David, Saul, and God: Rediscovering and Ancient Story

Hardcover | April 25, 2008

byPaul Borgman

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The biblical story of King David and his conflict with King Saul (1 and 2 Samuel) is one of the most colorful and perennially popular in the Hebrew Bible. In recent years this story has attracted a great deal of scholarly attention, much of it devoted to showing that David was a far lessheroic character than appears on the surface. Indeed, more than one has painted David as a despicable tyrant. Paul Borgman provides a counter-reading to these studies, through an attentive reading of the narrative patterns of the text. He focuses on one of the key features of ancient Hebrewnarrative poetics -- repeated patterns -- taking special note of even the small variations each time a pattern recurs. He argues that such 'hearing cues' would have alerted an ancient audience to the answers to such questions as 'Who is David?' and 'What is so wrong with Saul?' The narrative insistson such questions, says Borgman, slowly disclosing answers through patterns of repeated scenarios and dominant motifs that yield, finally, the supreme work of storytelling in ancient literature. Borgman concludes with a comparison with Homer's storytelling technique, demontrating that the Davidstory is indeed a masterpiece and David (as Baruch Halpern has said) 'the first truly modern human.'

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The biblical story of King David and his conflict with King Saul (1 and 2 Samuel) is one of the most colorful and perennially popular in the Hebrew Bible. In recent years this story has attracted a great deal of scholarly attention, much of it devoted to showing that David was a far lessheroic character than appears on the surface. Ind...

Paul Borgman is a Professor of English at Gordon College.

other books by Paul Borgman

Genesis: The Story We HavenT Heard
Genesis: The Story We HavenT Heard

Paperback|Sep 20 2006

$26.42 online$29.69list price(save 11%)
Format:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.98 inPublished:April 25, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195331605

ISBN - 13:9780195331608

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"In an era of numerous deconstructions and reconstructions of the Hebrew Bible's David, Paul Borgman has produced a detailed and thoughtful close reading of the accounts found in Samuel and the opening of Kings...While engaging fully with recent literary scholarship on Saul and David, Borgman sets out in a fruitful direction of his own, examining the larger sweep of the narrative and fully incorporating such oft-misunderstood sections as the 'appendix' of II Sam. 2124. In helping us to see David in both his unabated complexity and his ability to grow morally, Borgman makes new sense of texts which are often viewed as ambiguous or contradictory. His reading illuminates Saul, David, and above all, the God of the Bible." --Everett Fox, Allen M. Glick Professor of Judaic and Biblical Studies, Clark University, and author of The Five Books of Moses: A New English Translation with Commentary and Notes "In a literary reading of the books of Samuel, Borgman makes special use of both small and large patterns of repetition to develop his view of David. He sets it over against other depictions of David, especially those presenting a dark, questionable David. His book is an excellent introduction to the complexity of the biblical portrait of David and to the contemporary study of biblical narrative." --Peter D. Miscall, author of 1 Samuel and Reading Isaiah "Borgman undertakes an important study of the narratives in which he lays out, in an astute way, the artistic patterns that shape the narrative in quite intentional ways. While Borgman of course cannot offer any 'final interpretation, ' his scholarship opens new ways of seeing and reading, and is a welcome contribution to a growingliterature." --Walter Brueggemann, Professor Emeritus, Columbia Theological Seminary, and author of First and Second Samuel