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David's Secret Demons

Paperback|Feb 2004
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$105.00

The Bible portrays King David as an exceptional man and a paragon of godly devotion. But was he? Some scholars deny that he existed at all. Did he? This challenging book examines the written and archaeological evidence critically in an...


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The Bible portrays King David as an exceptional man and a paragon of godly devotion. But was he? Some scholars deny that he existed at all. Did he? This challenging book examines the written and archaeological evidence critically in an effort to paint an accurate picture of one of the Bible's central figures.^Neither defending nor rejecting the traditions about David, Baruch Halpern, a leading scholar of biblical history and the ancient Near East, traces the origins and development of David's persona. Because the biblical text clearly responds to concerns that can only be contemporary with David himself, we can believe that David was both real and a central actor in the historical drama of ancient Israel. Yet at the same time, the written record also shows that contemporaries understood David's character to be much more unsavory than the tradition has hitherto allowed.^Halpern digs beneath the layers of tradition to understand David as an individual, as a person. The man he uncovers turns outto have been complex, ambiguous, and--above all--surprising. According to Halpern, the image of David grew over time. He was the founder of the dynasty that perpetuated the texts about him, and they progressively exaggerated his accomplishments. But in the earliest writings David remains a modest figure, as this book shows for the first time. To understand David as a human being, one must keep in mind that he was primarily a politician who operated in a rough-and-tumble environment in which competitors were ready literally to slit throats.^Halpern's work raises many provocative questions: Was David an Israelite or a Philistine? Was Solomon really David's son? Did David take the throne ofIsrael by the consent or against the will of the people? How many murders did he commit on his way to the crown? Indeed, was David someone it would have been wise to even invite to dinner? The challenging arguments in "David's Se
-Publisher

"The Bible Portrays King David as an exceptional man and a paragon of godly devotion. But was he? Some scholars deny that he existed at all. Did he? This challenging book examines the written and archaeological evidence critically in an effort to paint an accurate picture of one of the Bible's central figures."--BOOK JACKET. From The Critics Library Journal Halpern (Jewish studies, Pennsylvania State Univ.) has given us a scholarly, fascinating, and controversial study of the figure of David in the Hebrew Scriptures. He does not doubt the actual existence of a historical figure named David, as does Thomas Thompson in his Early History of the Israelite People (Brill, 2001). However, he argues that the historical David was a far different person than the one pictured in 1 and 2 Second Samuel. The controversial nature of this study can be seen in the title of one of the chapters: "King David, Serial Killer." Halpern presents a close textual analysis of the stories about David in 1 Samuel
-Publisher

Biblical tradition portrays King David as an exceptional man and a paragon of godly devotion. But was he? Some scholars deny that he existed at all. Did he? This challenging book examines the textual and archaeological evidence critically in an effort to paint an accurate picture of one of the Bible's central figures. A leading scholar of biblical history and the ancient Near East, Baruch Halpern traces the development of the David tradition, showing how the image of David grew over time. According to Halpern, David was the founder of the dynasty that progressively exaggerated his accomplishments. Halpern's clear portrait of the historical David reveals his true humanity and shows him to be above all a politician who operated in a rough-and-tumble environment in which competitors were ready literally to slit throats. David's Secret Demons explores a number of provocative questions: Did King David actually exist? Was David an Israelite or a Philistine? Was Solomon really David's son? Did David take the throne of Israel by the consent of the people? How many murders did he commit on his way to the throne? Are the biblical texts about David reliable? Challenging, well argued, and written with accessible, at times humorous prose, David's Secret Demons will provoke discussion by scholars and general readers alike
-Publisher

PRODUCT DETAIL
  • Catalogue Code 210629
  • Product Code 0802827977
  • EAN 9780802827975
  • Pages 492
  • Department Academic
  • Category Biblical Studies
  • Sub-Category General
  • Publisher Eerdmans
  • Publication Date Feb 2004
  • Dimensions 231 x 160 x 26mm
  • Weight 0.716kg

Baruch Halpern

Halpern holds the Chaiken Family Chair in Jewish Studies and is professor of ancient history, classics and ancient Mediterranean studies, and religious studies at Pennsylvania State University.

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