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Aetiologies seem to gratify the human desire to understand the origin of a phenomenon. However, as this book demonstrates, aetiologies do not exclusively explore origins. Rather, in inventing origin stories they authorise the present and try to shape the future. This book explores aetiology as a tool for thinking, and draws attention to the paradoxical structure of origin stories. Aetiologies reduce complex ambivalence and plurality to plainly causal and temporal relations, but at the same time, by casting an anchor into the past, they open doors to progress and innovation.
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Abstract

The paper provides a detailed analysis of an autobiographical poem, composed by Shmuel ha-Nagid as a commemoration of his victory in battle over the troops attacking the foregrounds of Granada. It explores the process of artistic auto-creation, unravelling the complex matrix of biblical intertexts and historical allusions as well as artistic devices and poetical mechanisms introduced by the poet in order to portray himself not only as a righteous leader of the nation and a direct heir of the Levites, but also a divinely inspired poet, an anointed “singer of God,” and “the David of his age.”

Open Access
In: The Character of David in Judaism, Christianity and Islam

Abstract

The article explores the complex relationship between the biblical and extra-biblical evidence for David, discussing inter alia the etymology of the name David, the reliability of extra-biblical testimonies (inscriptions) to the House of David, as well as historical context and circumstances in which the biblical character was supposedly active. It conjectures that, assuming the historicity of this figure, David might have been a local leader of a small, Habiru-like group active in the tenth century BCE in the Southern territories dominated by the Tribe of Benjamin and politically controlled by the Philistines from the City of Gath.

Open Access
In: The Character of David in Judaism, Christianity and Islam

Abstract

The article investigates the way in which the character of David was used in Judah Halevi’s Book of the Kuzari. It demonstrates how the author used David’s idealized image as an instrument to convey and underscore what he considered the chief values and most important legacy of Judaism. It argues that the figure of David served Halevi as a vehicle to transmit a constructive critique of his present day Jewry, aimed at healing or repairing and improving the entire Jewish nation – in terms of Rabbanites and Karaites alike – and bringing about their re-unification, thereby restoring Judaism to its former glory.

Open Access
In: The Character of David in Judaism, Christianity and Islam
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Abstract

The paper shows how the late thirteenth and early fourteenth century French chroniclers and hagiographers fashioned Saint Louis’s image after the model of biblical King David, as the pious and godly king of a New Israel – France. Exploring the complex history of the origins of the royal ideology of the Capetian kings, the paper argues that although it undoubtedly echoes the Byzantine imperial ideology, it evolved independently and its origins should be sought more accurately in the Carolingian epoch, in which (from the time of Pepin the Short), David had become an ideal model for the kings of the Franks.

Open Access
In: The Character of David in Judaism, Christianity and Islam
In: The Character of David in Judaism, Christianity and Islam
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Abstract

The paper discusses the image of king David in the traditions contained in the Kitāb al-waraʿ, a compilation of Islamic piety by ʿAbd al-Malik b. Ḥabīb (d. 238/853), against the backdrop of earlier and contemporary Muslim literature. It presents and analyzes the role of David in the paradigm of Islamic piety of the third/ninth century through comparisons of this hitherto unpublished work with other similar sources from this period (e.g., Ibn Ḥanbal’s Kitāb al-zuhd). By doing so, it serves a starting point for further investigation of the role of prophets in the classical Islamic pietistic literature.

Open Access
In: The Character of David in Judaism, Christianity and Islam
In: Inventing Origins? Aetiological Thinking in Greek and Roman Antiquity
In: Inventing Origins? Aetiological Thinking in Greek and Roman Antiquity
In: Inventing Origins? Aetiological Thinking in Greek and Roman Antiquity