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Is Samuel among the Deuteronomists? Current Views on the Place of Samuel in a Deuteronomistic History

Is Samuel among the Deuteronomists? Current Views on the Place of Samuel in a Deuteronomistic History

Cynthia Edenburg
Juha Pakkala
  • Book Info
    Is Samuel among the Deuteronomists? Current Views on the Place of Samuel in a Deuteronomistic History
    Book Description:

    The book of Samuel tells the story of the origins of kingship in Israel in what seems to be an artistically structured, flowing narrative. Yet it is also marked by an inconsistent outlook, divergent styles, and breaks in the narrative. According to Noth’s Deuteronomistic History hypothesis, the Deuteronomistic historian constructed the narrative by piecing together early sources and generally refrained from commenting in his own voice. Recent studies have called into question the extent of Samuel’s sources and their redaction history, as well as the textual growth of the book as a whole. The essays in this book, representing the latest scholarship on this subject, reexamine whether the book of Samuel was ever part of a Deuteronomistic History. The contributors are A. Graeme Auld, Hannes Bezzel, Philip R. Davies, Walter Dietrich, Cynthia Edenburg, Jeremy M. Hutton, Jürg Hutzli, Ernst Axel Knauf, Reinhard Müller, Richard D. Nelson, Christophe Nihan, K. L. Noll, Juha Pakkala, and Jacques Vermeylen.

    eISBN: 978-1-58983-639-6
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

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  1. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  2. Abbreviations
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Is Samuel among the Deuteronomists?
    (pp. 1-16)
    Cynthia Edenburg and Juha Pakkala

    According to Martin Noth, all the books from Deuteronomy to 2 Kings were written by one author or editor, who combined various traditions into a coherent literary work that presented the history of Israel and Judah from Moses till the destruction of the Judean monarchy. Although Deuteronomistic redactions had been recognized in many books of the Hebrew Bible since early critical research in the nineteenth century, Noth argued that the same author was behind all the Deuteronomistic redactions¹ or additions in the books from Deuteronomy to 2 Kings. This redaction aimed to create unity and continuity of the traditions that...

  4. The Deuteronomistic Historian in Samuel: “The Man behind the Green Curtain”
    (pp. 17-38)
    Richard D. Nelson

    The first time Dorothy and her companions are permitted an audience with the Wizard of Oz, he appears amid smoke and flames as a disembodied head speaking in a booming voice. On their return to the Wizard’s audience room, however, Dorothy’s dog Toto pulls open a green curtain concealing a small booth. The Wizard turns out to be an ordinary man from Kansas, speaking into a microphone and frantically manipulating dials, switches, and levers to control an awesome projected image. For a moment, he tries to carry off the deception. Covering up with the curtain he bellows: “The Great Oz...

  5. The Layer Model of the Deuteronomistic History and the Book of Samuel
    (pp. 39-66)
    Walter Dietrich

    Martin Noth had no doubt that the book of Samuel was a central constituent of the vast Deuteronomistic History, created by the “Deuteronomist” (Dtr), an author and redactor of the mid-exilic period, embracing the books from Deuteronomy to Kings. In fact, it took Noth less than fourteen pages to prove this part of his thesis.¹ According to him, since the Deuteronomist could draw upon material that already was arranged in the present order, it was only necessary to interfere in comparatively few passages. The Deuteronomist saw in Eli and Samuel the last two “judges” of Israel and treated their time...

  6. The Book of Samuel within the Deuteronomistic History
    (pp. 67-92)
    Jacques Vermeylen

    The reception of Martin Noth’s hypothesis concerning the Deuteronomistic History¹ underwent three successive stages: first considerable approval, then various proposed distinctions between redactional layers, and, finally, questions about its fundamental pertinence.² Here, the main objection concerns the literary and theological coherence of an editorial project covering the story of Israel and Judah from Deuteronomy to the end of the book of Kings.³ The book of Samuel has a reputation of being a weak link in this chain.⁴

    If the book of Samuel is not a part of the whole, or became so only at a late stage, the entire theory...

  7. Reading Deuteronomy after Samuel; Or, Is “Deuteronomistic” a Good Answer to Any Samuel Question?
    (pp. 93-104)
    A. Graeme Auld

    This paper seeks to further an argument about the (so-called) “Deuteronomistic History,” which I have been developing over more than twenty years. My perspective on the development of the book of Samuel¹ has points of similarity with two deservedly prominent accounts. With Thomas Römer, I detect three principal stages in the writing of 1–2 Samuel;² and with John Van Seters, I see the David story in these books as the result of expansive rewriting of a much shorter and more positive account of David.³ For the sake of clarity, the case advanced here will build on discussion with these...

  8. 1 Samuel and the “Deuteronomistic History”
    (pp. 105-118)
    Philip R. Davies

    In this essay I shall argue that 1 Samuel is central to the creation of biblical historiography and central also to the historical question of biblical “Israel.” The historical question, however, cannot be answered without the literary, or the literary without the historical. Much as contemporary archaeologists would like to create a purely archaeological account of the history of ancient Israel, they cannot do so. Nor, do I believe, is it satisfactory to create a literary-historical account of the formation of the book without any regard to what is known of the historical contexts of the societies from which it...

