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Hannah’s Desire, God’s Design: Early Interpretations of the Story of Hannah

Hannah’s Desire, God’s Design: Early Interpretations of the Story of Hannah

Joan E. Cook

| Sheffield Academic Press | 1999

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This study analyzes the biblical personage Hannah as a literary entity, to illustrate her uniquely significant place in the traditions of Israel as the mother of Samuel and thus of the reform of the priesthood, the creation of the monarchy, and the teacher of all Israel. There are three interweaving themes: first, the literary issue of the barren mother type scene; second, the theological theme of divine guidance and human initiative; and third, the perspectives of early biblical interpretation. The study develops around four works: the Hannah narrative in 1 Samuel 1–2, Pseudo-Philo’s Biblical Antiquities, the Targum of the Prophets, and the Infancy Narrative in Luke 1–2.