Representing the Past

A Literary Analysis of Narrative Historiography in the Book of Samuel


Eschewing both so-called minimalist and maximalist readings, this volume advocates an understanding of the book of Samuel as ancient narrative historiography that must be understood according to its own conception and ideology of history before being judged as a historical source. This study shows how narrative strategies and literary embellishment, unaccustomed in modern historiography, are used to express familiar historical concepts such as causation, meaning and evaluation of the past. The requirements for historical ‘accuracy’ within the book’s cultural milieu are investigated through analysis of the differences tolerated between the LXX and MT versions. Fresh interpretive insights for specific passages emerge as the conventions of historiography in Samuel are compared and contrasted to the ideals of modern historical theory.
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Biographical Note

Rachelle Gilmour, Ph.D. (2010) from the University of Sydney, is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

Table of contents

1. Introduction
1.1 Historiography: A representation of the past
1.2 The book of Samuel as historiography

2. Causation
2.1 Samuel’s birth story – I Sam 1
2.2 The accession of King Saul – I Sam 9-11
2.3 The temple – II Sam 7
2.4 Conclusion

3. Meaning and Significance
3.1 The beginning and end of Samuel
3.2 Patterns
3.3 Comparative analogies
3.4 Conclusion

4. Moral, Political and Theological Evaluation
4.1 The institution of the monarchy – I Sam 8-12
4.2 David – II Sam 13-19
4.3 Conclusion

5. Coherence and Contradictions
5.1 Coherence and factual precision in I Sam 17
5.2 Differences and contradictions between the MT and LXX of I Sam 17
5.3 Conclusion

6. Conclusion


All those interested in Biblical studies and ancient historiography, biblical narrative as a source for the history of ancient Israel, poetics of Hebrew narrative and the book of Samuel.


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