Click here to get the answers to the most commonly asked RBL questions.

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

Login to Read the Review(s)

You must be a member of SBL to read the review(s). In May 2019, SBL improved security of its main site with a new login procedure that requires an email address and a password, instead of an SBL member number. RBLís login procedure is now synched to SBLís. Please use your email address and SBL password to log in to RBL. Your use of this site indicates your acceptance of RBLís Terms of Use.

Email Address
SBL Password
 Forgot Your Password
 Join SBL or Renew Membership

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 [] (2012).

Adobe Acrobat Reader
All RBL reviews are published in PDF format. To view these reviews, you must have downloaded and installed the FREE version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have the Reader or you have an older version of the Reader, you can download the most recent version now.


Privacy PolicyTerms of UseContact Us