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Why Did They Write This Way? Reflections on References to Written Documents in the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Literature

by Katherine M. Stott

Part of the The Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies Series

Why Did They Write This Way? Reflections on References to Written Documents in the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Literature Synopsis

This book examines the character and function of the documents mentioned in the biblical texts in relation to comparable references in literature from wider antiquity. Citing various references to written documents in the Hebrew Bible, Stott takes into consideration both those references that may point to external sources, for example, the many literary citations in the books of Kings and Chronicles, as well as certain other documents that play a role in the narrative, such as the book of the law in 2 Kings, the scrolls of Jeremiah, and the tablets of the law. The aim of this study is not to determine to which texts external to the world of the narrative, if any, these documents refer, or to identify the content of these documents, or to reconstruct their origins and historical development. Instead, the primary focus is to understand these references within their literary context, asking why indeed they are mentioned at all and what purpose they serve in the narrative, regardless of whether they existed or not in the external world, or whether the stories about them have basis in historical reality as it happened.

Why Did They Write This Way? Reflections on References to Written Documents in the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Literature Press Reviews

Mention - International Review of Biblical Studies, vol. 54:2007/08 'The first section focuses on references to so-called external texts such as 'the book of the kings of Israel'. Stott does not seek to establish whether these texts actually existd. Instead she examines the literary value of citation, why are they cited and what literary purposes the citation serves. She uses similar Graeco-Roman texts as a foil to bring out the literary devices being employed. The second section provides a detailed discussion of the rhetorical value of the strou of the discorvery of the 'Book of the Law' in 2 Kings 22-23 and other examples of the use of texts as the subject of narrative in the Hebrew Bible. The monograph provides a balanced and thought-provoking discussion of how text is treated in the Hebrew Bible. As she restricts herself to the Hebrew Bible, Stott only hints that a Greek literary milieu had a greater influence on Greek biblical texts' use of citations as seen in late additions to the alpha-text of Esther. Her selection of comparison texts is also limited. The book is thus not exhaustive, but a helpful springboard to further exploration.' - John Starr, School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh, UK, in the Expository Times. --Sanford Lakoff Stott's work raises important questions in evaluating the function of several central biblical texts, the intent of their author(s), and the issue of sources and their availability...Stott's monograph is a lucid and carefully researched work and constitutes a significant step forward in bringing the Hebrew Bible into a much larger scholarly conversation. -Mark Leuchter, Journal of Religion, July 2009

Book Information

ISBN: 9780567027368
Publication date: 27th March 2008
Author: Katherine M. Stott
Publisher: T.& T.Clark Ltd an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 178 pages
Categories: Biblical studies & exegesis,

About Katherine M. Stott

Dr. Katherine Stott recently completed her Doctorate in Religious Studies at the University of Queensland, Australia. She is currently working in the field of Hebrew Bible under the direction of Dr. Ehud Ben Zvi at the University of Alberta, Canada.

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