337W: Biblical Topics – Kingship Ideologies, Spring 2000.
The Anti-Power Struggle in Israelite Kingship Ideals. An upper-level
writing intensive seminar.
primarily the books of Judges, 1-2 Samuel and 1-2 Kings, we will explore
Israelite kingship ideologies in their ancient Near Eastern context, including
pro-monarchic and anti-monarchic biases within the texts, and especially the
charismatic leadership ideal as exemplified by King David and contradicted by
The primary purpose of this course is for you to develop
deeper thinking with regard to a major biblical issue, and to see the study of
the Bible as an ongoing process in which our answers often change over time,
just as the text’s own answers to life-problems have changed over time.
This is also an ongoing topic of research for me in which my own views
have changed dramatically, and will probably continue to change.
Readings are often repeated over the course of the semester precisely
because you will be encouraged to re-examine the text from new perspectives each
time. This is also a
“writing-intensive” course, which will seek to help you develop your writing
skills. Issues of writing will
regularly be taken up in class, and assignments are designed to stress various
aspects of the writing process.
Texts: The use of a complete Bible (any version) will be
required in class.
Other texts will be available on reserve at the library.
reference books which you may find in the library:
Understanding the Old Testament, Anderson
The Anchor Bible Dictionary
Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible
These will point the reader to further useful bibliography, as will the ATLA Religion Index:
informed participation (readings having been completed) at all class sessions
will be expected, worth 10% of the final grade.
There will be 6
short assignments and 2 paper proposals, worth 10% of the final grade. Assignments
should be approx. 3 pgs each, typed, due in class on Thursdays, and will be the
basis for class discussion on that day. Late
assignments will be accepted, but penalized, as preparedness will be crucial to
our discussion time.
There will be two
take-home exams (each worth 15% of the final grade). They will be open-book, limited-time (2 hours) essay exams
(thematic, issue-oriented), taken on the honor system.
Review sheets will be handed out in advance.
Exams should be typed and handed in ON TIME as instructed in the
Two short (7 pg)
Formal Papers will be written (each worth 15% of the final grade).
The first will be an Exegesis Essay (closely analyzing a biblical text
and then giving a contemporary or personal application), the second will be a
biblical research paper, with annotated bibliography.
One of these papers will then be chosen for revision and expansion (10
pgs max), to be presented in class (this Revision and oral presentation, plus
peer review, will be worth an additional 20% of the final grade).
Proposals for these papers will be submitted in advance (see appended
form); peer reviews and a visit to the writing center are required.
and Revisions will be due on Friday at midnight in the mailbox outside the
instructor's office door (D-320). Since
any papers delivered after 5:00 pm will not be received until the following
Monday morning, any papers found in the box on the Monday morning will be
considered to be on time. Please do
not ask for last-minute short extensions because of printing problems and the
like. Just get your papers in the
box by first thing Monday morning. Any
papers received after that, unless there is a serious excuse such as a major
illness (with a note from the doctor), family emergency (with a note from
parents), or other serious problem, will be penalized at the discretion of the
Plagiarism (copying material from books, articles, web sites, or other
students’ work without citing your source) will not be tolerated in the formal
papers, in the exams, or in the short assignments.
Introduction – Deuteronomistic History and the Charismatic Ideal
Malamat, “Charismatic Leadership in the Book of Judges,” Magnalia Dei
T (Jan 11)- Introduction.
and the Deuteronomistic History
Th (Jan 13)- General overview of the Charismatic Leadership
Ideal in Israel
1:1-7:7; Deut. 17:8-20; 2 Sam. 7, 11-12; 1 Kings 12,14, 21; Daniel 2-3; Esther
1, 3-4, 8.
(Jan 18)- Contrasts with
Egyptian and Mesopotamian Kingship, the case of the Ur III Dynasty
Th (Jan 20)- Canaanite Kingship and the case of Naboth’s
vineyard (1Kings 21)
Israelite experience of slavery as foundational to ideas of justice.
Examples of Charismatic Leadership
Moses: Read Exod. 1-19, 32-34; Num. 11-14, 16-17, 20-21, 25,
Judges 3:15-25, 4:4-9, 6:1-7:22, 11:1-11, 13:2-14:20; 1 Sam. 1-3, 9-10, 16-17;
T (Jan 25)- Moses
exemplifying the charismatic ideal, or “Moses: Standing in the Gap.”
choosing a focus and formulating a thesis.
Th (Jan 27)- Charismatic Leadership in Judges and beyond.
Compose a sermon outline based on the story of Gideon entitled: “Send the army
Pro- and Anti-Monarchic tendencies in the book of Judges
Read the book of Judges.
T (Feb 1)- Gideon and
Abimelech, Jotham’s Fable: “God
is your King!” Writing: Using
Th (Feb 3)- The structure of Judges, pattern of decay: “In
Is/was Judges primarily pro-monarchic or anti-monarchic?
Support your answer with evidence from the text.
Paper Proposal for Exegesis Essay due Friday (2/4) on a topic related to the
themes of the class.
