Abstracts

KINGSHIP

S. Abramsky, "The Leadership of Abimelech", Sivan, 163-176 (Heb.). - The authentic core of the Abimelech narrative is identified by the author as Judg. 9:1-7, 21-51. The tale as so delimited perceives of Abimelech's reign as a legitimate rule by virtue of dynastic succession, as traditional usage in the area of Shechem would require. Parallels to the use of various terms to refer to the ruler are adduced from the El Amarna letters and the Ugaritic and Alalakh tables. Archaeological finds in the area of Shechem are adduced to argue in favour of a date circa 1100 B.C.E. for the episode, at which time the town's fortifications, which had not been destroyed in the Israelite conquest, were finally toppled in the unhappy events of Abimelech's demise. (B.S.J.)

E Bellafontaine, "Customary Law and Chieftainship: Judicial Aspects of 2 Samuel 14: 4-21", Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 38 (1987), 47-92. - The story of the women of Tekoa's appeal to David, while not primarily a 'legal' passage but a 'parable', nevertheless reveals a state of transition between the legal competence of the mishpahot and the centralised 'chieftain' power of the monarch, David. David's hesitation to overturn the legal decision of the local elders in respect of the women's son reflects the tensions involved in this process. The legal basis of the decision is not questioned, but is overruled for the greater good of the wider community, a decision paralleled in David's pardoning of Absalom. A distinct shift in social ordering is initiated in Israel during the critical period of chieftainship, a shift which eventually will be institutionalized in the state (p. 64) and this is particularly reflected in the later legal reforms of Jehoshaphat. A hierarchically ruled society will replace the earlier one of Jehoshaphat. A hierarchically ruled society will replace the earlier one based on lineage principles. The legal reforms both reflected and influenced these sociological changes. (R.A.M.)

Gerald J. Blidstein, "Patrilineality and Presumption", AJSReview 7/8 (l982-3), 15-39.

Gerald J. Blidstein, Political Concepts in Maimonidean Halakha (Heb.), Ramat Gan: Bar-Ilan University, 1983, ISBN 965-226-040-1, Pp.283. - There has been a resurgence of interest in recent years in Jewish political thought, not unnaturally emanating mainly from Israel. In this volume, Professor Blidstein analyses Maimonides' political concepts. He ranges over the appointment of the king, the purposes of kingship, the king and the administration of justice, legislation and the principle of 13 constitutional limitations on the king, treason, war and 'holy war' (Maimonides and Islam). (B.S.J.)

D. Daube, Sons and Strangers, Boston, Institute of Jewish Law, Boston University School of Law, 1984. - This is the Presidential Address delivered at the Second International Conference of the Jewish Law Association, New York, December 1982. The theme is the transition from non-hereditary Mosaic to hereditary Davidic rule. In his characteristically stimulating fashion, Daube considers this problem in relation to Moses, Gideon, Eli, Samuel, Saul, and David; there is an excursus on adoption. (B.S.J

Frank S. Frick, "Social Science Methods and Theories of Significance for the Study of the Israelite Monarchy: A Critical Review Essay", Semeia 37 (1986) 9-52; see OTA 10/1 (1987), no.151.

M. Garsiel, "The Controversy Between Samuel and the People On Establishing a King in Israel", BM 26 (1981), 325-343 (Heb.). - Rejecting the conclusions reached by recent studies which seek to present Samuel's denunciation of kingship as an essentially neutral or even favourable description of customary royal practice, Garsiel insists that Samuel's speech is an ironic warning of the excesses of monarchs. Samuel's words are informed with his historical knowledge of the despotic rulers of Nineveh and are not in accord with the ideology of Canaanite kingship. (B.S.J.)

F.E. Greenspahn, "An Egyptian Parallel to Judg 17:6 and 21:25", JBL 101 (1982), 129-130. - The author argues that Judg. 17:6 and 21:25 implies a negative assessment of the anarchy characteristic of Israel before the monarchy. This is illustrated by an almost identical assertion in Egyptian literature concerned with a near contemporary period. The Harris Papyrus no.1 states that "the land of Egypt had been overthrown with every man being his own standard of right (s nb m 'k3f) since they had no leader (r hry) for many years in the times of others." The Egyptian term translated "right" ('k.3) means literally "straightness", precisely the denotation of the biblical yasar. Both passages portray monarchy as a beneficial institution which brought an end to the preceding period of anarchy. (K.W.W.)

M. Hengel, J. H. Charlesworth, and D. Mendels, "The Polemical Character of 'On Kingship' in the Temple Scroll: An Attempt at Dating 11QTemple", JJS 37 (1986), 28-38; see OTA 9/3 (1986), no.938.

L. Kalugila, The wise king; studies in royal wisdom as divine revelation in the Old Testament and its environment, Lund: CWK Gleerup, l980, Pp. 160 (Coniectanea Biblica, 15); see KS 57/3-4 no. 3082.

C.R. Mabee, "The Problem of the Setting in Hebrew Royal Judicial Narratives", Dissertation Abstracts International 38 (1977), 844-A. - The construction and shaping of Old Testament narratives on the adjudication of legal disputes by secondary intentions makes it impossible to understand how the Israelite judiciary worked. This form-critical study considers the dual problems of the setting of the narrator (generative) as well as that reflected in the narrative itself (depicted). It is a detailed study of the stories depicting the king as judicial authority, adjudicating cases of criminal law based on established community norms and regulations (1 Sam. 22; 2 Sam. 1, 4, 12, 14; 1 Kings. 3, 20; 2 Kings. 6). It draws upon comparative and legal anthropological material. M. concludes that royal judicial narratives represent a literary device whereby the narrator chooses to communicate something about the king. The stories reflect primarily what the narrator has to say about the king rather than the judicial process per se. They are only reliable for discovering the actual operation of the ancient Israelite judiciary in a general way. (K.W.W.)

S. Talmon, "The Biblical Idea of Statehood", The Bible World, eds. G. Rendsburg et al, New York: KTAV, 1980, 239-248 (C.H. Gordon Festschrift) - The Bible's position on statehood is not, as most commentators hold, a panegyric upon some non-monarchic and theocratic ideal. Rather, T. says, "Israel's political ideology ... is identical with the system of the monarchy." As such it reflects changes in the monarchy that accompany Israel's evolution toward empire. Withal, succeeding generations expected actualization of the Divine promise made to the patriarchs, hence actual kings were uniquely vulnerable to removal from office through popular pressure. (S.N.R.)

M. Weinfeld, "The royal guard according to the Temple Scroll", RB 87 (1980), 394-6. - In the law of the king in the Temple scroll the guards of the king are responsible for his moral and spiritual supervision as well as guarding him physically. Weinfeld notes a parallel to this in the description of the Egyptian royal guard in Diodorus Siculus (Book I, 70), who drew upon Hecataeus of Abdera. In addition, he points to four other parallels between the two accounts. The two sources reflect royal ideologies prevalent in Judah and Egypt in the Hellenistic period. (J.D.)

 

 

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