  9. Is the Scroll of Samuel Deuteronomistic?
    (pp. 119-148)
    K. L. Noll

    Anyone who hopes to answer the question in this essay’s title requires a definition for “Deuteronomism.” Formulation of a definition is hampered by difficulties that I am not able to dwell upon in this context.¹ I prefer a pragmatically minimalist definition: a text is a Deuteronomistic text if, and only if, it contains words or phrases that can be demonstrated to be dependent upon the book of Deuteronomy and the text also expresses the ideology of Deuteronomy.

    This definition rules out many passages routinely identified as Deuteronomistic. For example, texts in which a house or “ lamp” for David is...

  10. Samuel among the Prophets: “Prophetical Redactions” in Samuel
    (pp. 149-170)
    Ernst Axel Knauf

    The book of Samuel is placed in the (Former) Prophets following Judges and leading into Kings. It consists of 1,506 verses¹ and ranks in length after Psalms (2,527 verses), Chronicles (1,765 verses), Genesis (1,534 verses), and Kings (1,534 verses). The narrative sequence Joshua–Kings (actually, Genesis–Kings) was implicitly understood as “historiography” by the Chroniclers (third–second centuries B.C.E.)² and has been explicitly viewed as historiography since the time of Josephus (C. Ap.1.37–43). Only recently Western scholars have started to ponder the question why this “historiography” was included in the division of the Prophets in the Hebrew Bible....

  11. The Distinctness of the Samuel Narrative Tradition
    (pp. 171-206)
    Jürg Hutzli

    The question whether the book of Samuel is Deuteronomistic implies several distinct questions and problems. Scholars agree that Samuel contains texts with Deuteronomistic themes and language, but such texts are rather rare and are considered late. In comparison with the other books of the presumed “Deuteronomistic History” (DtrH), it is striking that the book of Samuellacks a visible Deuteronomistic editorial structurecovering the main part of the book like that in Judges and Kings. Furthermore, the prominent Deuteronomistic themes like the possession of the land (important in Joshua, Kings), the centralization of cult (predominant in Deuteronomy, Kings), or the...

  12. 1 Samuel 1 as the Opening Chapter of the Deuteronomistic History?
    (pp. 207-224)
    Reinhard Müller

    Although models of a coherent first Deuteronomistic layer from Deuteronomy to Kings are defended until the present day,¹ this assumption often has been criticized, especially because of the differences between the redactional elements in Judges and Kings. In this regard, Martin Noth’s ground breaking theory was called into question already by Gerhard von Rad, who stressed these differences and their theological implications: The main difference between the two books is in method and presentation. In the Book of Kings we find nothing of the cycles of apostasy, enemy oppression, repentance, and deliverance which Israel passes through in Judges. In contrast,...

  13. 1 Samuel 8 and 12 and the Deuteronomistic Edition of Samuel
    (pp. 225-274)
    Christophe Nihan

    Chapters 8 and 12 of 1 Samuel frame the story of Saul’s rise to kingship in 1 Sam 9–11 by recounting the people’s request for a king (1 Sam 8) and its eventual outcome as expressed in a long farewell speech by the prophet Samuel (1 Sam 12). It has long been observed that these two chapters stand out from the remaining material in 1 Sam 8–12, first because they appear to introduce a much more critical view of kingship and second because they display a greater number of “Deuteronomistic” terms, expressions, or motifs than do chapters 9–11...

  14. “Long Live the King!”: Deuteronomism in 1 Sam 10:17–27a in Light of Ahansali Intratribal Mediation
    (pp. 275-324)
    Jeremy M. Hutton

    The antiquity and authenticity of the traditions concerning the establishment of the monarchy in 1 Sam 7–12 are debated widely and with little consensus.¹ Several layers of redaction in these chapters have been proposed, yet they remain some of the most complex and difficult passages in the Hebrew Bible to separate source critically. In this paper, I intend to reanalyze the redaction history of the so-called “late” or “antimonarchic” source (1 Sam 7:2–8:22 + 10:17–27a + 12:1–25) from a socio-anthropological perspective, focusing primarily on the central episode of this tradition, 1 Sam 10:17–27a. Although the...

  15. The Numerous Deaths of King Saul
    (pp. 325-348)
    Hannes Bezzel

    When it comes to questions concerning the Deuteronomistic History, the figure of and the stories about King Saul seem to be anything but a good test case for any overarching hypotheses. Even Martin Noth—who provided the basis for distinguishing between texts that his single Deuteronomistic author had penned himself and the sources that he had at hand—could not find many traces of this author’s work in the material dealing with Saul. In fact, he ascribed to this Deuteronomist only the two short notes in 1 Sam 13:1 and 2 Sam 2:10a, 11 that deal with the length of...

  16. Contributors
    (pp. 349-352)
  17. Index of Ancient Sources
    (pp. 353-366)
  18. Index of Authors
    (pp. 367-372)