The Hebrew narrative art achieves its highest level in the stories of Saul, David, and Solomon. But beyond that, the description of these all-too-human characters and the dramatic events of the birth of the Israelite state depicts a change of eras that became determinative for half a millennium of Israelite history. In this volume Dietrich introduces readers to the stories of the early Israelite state from a variety of perspectives: literary-critical, historical, and theological. After tracing how biblical and extrabiblical texts describe the period, Dietrich skillfully untangles the knotty questions related to the history of the period and perceptively examines the development of this literary corpus as well as the other biblical material that came to be associated with it. In a concluding chapter Dietrich revisits the stories of Saul, David, and Solomon to explore what they teach about theological issues of enduring significance, what they teach about God, humanity, the state, the use of force, and the relationship between women and men.
Walter Dietrich is Professor of Old Testament (Ordinariat für Altes Testament) in the Institut für Bibelwissenschaft at the Universität Bern. He is the author of numerous books and articles related to the early Israelite state, including David: Der Herrscher mit der Harfe (2006), a four-volume commentary on 1 and 2 Samuel (2003–2007), Von David zu den Deuteronomisten: Studien zu den Geschichtsüberlieferungen des Alten Testaments (2002), and David, Saul und die Propheten: Das Verhältnis von Religion und Politik nach den prophetischen Überlieferungen vom frühesten Königtum in Israel (1987). He also serves as the Old Testament editor for Kohlhammer Verlag’s Biblische Enzyklopädie series.