David, King of Israel, and Caleb in Biblical Memory

David, King of Israel, and Caleb in Biblical Memory

4.29 (17 ratings by Goodreads)
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Of all the Bible's personalities, David is the most profoundly human. Courageous, cunning, and complex, he lives life to the hilt. Whatever he does, he does with all his might, exuding both vitality and vulnerability. No wonder it has been said that Israel revered Moses yet loved David. But what do we now know about the historical David? Why does his story stand at the center of the Bible? Why didn't the biblical authors present him in a more favorable light? And what is the special connection between him and Caleb - the Judahite hero remembered for his valor during the wars of conquest? In this groundbreaking study, Jacob L. Wright addresses all these questions and presents a new way of reading the biblical accounts. His work compares the function of these accounts to the role war memorials play over time. The result is a rich study that treats themes of national identity, statehood, the exercise of power, and the human condition.show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 113999090X
  • 9781139990905

Table of contents

1. Slings and arrows - remembering King David; 2. Flesh and stone - from war monuments to the David story; 3. King of Judah - the earliest account of David's life; 4. Tales of loyalty and betrayal - the cases of Keilah and Ziph; 5. The bones of Saul - the loyalty of the Gileadites; 6. Uriah the Hittite - a tale of royal modesty; 7. Ittai the Gittite - mercenary allegiance versus national solidarity; 8. David in exile - priests, statehood, and the Benjaminites; 9. Territorial transitions - the Transjordan, Israel, and Judah; 10. Chronicles - David as a catalyst of national unity; 11. Caleb and the conquest - inventing a new hero; 12. Caleb the warrior - the evolution of legends; 13. Caleb the Judahite - an iconic figure; 14. War-torn David - conclusions.show more

Review quote

'In engaging, limpid prose occasionally seasoned with humor, Wright argues that the stories of David and Caleb in the Tanakh were efforts in nation building. At the heart of Wright's argument is 'war commemoration'. Depicting characters as either helping or hindering David in one of his many military endeavors is, according to Wright, a key means by which individuals and communities were deemed to be part of, or outside, the people of Israel by the postexilic redactors of Samuel 1 and 2 and Kings 1 and 2. In narratives featuring Caleb, Wright explores how redactors transformed this Kenizzite, or outsider, into an exemplary Judahite, or insider. Wright bases his readings on a 'supplementation' model of textual development rather than the traditional documentary hypothesis. The result is a fresh and fruitful perspective on ways David and Caleb were used to construct Israelite peoplehood after Judah and the Temple were destroyed by the Babylonians. Wright succeeds in making painstaking textual inquiry into a stimulating book for general readers and experts alike.' Choiceshow more

About Jacob L. Wright

Dr Jacob L. Wright teaches Hebrew Bible and Jewish studies at Emory University, where he is a member of the faculty of distinction. His first book, Rebuilding Identity: The Nehemiah Memoir and its Earliest Readers, was awarded The John Templeton Award for one of the best first books in religion and theology. For his research on war commemoration, he received a prestigious faculty fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.show more

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17 ratings
4.29 out of 5 stars
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4 35% (6)
3 18% (3)
2 0% (0)
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