SBL International Auckland – Day 2
Posted by NT Wrong on July 8, 2008
Today I heard the most exciting paper at the conference so far, from Klaas Spronk. He produced a number of different yet converging lines of evidence which convincingly made the case that the book of Judges was written as a post-dtr ‘link’ between Joshua and Samuel. Judges would be a substantial unity, drawing both from Samuel and Joshua in order to construct its stories about judges. His evidence included a list of toponymic correspondences, the use of שאל באלהים as a leitmotiv, a number of aspects of the Samson episode, together with a heightening of the miraculous and exaggeration of prescriptions from Samuel to Judges. He also pointed to a number of Greek elements in Judges, including the names Sisera and Yael, the ‘300’ (and he mentioned the movie), and the cutting off of thumbs, found throughout the book — which makes it comparable to the writings of Berossos and Manetho.
Tim Bulkeley gave a good paper on the coherence of David’s story, focussing on נכה as a leitmotiv for the David stories. Amongst the highlights, he described David as “a killing machine who kills on behalf of God”. The tragic downfall of David occurred when David no longer killed on behalf of God, but did so for his own purposes (against Uriah). So the rest of the story is analysable through this lens. Tim Bulkeley came out with the best metaphor to describe the ‘David cake’: smiting is the flour that holds the series of stories together; sex and love is the fruit and nuts that gives it a bit of extra spice (or something to that effect). He rightly criticised the tendency to transform the tragedy (rise and fall) into a comedy by artificially dividing it into two separate stories of rises of two separate kings (David and Solomon) — to a great extent because we moderns don’t like unhappy endings.
George Athas offered a critique of Diana Edelman’s recent redating of Zerubbabel to 460BC rather than 520BC. With some altered assumptions, he demonstrated how Zerubbabel could still be easily dated to 520BC. The remainder of his paper offered an interesting explanation both for the disappearance of Zerubbabel in Zechariah (by suggesting that he had been deposed by the Persians due to some behaviour of his considered to be questionable) and also for the crowning of Joshua (as replacement for Zerubbabel). On the way, he addressed a few possible objections to such theories as his.
It was a nice sunny winter’s day today.
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