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REVISITING KARL BARTH'S EXEGESIS OF 1 KINGS 13

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The present article seeks to re-present Karl Barth's exegesis of 1 Kings 13 with additional support that Barth neglected to include. Changes in biblical scholarship over the past few decades have resulted in an environment in which Barth's interpretation may not be as readily rejected as it was in the past. Barth's exegesis of 1 Kings 13 was not accepted among biblical scholars for several reasons. He was thought to be an enemy of historical criticism whose exegetical work was not a serious contribution to biblical studies. Furthermore, he interpreted the chapter holistically at a time when scholars were preoccupied with analytical questions concerning sources and composition. Barth related the chapter to the whole history of the divided kingdom by suggesting that the man of God and the old prophet represent the kingdoms from which they come and that the relationship between the two prophetic figures mirrors the relationship between Israel and Judah as told in Kings. This analogy seemed unlikely to scholars convinced of the fragmentary nature of Kings. The present article begins with an overview of Barth's relationship to modern biblical scholarship followed by a summary presentation of his exegesis of 1 Kings 13. Next, the major objections to Barth's interpretation are critically assessed, and recent research on the chapter is evaluated. Finally, the analogy indicated by Barth is elaborated, so that his interpretation may seem more plausible and future research may benefit from his insights.

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