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The biblical book of Judges contains culturally familiar stories such as that of Samson and Delilah and Deborah and Baraq. But despite the popularity of these stories, other important stories in Judges such as that of Achsah, the raped pilegesh, and the final civil war are virtually unknown to the average reader.

Approaching Judges as a unified literary document, Tammi Schneider shows that the unity of the narrative reveals that when the Israelites adhere to the covenant established with their deity they prosper, but when they stray from it disaster follows. This is true not only in the Deuteronomistic refrains, as is recognized by many scholars, but in the whole book, and is reflected in Israel’s worsening situation throughout its narrative time.

Schneider also highlights the unifying themes in Judges. She emphasizes the role of gender, family relations, and theology expressed in the biblical narrative, and uses intertextuality to better understand the text of Judges and its context in the Deuteronomistic history and the Hebrew Bible.

Author Bio

Tammi J. Schneider teaches ancient history (covering Mesopotamia, Syria-Palestine, Egypt, Anatolia and the Aegean from the third millennium to the end of the first), ancient Near Eastern languages and literature, archaeology (primarily of Israel), and women in the Hebrew Bible (Genesis, Judges, Samuel). Her research draws together the varied fields of archaeology, Assyriology, and biblical studies in an effort to understand the ancient Near East, especially the interactions among various peoples. Additionally, she is interested in the role of women in the Hebrew Bible. Schneider has worked on numerous archaeological excavations including Miqne/Ekron, Tel es-Safi, and Tel Herasim, and currently co-directs excavations at Tell el-Far’ah (South) in Israel as a project director for the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity. Her publications include “Rethinking Jehu” in Biblica 77.1 (1996); Form and Context in the Royal Inscriptions of Shalmaneser II; a commentary on the book of Judges for the Liturgical Press Berit Olam series (2000); and her latest work, Sarah: Mother of Nations, published by Continuum in 2004. Currently, she is working on two books: a monograph about women in the book of Genesis and an introduction to Mesopotamian religion.