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History and the Hebrew Bible: Culture, Narrative, and Memory

In: Brill Research Perspectives in Biblical Interpretation
Author: Ian D. Wilson1
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  • 1 University of Alberta, Augustana Campus, Alberta, Canada
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Abstract

This essay offers an introduction to select disciplinary developments in the study of history and in historical study of the Hebrew Bible. It focuses first and foremost on “cultural history,” a broad category defined by nineteenth- and twentieth-century developments in anthropology and sociology, literary theory and linguistics, and other fields of study. The first part of the essay comments on developments since the so-called “linguistic turn,” highlighting some key works on culture, narrative, and memory, in order to establish a contemporary historical approach to biblical studies. It then turns to questions of the Hebrew Bible’s usefulness for historical study, and highlights studies of King David and the Davidic polity in ancient Israel/Judah, to show how scholars of the Bible have done historical work in recent years. And finally, it provides a case study of the book of Joshua, demonstrating how historians can utilize biblical texts as sources for cultural history.

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