainty over how to study and appropriate the wisdom literature of the Old Testament. On the one hand, mainline denominations have for the most part avoided the books of Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes in their preaching and educational curriculum. Biblical scholars, on the other hand, have labored hard to identify the theological significance and thematic center of the wisdom literature, but without much consensus. In Character in Crisis, William P. Brown helps to break the impasse by demonstrating that the aim of the Bible's wisdom literature is the formation of moral character - both for individuals and for the community. Brown traces the theme of moral identity and conduct throughout the wisdom literature of the Old Testament, with a concluding reflection on the Epistle of James in the New Testament, and explores a range of issues that includes literary characterization, moral discourse, worldview, and the theology of the ancient sages. He examines the ways in which central characters such as God, wisdom, and human beings are profiled in the wisdom books and shows how their characterizations impart ethical meaning to the reading community, both ancient and modern.