This title uses anthropology to investigate the moral dilemma facing Saul's daughter in "1 Samuel 19", concluding that her choice of David (over Saul) is counter-cultural. "Michal's Moral Dilemma" proposes that attention should be paid to the moral goods that feature in the text, before arguing that the family, a central feature of Old Testament morality, should be understood as a set of practices rather than an institution. Jonathan Rowe discusses the use of 'models' of social action to comprehend the social world of the Bible, and suggests a modified version of Bakhtin's theory of heteroglossic voices can help readers appreciate how authors present a moral vision by approving some characters' actions whilst undermining others. The discussion of Michal's moral dilemma adduces anthropological theories and ethnographic data concerning violence, lying, and the relationship between fathers and daughters. Given that the conflicts of moral goods are "resolved" by characters choosing to act in a certain way, Rowe enquires after the author's assessment of each character's moral choices, arguing that Michal's loyalty to David and deception of Saul was counter-cultural.
By approving of her choice the author affirms the importance of loyalty to the Davidic dynasty. Over the last 30 years this pioneering series has established an unrivaled reputation for cutting-edge international scholarship in Biblical Studies and has attracted leading authors and editors in the field. The series takes many original and creative approaches to its subjects, including innovative work from historical and theological perspectives, social-scientific and literary theory, and more recent developments in cultural studies and reception history.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 240
Weight: 567 g
Dimensions: 235 x 155 x 25 mm
"Michal's Moral Dilemma" is a significant contribution to the understanding of ancient Israelite and Old Testament ethics. Rowe effortlessly combines recent research in ethics, anthropology and literary studies to provide a sophisticated and persuasive interpretation of Michal's ethical dilemma in 1 Samuel 19. A major advance in the area of Old Testament ethics, it also heralds the arrival of an important new voice in the field.
Dr Nathan MacDonald, Reader in Hebrew and Old Testament, University of St Andrews and Sofja-Kovalevskaja Group Leader, Georg-August Universitat
Jonathan Rowe opens up a familiar moral dilemma in a not-so-familiar biblical text with fresh analysis and insights drawn from anthropological and wider biblical resources. Not only does he thereby shed welcome light on an old question, challenging much received wisdom en route, but also he takes the discipline of Old Testament ethics to a level of granular textual study that should encourage further fruitful research of the same high quality in this field.
Revd Dr Christopher J.H. Wright, International Director, The Langham Partnership, International, Author of "Old Testament Ethics for the People of God"