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Properties of Biblical Historiography and Historical Thought

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image of Vetus Testamentum

Biblical historiography arose at the eve of the monarchial period and ceased with the demise of the Jewish statehood. Two major trends are extant: a quasi-secular one and a kerygmatic. Various attempts at periodization appear in the historical books. Periodization also features in the prophetic writings. This historical consciousness is not present in etiologies, but at times this lack was rectified. Anachronism is present, but historical sense tried to curb it, introducing distinctions between past and present. An opposed category of historical thought is catachronism i.e., an attempt at describing the past as different from the present. This is done mainly by borrowing features from an alien milieu, e.g. the נשיא. Sometimes catachronism resorts to sheer inventions, such as the שוטר. When sources were available, biblical authors indiscriminately accepted them: legends along historical accounts. At times authors recast sources in order to express with them their own ideas.

Affiliations: 1: Hebrew University of JerusalemIsrael


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