Sunday, June 2, 2019
With financial support from the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences’ International Keynote Speakers Support Fund
This lecture will revisit the proposal of R. Norman Whybray that the so-called Succession Narrative of Samuel was an expression of Wisdom interests, but in a very different way. Whereas Whybray and others, e.g., von Rad, focused on the presumed "secular" character of the Succession Narrative, more recent work by Moshe Halbertal and Stephen Holmes. Under the influence of these scholars as well as Machiavelli's, The Prince, and Sun Tzu's Art of War, this lecture argues that the whole of the Book of Samuel displays a different set of concerns also related to wisdom, viz., an interest in presenting the lives and careers of its major characters, Eli, Saul, David, and others, as didactic examples of how to exercise power and political responsibility in the world. Examples drawn from the Book of Samuel illustrate the argument that the Book of Samuel is intended to guide its readers in thinking about the possibilities and pitfalls of exercising political power based upon the examples provided by its characters. As such, Samuel is designed to teach its readers important lessons about leadership.
- Marvin Sweeney, Professor of Hebrew Bible, Claremont School of Theology