David Remembered: Kingship and National Identity in Ancient Israel

David Remembered: Kingship and National Identity in Ancient Israel

David Remembered: Kingship and National Identity in Ancient Israel

David Remembered: Kingship and National Identity in Ancient Israel

Synopsis

Examines the David theme in the collective mind of ancient Israel and the early church

In this follow-up study to Judaism, The First Phase, Joseph Blenkinsopp traces the development of traditions about David in the collective memory of the people of Israel and the first Christians, from the extinction of the Davidic dynasty in the sixth century B.C.E. to the early common era.

David Remembered is neither a biography of David nor an exegetical study of the biblical narrative about David. Rather, it focuses on the memory of David as a powerful factor in the formation of social identity, in political activity (especially in reaction to imperial rule), and in projections of the future viewed as the restoration of a never-forgotten past.

Excerpt

A historian does not roam about at random through the past, like a
ragman in search of bric-a-brac; rather, he sets out with a specific plan
in mind, a problem to solve, a working hypothesis to test…. To de
scribe what one sees is one thing; but to see that which must be de
scribed, that is the hard part.

My aim in this book is to trace one strand in the social and political life of the people of Israel from the sixth century B.C.E. to the early second century of the common era. the narrative begins with the violent dissolution of the Judean state and the suppression of the Davidic dynasty and ends with the revolts against the Roman Empire in Judea and the Diaspora. the theme is monarchy, the Davidic monarchy, and, more specifically, the part played by David and the dynasty founded by him in the collective memory of the Judean and Jewish people, its impact on actual policies pursued, and its role in visions of the end time — all of this after David and the Davidic dynasty had been swept from the scene, an event narrated in Chapter One. I view this investigation as supplementing my Judaism, the First Phase published in 2009, with the studies on the period in question, referred to

1. Lucien Febvre, Combats pour l’histoire (Paris: Colin, 1992) 8, as cited by Carlo Ginzburg, The Judge and the Historian, trans. Antony Shugaar (London: Verso, 1999) 35-36.

2. Judaism, the First Phase: the Place of Ezra and Nehemiah in the Origins of Judaism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009).

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