The Historical David

The Historical David : The Real Life of an Invented Hero

3.73 (102 ratings by Goodreads)
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Joel Baden, a leading expert on the Old Testament, offers a controversial look at the history of King David, the founder of the nation of Israel whose bloodline leads to Jesus, challenging prevailing popular beliefs about his legend in The Historical David.

Baden makes clear that the biblical account of David is an attempt to shape the events of his life politically and theologically. Going beyond the biblical bias, he explores the events that lie behind the David story, events that are grounded in the context of the ancient Near East and continue to inform modern Israel.

The Historical David exposes an ambitious, ruthless, flesh-and-blood man who achieved power by any means necessary, including murder, theft, bribery, sex, deceit, and treason. As Baden makes clear, the historical David stands in opposition not only to the virtuous and heroic legends, but to our very own self-definition as David's national and religious descendants.

Provocative and enlightening, The Historical David provides the lost truth about David and poses a challenge to us: how do we come to terms with the reality of a celebrated hero who was, in fact, similar to the ambitious power-players of his day?
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Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 160.02 x 238.76 x 25.4mm | 430.91g
  • HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • HarperCollins
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0062188313
  • 9780062188311
  • 675,087

Review quote

"For readers open to debating this beloved biblical figure, The Historical David will make compelling reading."--Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
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Back cover copy

David is one of the most celebrated characters in the Bible. We know him as the brave young man who defeated Goliath, the first king of a united Israel, the composer of the beloved Psalms, and, for Christians, the messianic forerunner to Jesus. And yet for all the glory we attribute to David's legend, the historical reality is both fascinating and disturbing.

In The Historical David, Joel Baden reveals that, in David's case, the Bible is political spin, "the goal of which is to absolve David of any potential guilt and to show him in a positive light." Through deep textual analysis, Baden reveals how the historical David has been painstakingly and successfully diminished, replaced by the portrait of a glorious king we are now familiar with.

To question David's legend opens up a debate about what it means to be a descendant of David--be it nationally, ethnically, or religiously. In The Historical David, Baden confronts this challenge, bringing the historical David vibrantly to life, and ultimately revealing that the flesh-and-blood man was far more complex and interesting than the mythical king.
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Rating details

102 ratings
3.73 out of 5 stars
5 27% (28)
4 31% (32)
3 31% (32)
2 7% (7)
1 3% (3)
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