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King Josiah of JudahThe Lost Messiah of Israel$
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Marvin A. Sweeney

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195133240

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195133242.001.0001

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(p.3) Introduction
King Josiah of Judah

Marvin A. Sweeney (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Although much of the Hebrew Bible is shaped to address the historical and theological problems posed by the Babylonian exile of 587 b.c.e., scholars have consistently noted that the program of religious reform and national restoration instituted by King Josiah of Judah (ruled 640–609 b.c.e.) appears to play a substantial role in the composition of the Hebrew Bible's legal, historical, and prophetic books. Nevertheless, scholars have been unable to provide a convincing case for this contention due to the difficulties in establishing appropriate redaction‐critical models for the composition of such generically distinct books. This study employs advances in redaction‐critical theory that call for a synchronic analysis of the present form of the biblical text as the basis for diachronic reconstruction of its compositional history. Although the archeological record indicates that Josiah did not succeed in carrying out his program, analysis of the relevant legal, historical, and prophetic books points to Josiah's efforts to provide an ideologically charged history, prophetic justification, and legal reforms that would support his efforts to reunite all Israel and Judah under his rule.

Keywords:   Babylonian exile, historical books, Israel, Josiah, Judah, legal books, prophetic books, redaction‐critical Theory

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