As We Re-think Saul and David

Forthcoming Release
The Fate of Saul’s Progeny in the Reign of David

“He’s my son too, of course; but I have others – more, I think, than I have memory left to name should I ever try to list them. The older I get, the less interest I take in my children and, for that matter, in everyone and everything else.”

Spiritless and alienated this voice sounds, as it speaks to the reader. It is the voice of an old but selfish man, who stands close to his life’s end and thus takes no interest in his descendants’ fate. It is the voice of David, although re-imagined by novelist Joseph Heller.

Heller’s God Knows (1984) portrays a different side of David, different from the heroic narratives surrounding his name, different from the David who overcomes the Philistine giant Goliath. Although heavily satirical, it is a critical perspective on David, and the figure’s reception, that is not exclusively Heller’s but it is one that has become widely accepted among researchers.

The late Joseph Heller, author of ‘God Knows’ and the famous ‘Catch-22’.

A different side to the famous second king of the united kingdom of Israel has been disclosed. It is not just Heller, the novelist, but also researchers of biblical studies as well as members of other scholastic disciplines dealing with the topic, who slowly start to rethink the heroic image of David and as a consequence thereof his relation to Saul, ‘the evil villain’, who opposes him. Adam Green’s King Saul, published in 2007, made an attempt to clarify this popular misconception by reconstructing a more plausible sequence of the story surrounding David and Saul in the First Book of Samuel. Supporting the view that it had been Elhanan and not David who fought the famous fight against Goliath, Green understood the biblical accounts as a neat self-mythologisation by David himself to establish a heroic image. By providing a list of the Dramatis Personae connected to the story, Green pointed out that to him David’s and Saul’s story, in its illogical chronology, is rather a work of fiction and he aimed at exposing more accurate, more historical images of David and Saul.

To this day, various other studies continue to contribute to the discourse by analysing the relationship between the two carriers of the crown of Israel or, in case of Cephas T.A. Tushima’s The Fate of Saul’s Progeny in the Reign of David, approach them by focusing on how David treated the surviving children of his predecessor.

            The book, a revision of the author’s PhD dissertation, presents a systematic study of the Saulides after the downfall of their progenitor. Tushima investigates the fate of Saul’s heirs by applying a literary analysis of, among others, the report of the initial war and the estranged relationship between David and Michal. At all times, David’s measurements are validated towards the Deuteronomic Code. As the author follows and evaluates the existing body of secondary literature, the history of the critical study of the Book of Samuel, as well as the contemporary literary criticism in biblical studies, serves as the basis for his analysis. This results in the introduction of new concepts and a new terminology in literary critical theory especially with respect to the Bible.

            At this point it should be mentioned that the works presented here are not attempts to vilify the image of David but to revise the image of Saul and to make him shine in a brighter light so that, in a near or far future, “the people of Israel sing songs, name magnificent hotels, main streets and town squares, and build monuments to the memory of Saul.” (A.Green, p.188)

The Fate of Saul’s Progeny in the Reign of David

by Cephas T.A. Tushima

ISBN: 9780227680360

Release Date: 28/06/2012




King Saul
The True History of the First Messiah

by Adam Green

ISBN: 9780718830748




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