Monday, January 30, 2012

The Things that you're Liable to Read in the Bible...

Note to self: I think I may have to go back and (re?)  read some of the Biblical political narrative, particularly the stuff about David and Solomon.  I've been curious for some time about the "true history" of the Bible--how and where it came into being, that sort of thing.  For the moment, I'm pretty much sold on the view that it crystallizes shortly after 722 BC when the Assyrian Sargon II smashes his mailed fist down on on Israel driving (one may surmise) a horde of refugees down into poor, forlorn, infertile, left-behind Judah.  The refugees brought with them who knows what sorts of texts; they fell into the mercies of King Hezekiah who, remarkably, chose to accept them and to weave them into a new--or at least a reconceptualized--culture.

Which reconceptualized culture necessarily includes a "founding narrative"--or two, or three, but at the moment (as I say)  I'm curious about the David/Solomon story, which I a few years ago heard dismissed with irony as an artifact of "the missing 10th Century."  Meaning, I take it, that we must doubt the David/Solomon story because there is such a yawning emptiness in the archaeological record. 

I take it that this is a view widely shared among contemporary archaeologists, but no means universal.  And while in broad outlines it makes sense to me, I don't suppose I've actually read those resifted and resifted early narratives since my Sunday school days.  If then: would the authorities have turned us loose on the story of Bathsheba?  Anyway, might be fun to redo it now with  the eye of a detached maturity and after having actually set foot, however briefly, on the turf that gave the stories their start.  I still have that big old sturdy-on-the-shelf volume that my parents gave me for (perhaps) my 17th birthday--the one someone portentously entitled "The Bible Designed to be Read as Living Literature."  I don't recall that I ever gave it much actual attention, though I was always happy to keep it around for show.  And I find somewhat to my surprise that I actually defaced it with some bits of underling here and there.


Ken Houghton said...


Buce said...

Indeed. Thanks. Must have been pretty drowsy when I wrote that one. And now, back to section 9-317 of the Uniform Commercial Code.