Wielding Goliath's sword: 16th and 17th century reformed political readings of the David storyShow full item record
|Title||Wielding Goliath's sword: 16th and 17th century reformed political readings of the David story|
|Author||DeLapp, Nevada Levi|
|Degree||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Abstract||While there is a growing body of literature focused on the ways in which the David story has been received throughout history, relatively little work has been done on the ways in which 16th and 17th century Reformed writers used the story of David and Saul for purposes of resistance or non-resistance to lawful authority. This dissertation fills this gap. Using a reception-historical methodology, it surveys five Reformed authors from the 16th and 17th centuries: John Calvin, Theodore Beza, the anonymous author of Het Wilhelmus, Andrew Willet, and Samuel Rutherford. All the while, it observes two interrelated phenomena. First, all of the authors surveyed find in David an ideal model for civic praxis--what this dissertation calls a "davidic social imaginary." Second, despite a baseline agreement over the davidic social imaginary, the authors also display two different reading trajectories when it comes to David's relationship with Saul. On the one hand, some within the Reformed tradition read the story as showing a persecuted exile who refuses to offer active resistance against a tyrannical monarch. On the other hand, others read the story as an example of active defensive resistance against a tyrant. To account for these interrelated phenomena of reading convergence and divergence, the dissertation argues for a two-fold conclusion. The authors surveyed are influenced both by their individual socio-historical contexts and by the shape of the biblical text itself. The stories of David and Saul in 1 Samuel function within a Deuteronomic frame conducive to the idea of the davidic social imaginary. At the same time, within the paradigmatic narratives of 1 Samuel 24 and 26 the text offers a key narrative gap that is never resolved. The story never makes explicit to the reader what exactly David is doing in the wilderness in relation to King Saul.
As a result, Reformed authors believing peace and stability can be achieved through non-resistance fill in the gap with the image of a passive, non-resistant David, while Reformed authors laboring under the perception of increased monarchical persecution and war fill in the gap with a militant, resistant David.
|Department||Brite Divinity School|
|Advisor||Gunn, David M.|
This item appears in the following Collection(s)
- Doctoral Dissertations