Kings and Prophets: Monarchic Power, Inspired Leadership, and Sacred Text in Biblical Narrative
This collection of essays examines the respective religious and social functions of kings and prophets as they are presented in the biblical narratives. Biblical kingship is easily shown to be a specific instance of an ancient and widespread institution--sacred monarchy--that was the pivot of most state organizations throughout antiquity; prophetic authority is described as a typical institution of ancient Hebrew society. The difference between monarchy and prophecy is radical, because the former implies a hereditary power and is upheld by its subjects who feed their kings with taxes, while the latter derives its authority from allegedly direct divine inspiration, and though it is also economically dependent it is not explicitly presented as being based upon systematic exploitation. Cristiano Grottanelli interprets the rise of prophecy as a consequence of a crisis of monarchical structures at the beginning of the Iron Age, and connects it to similar phenomena attested in ancient Greek texts derived from a similar crisis. Though monarchy finally won the day in the Ancient Mediterranean in a new imperial form, the new literatures in Greek and Hebrew consonantic and alphabetic scripts shaped nonmonarchic figures to which they attributed some of the functions previously pertaining to monarchy. These new literatures, produced by two cultures that were both highly literate and organized according to nonmonarchical principles, diverged radically in their development and final outcomes. In the Hebrew tradition, monolatry and an official canon of sacred writings were the final result; the prophetic principle was thus overcome by a new ideological construction, centered upon inspired scriptures rather than upon the impromptu performances of inspired persons. In using the prophetic principle against the monarchic, the canonical texts paradoxically shaped their own authority above that of living prophets.
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Specialists of the Supernatural in the Hebrew Bible
Aesop Aesop Romance Agag Ahiqar Amalek ancient aspects barley battle myth biblical biblical narrative biblical story biblical text Boaz Book of Judges Book of Ruth books of Samuel century B.C.E. cereal chaotic monster chapter charismatic connected context crisis cult David Deborah deity Democedes divine Eglon Egypt Egyptian Ehud Elijah Elisha enemy king episode Exod Exodus famine function Genesis Gilgal gods golden calf Greek Grottanelli healers Hebrew Bible historical house of Yahweh Ibidem ideology Illuyanka inspired Israel Israelites Joseph story Judges killed kingly kingship land Levites monarch Moses motif mythical mythology narrative traditions Old Testament Oriental palace passage Pharaoh possession presented priests prophecy prophet quoted Rama Ramayana relationship religion ritual royal sacred Samuel sanctuary Saul Saul's Scheintod serpent similar Slta social specific Spirit of Yahweh Storm-God story of Charila story of Ruth structure studied tablets theme tion tordh tribal tribes tribute Ugaritic victory Wakeman written Yahwistic