Samuel and the Ark Narrative
Read 1 Sam. 1:1-25:1, 28:3-25 (noting especially the role of
Samuel); 1 Sam. 4-7, 2 Sam. 6
T (Feb 8)-
The leadership of Samuel: Judge,
Prophet, Priest. Writing: genre and
Th (Feb 10)- The
“Ark Narrative” and the sovereignty of God.
3: Re-write the “ark narrative” using Hebrew poetic form, acrostic or
on how the mode of expression influences the content and message.
The Problem of Succession
Read 1 Sam. 2:11-36, 8:1-7; 1 Kings 11; 2 Kings 21, 23-24.
(Feb 15)- The
Philistines and the need for orderly succession. Writing: proposal and evaluation.
Th (Feb 17)- Eli’s sons, Samuel’s sons, and the problem of
dynastic succession. Questions re
Paper (Exegesis Essay) due Friday, on a topic of your choice
(related to the
themes of the class).
Samuel’s Speeches and Review for 1st Exam
Read 1Samuel 8, 12; Friedman,
Who Wrote the Bible?, ch. 5-7 (on reserve).
T (Feb 22)- Israel’s
request for a king and Samuel’s speeches.
The Priests of Shiloh and the Deuteronomistic History.
** Hand out review sheet.
(Feb 24)- Review for Exam. Come with questions! **Hand
out take-home exams.*
due by 5:00 pm on Friday**
Break!!! Enjoy your week!***
Saul: Last Judge, First King
Read 1-2 Samuel, comparing the character of Saul to that of
David. Also – what about
(March 7)- Saul as Charismatic Leader – Israel’s last judge, first
king. Jonathan as perfect heir.
*1st Test returned, discuss.* Writing: dealing with the counter-argument.
Th (March 9)- Saul’s rejection vs. David’s
success: WHY?! Who should inherit
**Assignment 4: Why was Saul
rejected while David is called the “man after God’s own heart”?
Make an argument using specific evidence from the text. Use debate
Be prepared to debate this issue in class on Thursday.
Paper Proposal (Biblical Research Paper) due Friday, with preliminary proposed
Read Gen. 12, 15, 17, 22; Exod. 19-20, 34; Deut. 5-6, 8-11;
Josh. 8:30-35, 23-24.
Read 1 Sam. 13,
15-16; 2 Sam. 7; 1 Kings 11; 2 Kings 24-25; Psalm 89.
T (March 14)- Library
Discuss writing: using sources, determining viewpoints,
Evaluating opinions, topic vs. thesis (again).
Th (March 16)- The Davidic Covenant: Eternal and
Think about the nature of the Israelite Covenant with God and the history
of Israelite apostasy. How does the
Davidic Covenant compare to the Patriarchal Promise and the Sinai Covenant?
David’s Downfall (?)
Read Num. 22-25, 31; Deut. 7, 23:2-8; Ruth; 2 Sam. 11-24; 1
Kings 1-12, 16:21-22:53, 2 Kings 9-11.
T (March 21)- Foreign wives, queen mothers, David the Moabite.
Writing Center talk. Discuss paper revision, peer review.
Guidelines: thesis, evidence, argument. Clear? Organized?
Th (March 23)- The “Succession Narrative” as the
disintegration of Davidic Rule?
**Draft of 2nd
Formal Paper (research, with sources) due by Friday at the Writing Center.
By Friday you must also turn in one peer review
for a partner. Topic is your
Read 1 Sam. 15-31, 2 Sam. 1; 2 Sam. 13-20.
T (March 28)-
Absalom’s Rebellion and David as the “man after God’s own heart”
Jeremiah and the Exilic Perspective: “If God is pleased with me…”
Th (March 30)- Power-grabbing and the Saul/David/Absalom sequence
Formal Paper due to instructor on Friday.**
Read Deuteronomy 17:14-20; Judges 9; 1 Sam. 8, 12; 1 Kings
T (April 4)-
Solomon and the beginning of dynastic kingship “like the nations”
Th (April 6)- The Deuteronomic “Law of the King”
(Deut 17:14-20): anti-Solomonic polemic?
charismatic kingship vs. southern dynastic kingship?
6: Do you think these accounts reflect a Northern viewpoint critical of the
If so, how do you reconcile this with the positive portrayal of David?
Josiah, the Exile, and the structure of the Deuteronomistic History
Read 2 Kings 11-12, 16-25;
Hand-out on the “Anti-power struggle ideal.”
(April 11)- Josiah as ideal king. Explaining Exile: Solomon, Manasseh as
foils for Josiah?
(April 13)- Athaliah, Joash, and the “anti-power struggle ideal”
***By 10:00 AM on Thursday, turn in draft of final paper to be
distributed to class.***
Student Oral Presentations (with self-critique and peer review**).
(April 18)- 1.
*Hand out final exam review sheets.*
(April 20)- 5.
Review for Final Exam, discuss major themes of course.
Hand out exam.*
exam and final paper revisions are due in the instructor’s mailbox at the end
of the scheduled exam time for this class.
The final revisions will be collected into a book and distributed to the
student presentation, all students must turn in a written review or
self-critique (one copy to the author of the paper and one copy to the
instructor, due in class on the day of the presentation), and be prepared to
discuss the paper in class at the time of the oral presentation.
These reviews will be counted as part of the grade for the oral
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