Joshua: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry

L. Daniel Hawk

Joshua: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry
Joshua: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry

Book Details

Series: Berit Olam
Categories: Joshua
Tags: Technical

Book Information

Pages: 344 pages
Publisher: Liturgical Press
Published: 2001
ISBN-10: 0814650422
ISBN-13: 978-0-8146-5042-4

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5 out of 5 based on 1 user ratings
Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 2000. Pp. xxxii + 303, Hardcover, $39.95, ISBN 0814650422. Richard D. Nelson Perkins School of Theology Dallas, TX 75275 The Berit Olam series offers commentaries that provide literary and theological readings of the books of the Hebrew Bible in their final forms. This contribution by L. Daniel Hawk interprets the Masoretic Text of Joshua as a structured and coherent whole, offering a balanced and generally persuasive example of close reading. Common sense takes precedence over methodological extremism, so that the reader has no trouble following Hawk’s argument and agreeing that it is consistent and sound. Joshua proves to be about Israel’s ethnicity and the boundaries and markers that constitute that identity. Who is inside and who is outside the boundary of peoplehood? However, there are discontinuities between what text asserts about identity on the surface level and contradictory and dissolving elements that undercut the seemingly apparent answer to the identity question. This literary shape promotes a less obvious, but more profound image of Israel’s identity. The narratives of Joshua might seem to promote an identity based on ethnic separation leading to the destruction of the alien outsider, uncontested possession of a God-given land, and proper worship in obedience to the commandments of Moses. However, the book of Joshua also invites the reader to test each of these identity markers and demonstrates that none clearly characterize the people of God. Read holistically and carefully, the text does not let these indications of ethnicity stand unequivocally, but undermines them with other elements and contrary viewpoints. In end a different sort of marker of identity emerges, focused especially in Joshua 24. Israel’s true identity is as a people chosen by God, who have decided and are to decide to choose for the God who has chosen them. Hawk’s reading discovers chiastic structures, lexical patterns, and common plots (notably between the stories of Rahab and Sodom and the destruction of Sodom and of Jericho). Helpful charts illustrate such patterns and parallels. [Full Review]

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