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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

The Fate of Justice and Righteousness During David's Reign: Narrative Ethics and Rereading the Court History According to 2 Samuel 8:15-20:26
Smith, Richard G.

New York: T&T Clark, 2009 pp. xviii + 274. $135.00

Series Information
Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies, 508

Description: This work argues that 2 Sam 8:15-20:26 is a literary unit designed to show how David and his house failed to establish 'justice and righteousness' during David's reign over all Israel. After an introductory chapter and a chapter on critical methodology the rest of the work is a close reading of 2 Sam 8:15-20:26 that pays special attention to narrative ethics. Chapter 3 makes a case for reading 2 Sam 8:15-20:26 as a coherent literary unit reflecting an ethical world-view grounded in kindness and having as its main theme 'the failure of justice and righteousness to be established during David's reign'. Chapter 4 presents a case for reading 2 Sam 8:15-10:19 as an account of the beginnings of justice and righteousness during David's reign in which David's kindness towards Mephibosheth is presented as analogous to a Mesopotamian royal declaration and was performed as an inaugural act of charity upon David's ascent to the throne. Over the last 30 years this pioneering series has established an unrivaled reputation for cutting-edge international scholarship in Biblical Studies and has attracted leading authors and editors in the field. The series takes many original and creative approaches to its subjects, including innovative work from historical and theological perspectives, social-scientific and literary theory, and more recent developments in cultural studies and reception history.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Historical Books, 1-2 Samuel, Literature

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Review by Walter Dietrich
Published 7/3/2011
Citation: Walter Dietrich, review of Richard G. Smith, The Fate of Justice and Righteousness During David's Reign: Narrative Ethics and Rereading the Court History According to 2 Samuel 8:15-20:26, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2011).

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