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date: 29 July 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article introduces synchronic, text-oriented approaches to Joshua-Kings and demonstrates how these approaches work. After defining the synchronic-diachronic dichotomy in biblical studies, it argues, using examples from these books, that diachronic analysis is epistemologically questionable and exegetically unprofitable. The chapter then proceeds to address Joshua-Kings synchronically by positioning it vis-à-vis the literary entity of which it is a part—Genesis-Kings, or the Enneateuch—and determining the internal structure of this entity. Based on this examination, a closer analysis of a smaller self-contained unit—1 Samuel 8–12—is offered. It shows that synchronic reading not only resolves age-old vexing problems posed by the piece, especially that of its allegedly inconsistent stance on the monarchy, but also produces meanings that diachronic studies are likely to miss.

Keywords: synchronic exegesis, diachronic exegesis, fragmentation, Joshua-Kings, Enneateuch, 1 Samuel 8–12, monarchy in the Hebrew Bible

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