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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Why Did They Write This Way?: Reflections on References to Written Documents in the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Literature
Stott, Katherine M.

New York: T&T Clark, 2008 pp. xiv + 162. $115.00

Series Information
Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies, 492


Description: This book examines the character and function of the documents mentioned in the biblical texts in relation to comparable references in literature from wider antiquity. Citing various references to written documents in the Hebrew Bible, Stott takes into consideration both those references that may point to external sources, for example, the many literary citations in the books of Kings and Chronicles, as well as certain other documents that play a role in the narrative, such as "the book of the law" in 2 Kings, the scrolls of Jeremiah, and the tablets of the law. The aim of this study is not to determine to which texts external to the world of the narrative, if any, these documents refer, or to identify the content of these documents, or to reconstruct their origins and historical development. Instead, the primary focus is to understand these references within their literary context, asking why indeed they are mentioned at all and what purpose they serve in the narrative, regardless of whether they existed or not in the "external world", or whether the stories about them have basis in historical reality "as it happened."

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Literature

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Review by Werner H. Kelber
Published 6/1/2009
Citation: Werner H. Kelber, review of Katherine M. Stott, Why Did They Write This Way?: Reflections on References to Written Documents in the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Literature, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2009).


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