The biblical story of King David has been interpreted in many different ways, arising from the variety of methods used in and the intended objectives of the studies: Does the narrative contain insight into and information about the early history of the Judean monarchy, or is it merely a legendary tale about a distant past? Can we identify the story’s literary genre, it sociohistorical setting, and the intention of its author(s)? Is an appreciation for the wonderful literary qualities of the story compatible with a literary-critical investigation of the narrative’s compositional and text-critical history? Van Seters reviews past scholarship on the David story and in the course of doing so unravels the history of these questions and then presents an extended appraisal of the debate about the social and historical context of the biblical story. From this critical foundation, Van Seters proceeds to offering a detailed literary analysis of the story of David from his rise to power under Saul to his ultimate succession by Solomon.
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