Alison Joseph – Portrait of the Kings

A. JosephEpisode: Take a journey into the heart of the Deuteronomist to discover more about the king after God’s own heart through the eyes of the book of Kings. Matt Lynch interviews Alison Joseph about her Manfred Lautenschlaeger award-winning book Portrait of the Kings. As an intro bonus to this episode Matt gives a little 10-minute overview of the Deuteronomistic History, free of charge (but you can skip to get to the good stuff).

Guest: Alison Joseph is a visiting assistant professor of Jewish Studies at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. She received the prestigious Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award for Theological Promise in 2016 for her work Portrait of the Kings. She earned her PhD in Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. She also holds degrees from Emory University, the Jewish Theological Seminary, and Barnard College. She has taught at Haverford College, Towson University, Villanova University, the Jewish Theological Seminary, and Ursinus College.

Book: Alison’s Portrait of the Kings: The Davidic Prototype in Deuteronomistic Poetics is published by Fortress Press, 2016. Portrait of the KingsHer book examines the rich literary texture of Kings, especially the use of the Davidic ‘prototype’ and its ‘antitype’ in the figure of Jeroboam.

The OnScript Quip (our review): Alison Joseph’s Portrait of the Kings bridges a divide rarely crossed in biblical studies – the divide between literary and historical critical studies. Drawing inspiration from Robert Alter’s ‘type scenes’ and Frank Moore Cross’ double redaction hypothesis, Joseph observes the importance of the ‘Davidic prototype’ and its Jeroboam ‘anti-type’ in the book of Kings, where each king receives evaluation in terms of his relationship to David’s cultic loyalty. Oddly, David looks different in Kings than in Samuel, leading Joseph to ask, ‘Is David like David?’ Her answer is both creative and convincing, and offers further support for a thesis that the Deuteronomistic History’s first edition hit the shelves during the reign of Josiah, or thereabouts. — Matthew J. Lynch, Westminster Theological Centre, OnScript

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