Mapping Gideon: An Exploration of Judges 6-8 Restricted; Files & ToC

Murphy, Kelly J, (2011)

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This study examines the Gideon narrative from Judges 6-8 through textual criticism,
redaction criticism, and literary criticism. In view of the fact that there is already a wide-
range of literary studies on the book of Judges and the Gideon narrative, this dissertation
primarily addresses diachronic issues, mapping out a hypothetical compositional history
of the Gideon narrative and focusing on the text's meaning in its different redactional
phases. Chapter 1 and 2 set the stage by briefly surveying the history of interpretation of
the Gideon narrative from both the diachronic and synchronic perspectives and
presenting an initial synchronic reading of Judges 6-8. Chapter 3 then turns to 4QJudga, a
fragment of the book of Judges discovered at Qumran, exploring the fragment's possible
relevance for an understanding of the compositional growth of the Gideon narrative.
Chapters 4-8 offer a compositional analysis of Judges 6-8, identifying six possible strata
of material in the Gideon narrative. These six strata comprise material through which
various authors transformed an earlier, largely profane tale about a "mighty warrior"
(gibbôr ḥayil) and his local exploits into a hesitant farmer dependent on divine assurance
for action. As a result, the final form of the narrative contains multiple views on issues of
orthopraxy, warfare, monarchy, and even the character of Gideon himself. Chapter 9 then
returns to a synchronic analysis of Judges 6-8 and explores the way the text works as a
literary unit, with a special focus on the literary trope of ambiguity. The final chapter
presents conclusions about the Gideon narrative, as well as on the place and purpose of
the Gideon narrative within the book of Judges.

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