Linville argues that a new approach to the book of Kings is needed because of the failings of the usual historical–critical methods. He adopts a holistic approach which sees the book as a Persian-era text intended to articulate politically and religiously significant symbols within the book’s monarchic history. These express the producer’s reactions to important issues of Jewish identity in the continuing Diaspora and in Jerusalem. In the story of the schisms and apostasies of Israel’s defunct monarchies both the Diaspora and cultural pluralism are legitimized. Rival versions of Israelite heritage are reconciled under an overarching sense of a greater Israelite history and identity.
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James Richard Linville is an assistant professor of religious studies in the department of religious sudies at the University of Lethbridge in Canada.