Isn't This Bathsheba?

A Study in Characterization

By Sara M. Koenig

Isn't This Bathsheba?

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  • ISBN: 9781608994274
  • Pages: 200
  • Publication Date: 11/8/2011
  • Retail Price: $25.00
Web Price: $20.00
Web Price: $20.00

Isn't This Bathsheba?

A Study in Characterization

By Sara M. Koenig

paperback-logo

PAPERBACK

  • ISBN: 9781608994274
  • Pages: 200
  • Publication Date: 11/8/2011
  • Retail Price: $25.00
Web Price: $20.00

About-

Bathsheba is undeniably a minor character in the biblical plotline, appearing in only four chapters in Samuel and Kings combined, and even therein saying and doing very little. Thus she is often ignored or mentioned merely parenthetically. When Bathsheba has been considered, she has been depicted in a myriad of ways on the spectrum from helpless victim to hapless seductress. In fact, with so many different interpretations of her throughout the centuries, it is easy to find oneself asking, along with the anonymous informant in 2 Sam 11:3, "Isn't this Bathsheba?"

This study argues that while she is a minor character, Bathsheba is complex and positive, and shows development from when she first appears in Samuel to when she fades out of the story in Kings. Koenig compares close and careful reading of Bathsheba in the Masoretic Text with the story as it appears in the versions of the Septuagint, the Peshitta, and the Targum of Jonathan. In those versions, Bathsheba's characterization as a complex, generally positive individual and as a character who shows development remains consistent with the Masoretic Text: not in spite of the changes from the Hebrew into Greek, Syriac, and Aramaic, but because of them. This study also considers how Bathsheba is portrayed in early Jewish interpretations from Josephus, the Talmud, and rabbinic Midrash. Even there, the portrayal of Bathsheba is rich and positive. Studying Bathsheba's character has implications for a broader understanding of how texts are read, how meanings are gathered, and how characters are built.

Endorsements & Reviews-

"Was the biblical Bathsheba an evil seductress who manipulated her way from wife of Uriah to powerful queen mother alongside King David and Solomon? Or was Bathsheba simply an innocent, naive, and helpless victim controlled by more powerful men? Sara Koenig's insightful Isn't This Bathsheba? argues persuasively that neither view captures the full, complex, and changing biblical presentation of Bathsheba's character. Koenig's reading offers a rich and compelling study of an often neglected and misunderstood woman."
--Dennis Olson
Princeton Theological Seminary

"For many readers, David's larger-than-life personality can easily overshadow Bathsheba. Yet, through an incisive study of one of the Hebrew Bible's most famous stories, Koenig brings Bathsheba to life in all her depth and complexity. Koenig's fascinating book reminds us that minor biblical characters are only as flat and uninteresting as our interpretations of them."
--Jeremy Schipper
Temple University

"A minor but very well-known character in the biblical story, Bathsheba's place as a complex and evolving figure in the account of David and Solomon is uncovered in a wide-ranging and fulsome manner. Koenig delves deeply into the biblical text to make us aware of dimensions often missed in a quick reading of the Bathsheba texts. She also widens the picture to include ways in which from the earliest days the tradition has both followed and departed from the story as it first comes to us. I know of no treatment of this biblical woman that compares with what we have in Sara Koenig's masterful and learned presentation."
--Patrick D. Miller
Princeton Theological Seminary

Contributors-

Sara M. Koenig

Bio(s)-

Sara M. Koenig is Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies at Seattle Pacific University.

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