Prose Writing in an Age of Orality: A Study of 2 Sam 5:6-9

In: Vetus Testamentum
Daniel Pioske Georgia Southern University

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The brief, cryptic account of Jerusalem’s takeover by David in 2 Sam 5:6-9 has elicited a considerable number of historical investigations into what events may have transpired according to this story. But what has received less historical attention is the scribal culture responsible for this text’s composition. With this concern in mind, the aim of this study is to approach 2 Sam 5:6-9 as a scribal artifact in an effort to examine how this text took form and what cultural expectations guided its production. What comes to light through this manner of inquiry, I contend, is a text deeply shaped by an oral storytelling tradition. The results of this analysis are then brought to bear on certain interpretive questions connected to how one reads ancient prose accounts rendered by scribes who lived in a world of oral, living speech.

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