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The Contribution of the Literary Study of Chronicles To the Solution of Its Textual Problems

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image of Biblical Interpretation

As is true of other biblical authors, the Chronicler's literary methods and techniques were not handed down to us along with the text he produced. These methods and techniques are elusive: the scholar must ferret them out through close literary examination of the text. It is in this process that the parallel texts prove to be of great value: a careful comparison of the text of Chronicles with its sources in the books of Samuel and Kings has pointed clearly to the forms and structures, literary devices and techniques, and methods of editing and adaptation which the Chronicler applied to the earlier texts. Awareness of the Chronicler's methods facilitates the study of other aspects of the book of Chronicles, one of which is the text: we have reexamined the assumed corruptions, omissions and "textual emendations" of various kinds posited by translators, commentators and especially modern scholars. We arrive at a new understanding of various verses through familiarity with the literary technique which determined their present form. For example, we find that the Chronicler altered the earlier texts to create textual harmonizations, antitheses, chiasmus, inclusio, resumptive repetitions and paronomasia.

Affiliations: 1: Boston University


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