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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Prayers and the Construction of Israelite Identity
Gillmayr-Bucher, Susanne and Maria Häusl, editors

Atlanta: SBL Press, 2019 pp. xii + 256. $35.95

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Description: The collected essays of this book provide substantial insights into various identity discourses reflected in the biblical prayers of the Persian and Early Hellenistic periods. They explore the role and function of prayers from different biblical books for the shaping of identity and show how these prayers evoke a sense of belonging to specific groups—e.g. the righteous, the pious, the poor, Israel etc.—and add emotional significance to this affiliation. The essays offer examples of different biblical texts, including the psalms, the books of Genesis, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, as well as the prophet Jonah and Daniel. They also approach the questions from different perspectives, showing how prayers play a key role for the construction of a biblical book, how biblical figures are characterized by prayers, and how these prayers shape and modify the discourses on identity. Contributors include Hannes Bezzel, Dirk J, Human, Scott C. Jones, Melody D. Knowles, Christo Lombaard, Michael D. Matlock, Ndikho Mtshiselwa, and Nancy Rahn.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Literature, Methods, Literary Approaches, Social-Scientific Approaches

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Review by Carol A. Newsom
Published 7/30/2020
Citation: Carol A. Newsom, review of Susanne Gillmayr-Bucher and Maria Häusl, eds., Prayers and the Construction of Israelite Identity, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2020).

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