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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Run, David, Run!: An Investigation of the Theological Speech Acts of David's Departure and Return (2 Samuel 14Ė20)
Mann, Steven T.

Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2013 pp. viii + 183. $34.50

Series Information
Siphrut: Literature and Theology of the Hebrew Scriptures, 10

Description: In this book, Steven Mann highlights the role of theology in the story of Davidís departure and return as told in 2 Samuel 14Ė20. Mann's method of narrative analysis employs a philosophy of language called speech act theory. His primary interest is ways in which speech act theory has been applied to biblical narrative, and he concentrates specifically on speech acts that include theological propositional content, that is, words used to denote God. In this way, Mann analyzes the theological speech acts of the narrative and then suggests a way to view the narrative itself as a speech act.

The thesis of this study is that speech act theory illuminates the integral role of theology in the story of Davidís departure and return. Theology is not merely one aspect of the story but is in fact a catalyst necessary to the plot. Furthermore, the act of telling the story as 2 Sam 14Ė20 does is the very act of portraying Davidís faith in Yhwh. Davidís speech acts demonstrate that he believes that Yhwh is someone who intervenes and who finds ways to bring his banished ones back to him. The narrative portrayal of Davidís faith can be understood as an illocutionary act, with the potential effect of encouraging an audience, a perlocutionary act. In other words, Man demonstrates that this story can inspire any readers who see this narrative as a story not only about David but about themselves.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Historical Books, 1-2 Samuel, Literature, Methods, Literary Approaches, Rhetorical Criticism, Narrative Criticism, Theological Approaches, Biblical Theology, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Theology

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Review by David G. Firth
Published 9/8/2014
Citation: David G. Firth, review of Steven T. Mann, Run, David, Run! An Investigation of the Theological Speech Acts of David's Departure and Return (2 Samuel 14Ė20), Review of Biblical Literature [] (2014).

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