Faithlife Corporation

Business Hours

Monday – Saturday
6 AM – 6 PM PDT
Local: 4:12 PM

Details

On the surface, the book of Ruth tells the tale of an unlikely marriage between a destitute Moabite widow and an upstanding citizen of a Judean village. The deeper import of the story, however, has to do with the internal boundaries that define the people of God. Is Israel a closed community, held together exclusively by bonds of kinship, or a nation that welcomes faithful outsiders into its sphere of belonging? Ruth appropriates marriage as the symbolic vehicle of a transformation in Israel’s self-understanding from a community articulated by Naomi’s declaration that her daughters-in-law marry within their own people, to the acclamations by the people of Bethlehem that endorse Boaz’s marriage to a Moabite.

L. Daniel Hawk undertakes a detailed narrative analysis of Ruth that goes beyond the description of its content and stylistic features to illumine its deep structure and use of metaphor. Informed by contemporary studies on ethnicity, he discovers a work of remarkable sophistication that employs a story of intermarriage to address opposing ideas of Israelite identity. Hawk’s meticulous attention to patterned structures, stylistic devices and characterization reveals the strategy by which the narrator constructs a vision of Israel that looks beyond rigid internal boundaries to the welcome of faithful foreigners as agents of blessing.

Author Bio

Dr. L. Daniel Hawk (PhD, Emory University; MDiv, Asbury Theological Seminary) is professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Ashland Theological Seminary and an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church. Much of his writing focuses on the literary analysis of biblical narratives, with attention to the ways that narrative texts construct corporate identities and grapple with the problem of human and divine violence. These concerns converge in several books on the book of Joshua, including Joshua (Berit Olam, Liturgical Press, 2000) and Joshua in 3-D (Cascade, 2010), as well as in his collaboration on Postcolonial Evangelical Conversations (InterVarsity, 2014). His scholarship finds traction through an active speaking schedule and participation in justice and reconciliation initiatives.