Old Testament

The Books of Samuel

rembrandt David Playing the Harp before Saul 1656 v2

The story of the Hebrew people moves from the time of nomadic tribes governed by Judges who emerged in the time of crisis to the era of Israeli monarchy. The central characters are Saul, David and Solomon, well known for their special connections with God, their leadership, and temple building. Jewish law, documented in Deuteronomy, is woven into the lives of these leaders. These stories practically beg for historical/archaeological validation; unfortunately, that “proof” has not been found.

Nevertheless, these important Biblical characters are presented as realistic and complex human beings. They deal with all manner of human emotion, temptation, failure and redemption. We can learn about the traditional stories of the Hebrew people and how their heroes shape their tradition as well as how people handle the good and bad events that life presents. We also learn about God’s hand and voice in the world. Studying these stories and thinking about the way modern life presents similar challenges informs our own spirituality. An interesting and nourishing study!

Presenters

Dr. Joel S. Baden

Prof. Joel Baden, Professor of Hebrew Bible at Yale Divinity School, is a specialist in the Pentateuch, Biblical Hebrew, and disability theory in biblical studies. He is the author of numerous articles, essays, and books on individual pentateuchal texts, critical methodology, and Biblical Hebrew. Future projects include commentaries on Deuteronomy and Exodus. He holds degrees in Judaic Studies (BA, Yale), Semitic Languages (MA, University of Chicago), and Hebrew Bible (PhD, Harvard).

Dr. John J. Collins

Dr. John J. Collins is the Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation at Yale Divinity School. A native of Ireland, Professor Collins was a professor of Hebrew Bible at the University of Chicago from 1991 until his arrival at YDS in 2000. He previously taught at the University of Notre Dame. He has published widely on the subjects of apocalypticism, wisdom, Hellenistic Judaism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

His books include The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Biography; Early Judaism: A Comprehensive Overview; the commentary on Daniel in the Hermeneia series; The Scepter and the Star: The Messiahs of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Other Ancient Literature; Apocalypticism in the Dead Sea Scrolls; Jewish Wisdom in the Hellenistic Age; The Apocalyptic Imagination; Between Athens and Jerusalem: Jewish Identity in the Hellenistic Diaspora; Introduction to the Hebrew Bible with CD-ROM; Does the Bible Justify Violence?; Jewish Cult and Hellenistic Culture; Encounters with Biblical Theology; The Bible after Babel: Historical Criticism in a Postmodern Age; King and Messiah as Son of God (with Adela Yarbro Collins); and Beyond the Qumran Community: The Sectarian Movement of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

He is coeditor of the three-volume Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism, The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism, and The Oxford Handbook of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and has participated in the editing of the Dead Sea Scrolls. He is general editor of the Yale Anchor Bible series. He has served as editor of the Journal for the Study of Judaism Supplement Series, Dead Sea Discoveries, and Journal of Biblical Literature, and as president of both the Catholic Biblical Association and the Society of Biblical Literature. He holds an honorary D.Litt. from University College Dublin. Professor Collins is a fellow of Trumbull College.

Discussion

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