Society and the Promise to David: The Reception History of 2 Samuel 7:1-17

Society and the Promise to David: The Reception History of 2 Samuel 7:1-17

Society and the Promise to David: The Reception History of 2 Samuel 7:1-17

Society and the Promise to David: The Reception History of 2 Samuel 7:1-17

Synopsis

In the second book of Samuel, the prophet Nathan tells King David that God will give to him and his descendants a great and everlasting kingdom. In this study Schniedewind looks at how this dynastic Promise has been understood and transmitted from the time of its first appearance at the inception of the Hebrew monarchy until the dawn of Christianity. He shows in detail how, over the centuries, the Promise grew in importance and prestige. One measure of this growing importance was the Promise's ability to coax new readers into fresh interpretations.

Excerpt

Written words seem to talk to you as though they were intelligent, but if you ask them anything about what they say, from a desire to be instructed, they go on telling you just the same thing forever. and once a thing is put in writing, the composition, whatever it may be, drifts all over the place... --Plato to Phaedrus

We are socially conditioned. I am no exception. the present study is the result of a long interest in the influence of society on interpretation. the interest in this subject goes back to my days as an undergraduate at George Fox University where I was challenged to think socially. It was there that I was led--somewhat inadvertently--into the study of the world of the Bible. This volume also reflects years that I spent rambling around Israel and studying historical geography with Anson Rainey and James Monson, who constantly reminded me "to think with my feet on the ground." It was especially wandering about in Jim's Land Rover that I began to envision the world of ancient Israel. Finally, the present study was shaped by my teachers at Brandeis University, particularly, Michael Fishbane who inspired me to imagine the world and Marc Brettler who honed my critical skills. I have picked up so much from so many that I sometimes think my work might be likened to a pack rat. Hopefully, there is something original in the way that I have pulled it all together. Michael Fishbane was an inspiration for much of what I have done here, although I developed his inner-biblical approach with my own particular sociohistorical twist. He kindly read the manuscript, offered insights, and encouraged me to move in my own directions. Marc Brettler carefully read the manuscript and offered innumerable suggestions that immeasurably improved the manuscript. I wish to thank Ben Sommer, Marv Sweeney, and Michael Rosenbaum for their insights into Isaianic literature, intertextuality, and social dynamics. James Monson was a sounding board for whatever geopolitical insights may be found. Anson Rainey, Sy Gitin, Andy Vaughn, Anne Killebrew, Steve Rosen, Gabi Barkay, and John Monson sharpened my thinking in several areas dealing with the archaeology of ancient Israel. I wish to express special thanks to John Monson who offered me his expertise in archaeology, stimulating discussion, and his friendship. Steve Weitzman stimulated my thinking on issues of theory and method. Daniel Smith-Christopher was a sounding board and fount of insight on the application of sociological methods and the problems of cultural exegesis.

Colleagues at ucla have often sharpened my perceptions on issues. in particular, I wish to thank Antonio Loprieno and Arnold Band for their stimulating discussions on literary theory, Liz Carter for her archaeological insights, and Richard Leventhal for his critiques of archaeology. My students were constantly subjected to my ruminations on the Promise to David and Israelite society and contributed in many ways. New technologies, particularly the ane discussion list administrated by Charles Jones at the Oriental Institute, have also provided a . . .

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