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Barbara Green: How Have the Mighty Fallen?

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image of Horizons in Biblical Theology

Barbara Green's monograph, How Are the Mighty Fallen?, is a welcome addition to biblical interpretation, in part because it functions as a practical handbook on Bakhtin's criticism for readers. In this regard Green is an insightful teacher. Additionally she demonstrates that 1 Samuel is a narrative essay evaluating the experience of kingship as a whole in ancient Jerusalem and Samaria, and she gives attention to the theological issues with which this superbly crafted narrative confronts its readers. On the other hand, perhaps the story of Saul in 1 Samuel is not a significant Deuteronomic adaptation. Knowing Deuteronomy and Judges in advance will influence the reading of 1 Samuel; but a reading of the entirety of 1 Samuel works—and may even work better—without such knowledge. Also, her comparison of Saul's end with the end of 2 Kings 25 may deserve closer critical scrutiny. Jehoiachin's end is not in Chronicles and is thus an editorial addition in 2 Kings 25 to an earlier tradition. It may not be a good witness to the historical situation which gave rise to the whole narrative, and of which Green finds that Saul and his death are playing an interpretive role.

Affiliations: 1: School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh, New College Mound Place, Edinburgh EH1 2LX, UK


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