Told and retold : the Solomon narratives in the context of Tanak
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This thesis explores the relationship between the books of Kings and Chronicles and considers the value of having two different versions of the same monarchic history within the Tanak. It furthermore explores how these books are read in relation to one another. To be more specific, its concern is how the book of Chronicles is read in relation to the book of Kings as Chronicles is so often considered to be a later rewritten text drawing upon an earlier version of the Masoretic Text of Kings. The predominant scholarly approach to reading the book of Chronicles is to read it in light of how the text was emended (additions, deletions, etc.). This approach has great value and has furthered our understanding of the theology and purpose of Chronicles. While this thesis fully affirms this diachronic approach to reading Chronicles, it also finds it to be lacking. This said, I suggest that this predominant way of reading Chronicles through the lens of its source (Kings) sometimes misses the theological and rhetorical features of the Chronicler’s text. In light of this suggestion, this thesis will answer the following question: “why were two narratives retained in the Tanak and what possible answers to this question might emerge by looking at the similarities and differences in the two narratives’ contents, arguments, and theology?” The method by which this question will be addressed is to read the Solomon narratives in the books of Kings and Chronicles in two ways: first, to read each narrative as a whole and independently of one another, and second, to examine each narrative together in an effort to understand their uniqueness. The result of this analysis will show that these narratives can in fact read as whole narratives independent of one another, and furthermore, that Solomon is in fact less idealized (contra popular scholarly opinion) in the book of Chronicles.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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