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In this book, Daniel Stulac brings a canonical-agrarian approach to the Elijah narratives and demonstrates the rhetorical and theological contribution of these texts to the Book of Kings. This unique perspective yields insights into Elijah's iconographical character (1 Kings 17-19), which is contrasted sharply against the Omride dynasty (1 Kings 20-2 Kings 1). It also serves as a template for Elisha's activities in chapters to follow (2 Kings 2-8). Under circumstances that foreshadow the removal of both monarchy and temple, the book's middle third (1 Kings 17-2 Kings 8) proclaims Yhwh's enduring care for Israel's land and people through various portraits of resurrection, even in a world where Israel's sacred institutions have been stripped away. Elijah emerges as the archetypal ancestor of a royal-prophetic remnant with which the reader is encouraged to identify.
In this book, Isabel Cranz offers the first systematic study of royal illness in the Books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles. Applying a diachronic approach, she compares and contrasts how the different views concerning kingship and illness are developed in the larger trajectory of the Hebrew Bible. As such, she demonstrates how a framework of meaning is constructed around the motif of illness, which is expanded in several redactional steps. This development takes different forms and relates to issues such as problems with kingship, the cultic, and moral conduct of individual kings, or the evaluation of dynasties. Significantly, Cranz shows how the scribes living in post-monarchic Judah expanded the interpretive framework of royal illness until it included a message of destruction and a critique of kingship. The physical and mental integrity of the king, therefore, becomes closely tied to his nation and the political system he represents.
The aggression of the biblical God named Yhwh is notorious. Students of theology, the Bible, and the Ancient Near East know that the Hebrew Bible describes Yhwh acting destructively against his client country, Israel, and against its kings. But is Yhwh uniquely vengeful, or was he just one among other, similarly ferocious patron gods? To answer this question, Collin Cornell compares royal biblical psalms with memorial inscriptions. He finds that the Bible shares deep theological and literary commonalities with comparable texts from Israel's ancient neighbours. The centrepiece of both traditions is the intense mutual loyalty of gods and kings. In the event that the king's monument and legacy comes to harm, gods avenge their individual royal protégé. In the face of political inexpedience, kings honour their individual divine benefactor.
In this book, Brett Maiden employs the tools, research, and theories from the cognitive science of religion to explore religious thought and behavior in ancient Israel. His study focuses on a key set of distinctions between intuitive and reflective types of cognitive processing, implicit and explicit concepts, and cognitively optimal and costly religious traditions. Through a series of case studies, Maiden examines a range of topics including popular and official religion, Deuteronomic theology, hybrid monsters in ancient iconography, divine cult statues in ancient Mesopotamia and the biblical idol polemics, and the Day of Atonement ritual in Leviticus 16. The range of media, including ancient texts, art, and archaeological data from ancient Israel, as well theoretical perspectives demonstrates how a dialogue between biblical scholars and cognitive researchers can be fostered.
The campaign of Sennacherib against Judah is one of the most widely researched in biblical studies and Ancient Near East studies, and one that also poses scholarly challenges. Allusion to the event is found in Isaiah, Kings, and Chronicles, but there is no correlation between the Assyrian and biblical descriptions of the same event. Dan'el Kahn offers a text-critical analysis of these biblical passages that allude to the military events. Detecting repetitions, breaks in the narrative, and contradictions and inconsistencies in the texts, he traces and reconstructs different and discrete sources. Kahn demonstrates that the biblical passages are based on earlier sources that were later edited and revised by a third hand. Based on historical events that are found in non-biblical texts, he also offers new dates for the sources. He claims that the narrative was written for the book of Isaiah, arguing that it predates the version found in Kings.
In the Book of Judges the narrator presents an image of the good parent YHWH whose enduring love and loyalty is offset by his wayward child Israel who defaults on the relationship repeatedly. Biblical scholars have largely concurred, demonstrating the many faults of Israel while siding with YHWH's privileged viewpoint. When object-relations theory (which examines how human beings relate to each other) is applied to Judges, a different story emerges. In its capacity to illuminate why and how relationships can be intense, problematic, rewarding, and enduring, object-relations theory reveals how both YHWH and Israel have attachment needs that are played out vividly in the story world. Deryn Guest reveals how its narrator engages in a variety of psychological strategies to mask suppressed rage as he engages in an intriguing but rather dysfunctional masochistic dance with a dominant deity who has reputation needs.
In this book, Katherine E. Southwood offers a new approach to interpreting Judges 21. Breaking away from traditional interpretations of kingship, feminism, or comparisons with Greek or Roman mythology, she explores the concepts of marriage, ethnicity, rape, and power as means of ethnic preservation and exclusion. She also exposes the many reasons why marriage by capture occurred during the post-exilic period. Judges 21 served as a warning against compromise - submission to superficial unity between the Israelites and the Benjaminites. Any such unity would result in drastic changes in the character, culture, and values of the ethnic group 'Israel'. The chapter encouraged post-exilic audiences to socially construct those categorised as 'Benjaminites' as foreigners who do not belong within the group, thereby silencing doubts about the merits of unity.
The Old Testament accounts of the Exodus contain various indications of the routes taken by the Israelites and the so-called wilderness itineraries appear to be very precise. From the earliest times, students of the Bible have tried to relate references in the texts to place names known in their own day. In this monograph Dr Davies traces the beginnings of such studies as they emerge from Jewish, Christian and Arabic writings and reviews both these and more recent theories in the light of modern biblical scholarship and archaeological exploration. In the process he finds it necessary to look again at major problems of bibliographical geography such as the identity of the 'Red Sea' and the location of Mount Sinai. Old Testament scholars will not be alone in finding this monograph of interest. Archaeologists, historical geographers and ancient historians will value it as a background to their own work on the period and Dr Davies' presentation ensures that this book may usefully be studied by the non-specialist.
One of the most rewarding of recent approaches to the study of Deutero-Isaiah has been the attempt to understand his teaching against the background of his ministry to the second generation of Jewish exiles in Babylonia. Two factors have been taken into account: the nature of the Israelite religious tradition which the exiles had inherited from the past, and the actual circumstances of their life in Babylonia, where they were subject to the cultural and religious pressures of their environment. Each of these may be expected to have exercised some influence on the teaching of Deutero-Isaiah. Dr Whybray's study of this one short passage has been made in order to explore the relationships between the two factors. The passage, which has long been the subject of vigorous controversy, admirably raises the question of the sources of Deutero-Isaiah's theology. This detailed study, which employs as far as possible all the techniques of modern critical investigation, is an attempt to shed some light on the interpretation of Deutero-Isaiah as a whole.
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