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Samuel

(681 words)

Author(s): Dietrich, Walter
[German Version] The biblical picture of Samuel (Heb. לאֵוּמשְׁ/ šĕmû’ēl), a figure at the transition from premonarchic Israel (II, 1) to the monarchy, is extremely complex. In the relatively earliest source, 1 Samuel, and then afterwards he fills an extraordinary spectrum of roles: priest (1 Sam 2f.; 7:9; cf. his Levitical descent in 1 Chr 6:12, 18 [Eng. 6:27, 33]), prophet (Prophets and Prophecy: II; 1 Sam 3:20; 9:1–10:16; 19:18–24; 28; Jer 15:1; Ps 99:6; Sir 46:15, 20; Acts 3:24), judge (Judges of …

Historiography

(5,830 words)

Author(s): Hecker, Karl | Cancik, Hubert | Dietrich, Walter | Plümacher, Eckhard | Brennecke, Hanns Christof | Et al.
[German Version] I. Ancient Near East – II. Greece – III. Rome – IV. The Bible – V. Christianity – VI. Judaism I. Ancient Near East Historiography in the classic sense, with a reflective account of historical linkages, developed rudimentarily at best in the cuneiform cultures of the ancient Near East in Hittite and Neo-Assyrian annals and the introductions to treaties; even these documents were usually written to justify the political actions. Around the middle of the 3rd millennium bce, however, there appeared an immense number of all sorts of texts containing more or less detailed historical narratives. Despite their sometimes questionable truth, these documents serve as a source of modern historiography. The most important, often found on steles or foundation documents,…

Deuteronomistic History

(2,804 words)

Author(s): Dietrich, Walter
[German Version] I. Basis, Dispute and Development of the Hypothesis of a Deuteronomistic History – II. Arrangement of the Content – III. Historical Locus and Importance for the Theology of History The Deuteronomistic History (DeutHist) is not a canonical entity, but a scholarly hypothesis. It combines the book Deut from the “Torah” section of the canon with the books Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, and 1 and 2 Kings from the “former prophets” section. These biblical books depict the history of Israel from the time of Moses to the Exile. I. Basis, Dispute and Development of the Hypothesis of a Deuteronomistic History M. Noth established the DeutHist hypothesis in 1943. He determined that the sources of t…

David

(3,786 words)

Author(s): Dietrich, Walter | Klauck, Hans-Josef | Leeb, Rudolf | Jacobs, Martin | Dan, Joseph | Et al.
[German Version] I. Bible – II. Christianity – III. Judaism – IV. Islam I. Bible 1. Old Testament From the biblical perspective, David, whose name means “darling, beloved,” is the embodiment of the ideal ruler. He governed in the early 10th century bce, allegedly for 40 years, of which seven and a half …

Edom

(972 words)

Author(s): Dietrich, Walter
[German Version] ( ‘edôm) means “reddish,” and the parallel term Seir ( sē'îr) “rough,” probably the brush in the mountains. They designate a landscape or ethnicity south of ¶ the Dead Sea: in the first instance, to the southeast, between Wādī l-Ḥasā and the Gulf of Aqaba, but also in the Wādī l-'Araba and the southern Negeb. “Seir” occurs first in the Amarna Letters (Amarna; EA 288.26; mid-14th cent.) and in a place list of Ramses II (mid-13th cent.), “Edom” in a letter from the eighth yea…

En-Gedi

(339 words)

Author(s): Dietrich, Walter
[German Version] is the oasis on the western shore of the Dead Sea. Its combination of a warm climate and plentiful water ( En, construct of ‘Ayin/עַיִן, “spring”) has long offered ideal living conditions for people, a few animals (including panthers, cliff badgers, ibexes [Heb. gedi, “goat”), and plants (wine, henna [Song 1:14], dates [Sir 24:14], balsam [Jos. Ant. IX 7; Bell. IV 468; Pliny, Naturalis historia 12.113; Šabb. 26a]). A pilgrimage sanctuary with a walled-in court and a large main room (20 × 5 m) was located near the spring as early as the 4th millennium. …

Joseph/Joseph Narrative

(996 words)

Author(s): Dietrich, Walter
[German Version] “Joseph,” Heb. יוֹסֵף/ yôsep, means “He (God) adds.” In the Bible, half-a-dozen people bear the name, including Mary's husband in the New Testament. In the Old Testament, the son of Jacob (I) and Rachel stands out (Gen 30:23f.). He is the eponymous ancestor of the major tribe of Israel (Tribes of Israel), whose chief heir, in turn, is Ephraim (Gen 38). Joseph/Ephraim settled in the central mountains of Palestine (Josh 16; 1 Kgs 4:8) and claimed a central role in (northern) Israel (Gen 37:5–11; 49:22–26; Deut 33…

Solomon

(1,558 words)

Author(s): Dietrich, Walter | Lattke, Michael
[German Version] I. Bible 1. Literary analysis. The primary source for Solomon (Heb. ְׁשׁלמה/ šĕlōmōh) is 1 Kgs 1–12. It has a chiastic structure centered on the account of the design, construction, and dedication of the Jerusalem temple (II, 4; 1 Kgs 5–8); it is flanked by descriptions of Solomon’s illustrious wisdom and reign (1 Kgs 3f. and 9f.), with narratives of his rise and declin…

Eli/Elides

(324 words)

Author(s): Dietrich, Walter
[German Version] Eli was priest of the transregionally significant sanctuary of Shiloh in the 11th century (1 Sam 1–4). His name means “the highest” (cf. Ugar. 'lyn, Heb. 'lywn; the theophoric element – presumably yw – has been omitted, cf. the name 'lyw attested in inscriptions as well as 'lw in parallel to yhwh in 1 Sam 2:10). Eli's sons, also priests, bore Egyptian names: Phinehas and Hophni. They appear as dishonorable bachelors; Eli, in contrast, as honorable, if fallible…

Saul

(783 words)

Author(s): Dietrich, Walter
[German Version] Saul, Hebrew שָׁאוּל. The first king of Israel (Kingship [in Israel]) is not mentioned anywhere outside the Bible, but his reign is attested sufficiently within the Bible. The beginnings of a state in Israel (II, 1.a) were already visible before him; they met the social and economic needs at the end of the 2nd millennium. Around 1000 bce, Saul, a handsome man from a wealthy family (1 Sam 9:1f.), succeeded in uniting the tribes of the hill country in central Palestine and northern Transjordania (Judah, Galilee, and the lowlands of Canaan…