Posted on March 29, 2014 at 9:34 am by Dr. Jim
Yup, I got an essay published in a new book:
“On the Authority of Dead Kings”
Deuteronomy-Kings as Emerging Authoritative Books: A Conversation
edited by Diana V. Edelman
Click the pic to go to the publisher’s website and order yourself a few dozen!
Here is the book’s blurb:
Explore how the past came to address the present and the future and why it became important for emerging Jewish identity.
Experts explore the themes and topics that made Deuteronomy and the Former Prophets appealing to ancient readers leading ultimately to those texts becoming authoritative for Persian and Hellenistic readers. This unique collection of essays focuses on what larger impact these texts might have had on primary and secondary audiences as part of emerging Torah. Contributors include Klaus-Peter Adam, Yairah Amit, Thomas M. Bolin, Philip R. Davies, Serge Frolov, Susanne Gilmayr-Bucher, E. Axel Knauf, Christoph Levin, James R. Linville, and Thomas Römer, and Diana V. Edelman.
- Essays focused on why texts became authoritative instead of when they were written or their historicity
- Two scholars examine each book providing a range of views
- Coverage of the socio-religious function of emerging Torah in the Persian and early Hellenistic periods
Stolen from http://scottpaeth.typepad.com
Diana V. Edelman “Introduction”
Philip R. Davies “The Authority of Deuteronomy”
Christoph Levin “Rereading Deuteronomy in the Persian and Hellenistic Periods: The Ethics of Brotherhood and the Care of the Poor”
E. Axel Knauf “Why “Joshua”?”
Serge Frolov “The Case of Joshua”
Yairah Amit “Who Was Interested in the Book of Judges in the Persian-Hellenistic Periods?”
Susanne Gillmayr-Bucher “Memories Laid to Rest: The Book of Judges in the Persian Period”
Thomas M. Bolin1–2 Samuel and Jewish Paideia in the Persian and Hellenistic Periods”
Klaus-Peter Adam “What Made the Books of Samuel Authoritative in the Discourses of the Persian Period? Reflections on the Legal Discourse in 2 Samuel 14″
Thomas Romer “The Case of the Book of Kings”
James R. Linville “On the Authority of Dead Kings”
Here are a couple of short excerpts from the beginning of my contribution:
For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings. (Richard II 3.2:155–156)
Always remember that the crowd that applauds your coronation is the same crowd that will applaud your beheading. People like a show. (Terry Pratchett, Going Postal )
The book of Kings tells a story that has all the makings of a great show. It begins with the pathetic end of Israel’s most celebrated king and the rather scandalous rise to power of his successor. Solomon is celebrated as the legitimate and wise king only to have his glorious empire dismembered because of his own religious failings. The following tale of the divided kingdom ends with the destruction of both halves, despite the radical reformation and cultic purge of Josiah only decades before the ultimate fall. It is a story of power, intrigue, clashing dynasties and war set against a theme of divine judgment. Although a bit shy on explicit descriptions of scandalous sexual encounters, the book has its share of seemingly gratuitous violence. Besides the sheer entertainment value of Kings that lies in letting the reader voyeuristically share a god’s eye view on the rise and fall of a number dynasties, empires, prophets, monarchs, tyrants, and charlatans, what did the ancient readers find in it that it commanded enough respect on significant social matters to be copied and recopied over the centuries?
It might seem more intuitive to view the authority of a book about past events to lie in the perceived veracity of its story, but this can only take us so far in understanding the interpretative frameworks in which Kings was placed in the first half of the Second Temple period. While comparative evidence suggests that the presentation of events in Kings would hardly have been discounted, it was not the only presentation that could have won an audience. This essay will view the presence of contrasting histories as part of a social discourse that is always flexible and open-ended; Kings found its favorable reception amongst other documents that also earned a readership. In my opinion, the authority of Kings lies in its utility for constructing relevant meanings, rather than its inscription of ideological points validated by the population as a whole or the powers that be to the exclusion of other points of view. Part of this utility derives from its capitalization on ritual episodes and prototypical events in a myth-making enterprise that allows readers to reflect on the differences between their lives and the various social constructions found in Kings and other texts. Highlighting a few of these essentially mythic, provocative episodes will be the purpose of this essay.