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The abstract of this article reads as follows:

Many references to Solomon in the Bible seem to be the outcome of inner-biblical exegesis applied to earlier texts. This study highlights the particular forms of exegesis that were used and their proximity to later midrashic explanation. But submitting earlier narratives to midrashic techniques, the books of Writings reveal their relatively late date. However, the use of these techniques does not automatically discredit the historical kernel of a particular reference; rather, it lends an interpretive ‘spin’, enlarging the character of Solomon to legendary proportions.

Building upon the work of Fishbane and Zakovitch on inner-biblical exegesis, the author focuses upon ‘how various types of inner-biblical interpretation were marshaled to develop the character of a single biblical figure, King Solomon’. Throughout his study, Gottlieb keeps an eyes on how inner-biblical exegesis can be employed to date the material in which they manifest themselves.

The ease with which Chronicles can be compared and contrasted with Kings as an exercise in rewritten history serves as motivation for Gottlieb’s choice of Chronicles as his first reviewed text. He finds numerous plays on the name שׁלמה in work from the Persian period that serve to develop the reputation of the king and his projects as peaceful and pertinent to ‘a king without blemish’.

The author next considers additional texts exemplary of the ‘late’ anthology of the Writings. Psalm 72 for example, identified by Gunkel as a ‘royal psalm’, yields further word-plays on שׁלמה and a Solomonic allusion via שׁבא. It is alleged that מלך and בן־מלך are not strict parallels but rather references to David and Solomon, respectively, in the manner of later Midrashic treatment of Hebrew parallelism in the Bible. Presumably, Gottlieb intends the psalm’s title, לשׁלמה, to be a late addition based upon these identifications of Solomonic allusion in the psalms when he refers to ‘reading Solomon back’ into the psalm.

Psalm 127, also headed as לשׁלמה, receives similar treatment as an exercise in modulating the poem’s ‘general proverbs and universal truths’ in the direction of ascription to Solomonic particularities.

The Proverbs’ identification with the king is seen as an additional example of late midrashic rewriting. More extensively, the Song of Songs in Gottlieb’s view places Solomon as a foil for the poems’ young, rustic lover in a way that criticizes the king: ‘From a paragon of a king, he has become a parody’.

Likewise, Ezra-Nehemiah lists among its returnees a group of בני עבדי שׁלֹמה, individuals unknown in the book of Kings, and a number of other allusions to Solomon. Gottlieb evidently understands such references—not in his view absent historical basis—as presented in a way that reflects the by this time elevated status of Solomon.

In sum, such examples of inner-biblical exegesis are ‘proto-midrashic’ in form and function. Gottlieb is undecided regarding whether such exegesis—which in some cases may merely represent ‘literary flourishes’—have anything to say about the historicity of the material itself. ‘(I)nner-biblical interpretation found within the Writings and based on proto-midrashic techniques might point to a continuum between biblical Wisdom and subsequent rabbinic midrash literature’.

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Reissued with a new afterword twenty years after its initial publication, this little volume places in the reader’s hands a reliable and thought-provoking survey of how Israelite faith reinterpreted the mythical elements that lay strewn about its terrain. American Jews and American Christians look, speak, and think like Americans, so Belgium Jews and Christians do the same in that country. Even so, Israel-as it worked out the often radical commitments of Yahwistic faith-would have looked, lived, written and prayed in a manner well accented by the Canaanite milieu in which it developed. It is the religio-mythical elements of that environment to which Anderson so helpfully directs his scrutiny. (more…)

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This is not Walter Brueggemann’s best book. Still, it is the measure of this man’s perceptive insight that a lecture series at Princeton Theological Seminary with off-the-cuff roughnessess still evident can make for the kind of compelling reading that merely fine writers are fortunate to achieve once or twice in a career. (more…)

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These six collected essays from one of biblical scholarship’s leading thoughtful curmudgeons prove beyond doubt that unexamined assumptions corrode the core of the enterprise of biblical scholarship in the secular academy. That they come from the pen of a Jewish scholar teaching at one of liberal Protestantism’s foremost shrines (Harvard Divinity School) is only the first irony that Levenson explores here with contrarian zeal. Readers who believe in the craft—whether naively or upon reflection—will find Levenson’s articles an unsettling and necessary read. (more…)

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Though this may be the best of Walter Brueggemann’s many books, it is not a work for the faint of heart. Brueggemann’s prose sometimes seems to overtake his meaning. One wonders at times-Brueggemann himself might say-whether there is a surfeit of meaning in this text that eludes immediate penetration, or simply a surplus of words. (more…)

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For biblical scholars and students who are Mac users, there is no need to look further than the constantly evolving and resolutely powerful Accordance Bible Software from OakTree software. (more…)

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This entry in the Fortress Classics in Biblical Studies series brings to fresh light some classic exemplars of twentieth-century Old Testament criticism, no small contribution in a moment when the discipline’s fast-fragmenting methodologies threaten biblical scholars with amnesia. (more…)

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When an emerging generation of biblical scholars found themselves increasingly squeezed by what they perceived as the theological claustrophobia of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), the Institute for Biblical Research (IBR) was born to offer an alternative. While many of the IBR’s members continue to hold membership in the ETS, it is also true that many members opt instead to throw in their lot with the much broader Society of Biblical Literature (SBL). (more…)

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