Kingship and Memory in Ancient Judah

ISBN : 9780190499907

Ian Wilson
320 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Feb 2017
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The book addresses the question of how postmonarchic society in ancient Judah remembered and imagined its monarchy, and kingship in general, as part of its past, present, and future. How did Judeans of the early Second Temple period conceive of the monarchy? By way of a thorough analysis of Judean discourse in this era, Kingship and Memory in Ancient Judah argues that ancient Judeans had no single way of remembering and imagining kingship. In fact, their memory and imaginary was thoroughly multivocal, and necessarily so. Judean historiographical literature evinces a mindset that was unsure of the monarchic past and how to understand it-multiple viewpoints were embraced and brought into conversation with one another. Similarly, prophetic literature, which drew on the discursive themes of the remembered past, envisions a variety of outcomes for kingship's future. Historiographical and prophetic literature thus existed in a kind of feedback loop, enabling, informing, and balancing each other's various understandings of kingship as part of Judean society and life. Through its investigation of kingship in Judean discourse, this monograph contributes to our knowledge of literature and literary culture in ancient Judah and also makes a significant contribution to questions of history and historiographical method in biblical studies.


1. Ancient Judah and Its Literature: Remembering and Imagining Kingship
§ Judean Literature and Its Sociocultural Setting
§ Judean Literati of the Early Second Temple Era
§ Kingship Discourse among the Literati
§ Memory, Remembering, Imagining: Past, Present, and Future in Society and Culture
§ Social Memory and Narrativity: A Good Working Relationship
§ Moving Forward
2. Torah and Its Guardians
§ The Law of the King's Deuteronomic Setting
§ The Law of the King and Its Interlocutors
§ Moses and Joshua, Kings and Conquerors: Revising Monarchy in a Postmonarchic Milieu
§ The Law of the King as a Mnemonic Frame
3. Cruxes of Leadership: The Transition(s) to Monarchy
§ Setting Up Samuel
§ The Trouble with Transitions
§ Gideon and Abimelech: Serious Family Issues
§ The Aporia of Samuel, Dynasty, and Divine Promises
§ Yahweh, Samuel, Saul: Rivalries of Political Identification in 1 Samuel 8-12
§ Outcomes of Rivalry and Aporia: Kingship's Beginnings in Israel
§ To the Heart of the Issue
4. Remembering/Forgetting David and Davidic Kingship
§ David as Character, Plot, Narrative in Samuel-Kings and Judah's Social Memory
§ Chronicles and Samuel-Kings: Both among the Literati
§ And the Rest of the Story? The Potentials and Outcomes of Davidic Kingship in Solomon's Narrative
§ On Book Endings, Davidic Kingship, and Judean Metanarratives
5. The Remembered Future in Prophetic Literature
§ From Prophets and Prophecy to the Prophetic Book
§ King Yahweh
§ The Hedging of David
§ King Israel
§ Historical Consciousness, Metahistory, and the Prophetic Book
6. To Conclude: The Emplotments of Kingship and § The Rhyming of Kingship: An Outline
§ Future Prospects

About the author: 

Ian D. Wilson teaches religious studies at the University of Alberta's Augustana Campus, where he is also Associate Director of the Chester Ronning Centre for the Study of Religion and Public Life. His work has appeared in publications such as Harvard Theological Review, Vetus Testamentum, and Zeitschrift fur die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, and recently he co-edited the volume History, Memory, Hebrew Scriptures: A Festschrift for Ehud Ben Zvi.

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