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Samuel and the Shaping of Tradition$
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Mark Leuchter

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199659340

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199659340.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Samuel and the Shaping of Tradition

Mark Leuchter

Oxford University Press

This book explores the literary depth and complexity created by the shaping of earlier sources concerning Samuel, the biblical figure known for his role in ancient Israel's transition from a tribal league to a monarchic state and selecting its first kings. It considers a complicated network of memories, sources, and agendas that differ in their presentation of Samuel and his social, religious, and ideological function. Some biblical sources view Samuel as a symbol of Israel's developing priesthood and its system of social ethics, whereas others utilise Samuel's prophetic status to periodise Israel's history into distinct categories and putting prophets above monarchs as national authorities. Samuel has also been depicted to qualify — and disqualify — different forms of political organisation in pre-monarchic Israel and systems of social hierarchy. By focusing on the relationship between later redactional work and earlier narrative sources or cultural memories, this book shows how the character of Samuel becomes emblematic of the diverse scholarly traditions on the study of the book of Samuel. It includes translations of the Hebrew Bible passages based upon the Jewish Publication Society's translation of the traditional Hebrew version, the Masoretic Text.

Keywords:   biblical sources, Samuel, ancient Israel, priesthood, social ethics, prophets, monarchs, political organisation, social hierarchy, Hebrew Bible

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