This three-volume set uses an exegetical and literary approach to the historical narrative of the book of Judges, providing useful commentary and analysis for understanding this book of the Old Testament. It covers a myriad of scholastic topics, such as cultural and theological contexts, the use of traditions in religious practices, and examining the text from a literary and narrative standpoint, including irony, plot, resolution, audience, and character development. The collection also discusses the historical importance and overall meaning of the book of Judges. The authors, each well-known in their specific fields, bring meaningful commentary and analysis to continuing academic discussion of this historic piece of Biblical literature.
This is a vigorous collection that will aid the general reader as well as students and professor interested in learning more about the structure and significance of this key book of the Old Testament. Studies on Judges (3 Vols.) contains extensive notes, bibliographies, appendixes, and indexes to guide study and understanding.
Critical and literary analysis of the book of Judges
This study uses the sacred traditions of Dan in Judges 17–18 as a springboard for an examination of the nature of the pre-exilic cult at Dan and in the Northern Kingdom in general, with particular reference its Ancient Near Eastern context.
An introduction reviews previous scholarship, and concludes that the cultic aspects of Judges 17–18 have not been examined in any depth. It then goes on to deal with the historical and redactional issues which previous scholars have found interesting. The issues of provenance and dating are then examined with the conclusion that the text was written down in the immediate aftermath of the Assyrian conquest of Dan in an attempt to preserve its sacred traditions. The text therefore reflects the self-understanding of the priests of Dan in the period immediately prior to its fall. The text of Judges 17–18 is then subjected to a rhetorical critical examination, followed by a more traditional form critical study.
The next section is a comparison of similar cultic foundation stories from other cultures. Three major chapters examine the three major cultic issues raised by the text itself: images, priests and divination. Each chapter draws on evidence from the Hebrew Bible and its environment in an attempt to clarify the nature of the cult of Dan. Broadly, each chapter concludes that although there were some features peculiar to the cult reflected by Dan, in general, the Danite cult was not greatly different from that of its neighbors. A final chapter deals with what the text says about the tribe of Levi, with the conclusion that according to Judges 17–18, there was once a secular tribe of Levi. The conclusion draws a brief picture of cultic life in Dan in its final years.
Jason S. Bray is a training officer in the Diocese of Monmouth, Old Testament Tutor on the South Wales Ordination Course, and a regular reviewer of books on Hebrew religion for the Journal of Theological Studies.
Academic Barry Webb presents a holistic view of the book of Judges. He discusses the book and its significance as a book of the Old Testament from an exegetical standpoint. Webb believes that the book of Judges can be read as a distinct classic piece of literature. He begins by giving a rationale for his line of thinking, then divides his argument in four parts:
Barry G. Webb is Senior Research Fellow at Moore College and a visiting scholar and lecturer at Trinity College Bristol and Regent College Vancouver.
The Triumph of Irony in the Book of Judges focuses on the literary quality of the book of Judges. Klein extrapolates the theme of irony in the book of Judges, seeking to prove that it is the main structural element. She points out how this literary device adds to the overall meaning and tone of the book, and what it reveals about the culture of the time. Chronologically divided into sections, Klein explores the narrative and commentates on the literary properties throughout, such as plot, character development, and resolution, as well as the main theme of irony. This volume includes notes, bibliography, and indexes to guide research and study.
Lillian R. Klein (1923-1997) received her Ph.D. in English literature from University of California, Irvine Campus, and her M.S.B.A. from Boston University. She taught literature, specializing in Bible, at the University of Maryland, Munich Campus, for twenty years before returning to the United States to teach at American University.