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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Michalís Moral Dilemma: A Literary, Anthropological and Ethical Interpretation
Rowe, Jonathan Y.

New York: T&T Clark, 2010 pp. xiv + 255. $130.00

Series Information
Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies, 533


Description: Michalís Moral Dilemma proposes that attention should be paid to the moral goods that feature in the text, before arguing that the family, a central feature of Old Testament morality, should be understood as a set of practices rather than an institution. Jonathan Rowe discusses the use of ďmodelsĒ of social action to comprehend the social world of the Bible, and suggests a modified version of Bakhtinís theory of heteroglossic voices can help readers appreciate how authors present a moral vision by approving some charactersí actions whilst undermining others. The discussion of Michalís moral dilemma adduces anthropological theories and ethnographic data concerning violence, lying, and the relationship between fathers and daughters. Given that the conflicts of moral goods are ďresolvedĒ by characters choosing to act in a certain way, Rowe enquires after the authorís assessment of each characterís moral choices, arguing that Michalís loyalty to David and deception of Saul was counter-cultural. By approving of her choice the author affirms the importance of loyalty to the Davidic dynasty.

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

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Review by Susanne Scholz
Published 4/10/2012
Citation: Susanne Scholz, review of Jonathan Y. Rowe, Michalís Moral Dilemma: A Literary, Anthropological and Ethical Interpretation, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2012).


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