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Literary Studies In The Hebrew Bible Form And Content


Bibliographic information

TitleLiterary Studies In The Hebrew Bible Form And Content
PublisherVarda Books
Publication Date2009


In the studies collected in this volume, the author aims at highlighting salient literary modes which can be identified in the books of the Hebrew Bible. The application of such modes is illustrated by analysing the biblical writers' technique of underscoring the concurrency of events by splitting a narrative account, intersplicing it with a second account, and then resuming the first. Thus they steer clear of conveying the impression of a chronological succession of the events in question which would be unavoidable in a one-line sequential presentation.

A reinvestigation of the question whether biblical literature ever knew a 'national epic' culminates in the conclusion that ancient Israel rejected this Gallung because of its intrinsic affiliation with pagan cults. In its stead it developed the genre of the 'historiographical psalm'.

In a group of studies, identifiable literary traits are brought to bear on the investigation of principles and problems relating to the 'comparative approach' in biblical exegesis. Initial methodological considerations are illustrated by their application to the analysis of aspects pertaining to the spheres of religion and myth, such as 'divine kingship', 'navel of the earth', and 'repha'im/rpu(i)m', and to social and political phenomena, such as 'nomadism', 'desert ideal', and 'democratic'institutions.

In a concluding analysis, the book of Esther, is shown to be woven around a literary core which narratively illuminates the applicability of proverbial wisdom teachings to the handling of actual life situations.

These essays will be of interest to scholars and students of the Bible, theology, sociology of religion, and comparative literature.

About the Author 


J.L Magnes Chair Emeritus of Biblical Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he is an editor of the Hebrew University Bible Project and its annual Textus and also edited several coauthored volumes, most recently Jewish Civilization in the Hellenistic Roman Period (199 I).

He has published numerous essays in scholarly journals, festschriften and memorial volumes. Collections of his studies were published under the titles "King, Cult and Calendar in Ancient Israel" (1986), "Gesellschaft and Literatur in der Hebraischen Bible" (1988), "The World of Qumran From Within" (1989), "Juden und Christen im Gesprach" (1992). A volume of his Studies in "The Textual Transmission of the Hebrew Bible" and "Motif and Message in the Hebrew Bible" are soon to be released.

Professor Talmon is a past fellow of the Institute (or Advanced Studies, Jerusalem; the National Humanities Center, North Carolina, U.S.A., and the Annenberg Institute, Philadelphia, Pa. as well as a former visiting professor at Brandeis, Harvard, Berkeley, Vanderbilt and Heidelberg universities.


New Page 1

Preface 7

The Comparative Method in Biblical Interpretation: Principles and Problems 11

The "Navel of the Earth" and the Comparative Method 50

Biblical רפאים and Ugaritic RPUlI(M) 76

Did There Exist a Biblical National Epic? 91

The Presentation of Synchroneity and Simultaneity in Biblical Narrative 112

Polemics and Apology in Biblical Historiography: 2 Kings 17:24-41 134

Eschatology and History in Biblical Thought 160

The Concept of Revelation in Biblical Times 192

The Desert Motif in the Bible and in Qumran Literature 216

"Wisdom" in the Book of Esther 255

Indices 291

Sources 293

Authors 307

List of Abbreviations 314

Acknowledgements 318

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