Posts Tagged ‘inner-biblical exegesis’

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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