A Masterpiece of Early Hebrew Storytelling: The Seance at En-Dor (1 Sam 28)

The Hunt for Ancient Israel - Essays in Honour of Diana V. Edelman - Cynthia Shafer-Elliott

Reinhard Müller [+-]
University of Göttingen
Reinhard Müller is Professor for Old Testament Studies in the Department of Protestant Theology at the University of Göttingen. He is author of Königtum und Gottesherrschaft (Mohr Siebeck, 2004), Jahwe als Wettergott (de Gruyter, 2008), Ausgebliebene Einsicht (Neukirchener, 2012), and co-author of Evidence of Editing (Society of Biblical Literature, 2014).

Description

This contribution investigates the literary history of 1 Sam 28 and its contexts in religious history. Contrary to recent models postulating a late Deuteronomistic origin of the narrative, it shows that the literary core of 1 Sam 28 was drafted much earlier, namely in the era of the Northern Israelite monarchy. This core mirrors practices of ancestral cult and necromancy that were an important field of ancient Israelite religion, including the religion of the court, closely related to Ancient Near Eastern and particularly North-West Semitic traditions. At the same time, the original narrative proves a masterpiece of early Hebrew literature, depicting king Saul compassionately as a tragic hero and in no way criticizing him. Only several additions change Saul’s picture according to Deuteronomistic ideas, and the failing king becomes more and more criticized for turning to idolatrous religious practices instead of trusting in Yahweh.

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Citation

Müller, Reinhard . A Masterpiece of Early Hebrew Storytelling: The Seance at En-Dor (1 Sam 28). The Hunt for Ancient Israel - Essays in Honour of Diana V. Edelman. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. Nov 2021. ISBN 9781800500228. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=41638. Date accessed: 27 Feb 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.41638. Nov 2021

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