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The discourse of praying: Reading Nehemiah 1

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Chapter Summary

A general typology of the prayer, claiming: its idiom is deuteronomistic language, its genre is a penitential prayer, does not explain much of the prayer of Nehemiah 1. H. G. M. Williamson, in his discussion of the Nehemiah Memoir criticizes common methodology that usually puts form critical analysis before establishing literary unity. It is a unique text that takes its own position in the flow of biblical traditions of praying. As a literary composition the prayer is located between the early exilic version of Solomon’s prayer in Kings and the post exilic version in Chronicles. The prayer for mercy is found in the version in Kings, not Chronicles. The same is true of the role of Moses. Nehemiah 1 is a discourse with a clear line of argumentation rather than religious expression. The prayer of Neh. 1 demonstrates the freedom of addressing God.

Keywords: biblical traditions; Chronicles; God; H. G. M. Williamson; Moses; Nehemiah; religious expression; Solomon's prayer



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