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Dismembering the Whole: Composition and Purpose of Judges 19–21
Cynthia Edenburg
AIL 24
Publication Date
May 2016


A fresh literary analysis of political polemic in the Bible

The Book of Judges ends with a bizarre narrative of sex and violence that starts with a domestic tiff and ends with the decimation of a tribe that is restored by means of abduction and rape. Cynthia Edenburg applies a fresh literary analysis, recent understandings of historical linguistics, and historical geography in her exploration of the origin of the anti-Benjamin polemic found in Judges 19–21, the growth and provenance of the book of Judges, and the shape of the Deuteronomistic History. Her study exposes how Judges 19–21 function as political polemic reflecting not the pre-monarchic period but instead the historical realities of the settlement of Benjamin during the Babylonian and Persian period.


Methodological discussions that open each chapterCharts and tablesEngagement with current research produced by scholars from around the world

Cynthia Edenburg teaches Hebrew Bible in the Department of History, Philosophy and Jewish Studies at The Open University of Israel. She is the co-editor of Is Samuel among the Deuteronomists? Current Views on the Place of Samuel in a Deuteronomistic History (Society of Biblical Literature).

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