Samuel at the Threshold: A Review of Graeme Auld's Selected Works on Biblical Narrative and Historiography
If you are interested in the literary and historical aspects of the books of Samuel and the Former Prophets, you may want to check out Samuel at the Threshold: Selected Works of Graeme Auld (Society for Old Testament Study), a collection of 23 essays by Graeme Auld, Professor of Hebrew Bible at the University of Edinburgh. In this book, Auld brings together his influential and innovative contributions to the field of biblical studies, covering topics such as prophecy, kingship, chronology, source criticism, and intertextuality.
Auld is known for his groundbreaking article \"Prophets through the Looking Glass\", which challenged the conventional view of the relationship between the writing prophets and the prophetic narratives in Samuel-Kings. He argued that the writing prophets were not independent sources for reconstructing Israel's history, but rather literary creations that reflected and refracted the themes and perspectives of the Deuteronomistic History. This article led Auld to develop further his theory of biblical narrative and historiography, which he applied to various texts and issues in Samuel-Kings and Chronicles.
One of his main arguments is that the main source of both Samuel-Kings and Chronicles was simply the material common to both, which he calls \"the primary history\". He rejects the idea that the Chronicler used a version of Samuel-Kings as his main source, or that Samuel-Kings was composed from multiple sources such as J, E, D, and P. Instead, he proposes that both Samuel-Kings and Chronicles were shaped by different editorial processes that added, omitted, or modified elements from the primary history according to their own theological and ideological agendas.
In addition to his analysis of Samuel-Kings and Chronicles, Auld also explores some of the connections and contrasts between Samuel and other biblical books, such as Genesis, Leviticus, Numbers, Amos, and Jeremiah. He examines how different biblical authors used similar motifs, characters, stories, or genres to convey different messages or perspectives. He also discusses some of the historical and theological implications of these intertextual links.
Samuel at the Threshold is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding of Samuel and the Former Prophets as literary works that reflect and shape Israel's history and religion. Auld's essays are original, nuanced, and provocative, offering fresh insights and challenging questions for biblical scholars and students alike.
If you want to get a glimpse of Auld's approach and arguments, you can read the introduction and the first chapter of Samuel at the Threshold, which provide an overview of his work and the main themes of the book. The rest of the book is divided into three parts: Looking through the Glass, A Further View, and Counting Sheep, Sins, and Sour Grapes.
The first part, Looking through the Glass, contains seven essays that explore the role and function of prophecy in Samuel-Kings and other biblical books. Auld examines how different biblical authors portrayed prophets such as Samuel, Nathan, Elijah, Elisha, Amos, and Jeremiah, and how they used prophetic speech and action to advance their own narrative and theological agendas. He also discusses how some biblical stories, such as David and Goliath or Solomon at Gibeon, were influenced by prophetic motifs or genres.
The second part, A Further View, contains nine essays that focus on various aspects of Samuel and its relationship to other biblical books. Auld analyzes how different biblical authors used historical sources, literary techniques, and theological perspectives to construct their narratives and interpretations of Israel's past. He also compares and contrasts Samuel with other books such as Genesis, Leviticus, Numbers, Chronicles, and Psalms, highlighting some of the similarities and differences in their use of characters, stories, themes, or genres.
The third part, Counting Sheep, Sins, and Sour Grapes, contains six essays that deal with some of the methodological and theoretical issues in biblical studies. Auld reflects on some of the challenges and opportunities that arise from studying Samuel and the Former Prophets as literary works that are both historical and theological. He also engages with some of the current debates and controversies in the field, such as the nature and origin of the Deuteronomistic History, the identity and role of the Yahwist source, the primacy and coherence of the primary history, and the relationship between history and theology in biblical interpretation. aa16f39245