“The Love of David and Jonathan: Ideology, Text, Reception” by James E.Harding— David and Jonathan—Lovers?

Harding, James E. “The Love of David and Jonathan: Ideology, Text, Reception”. Equinox, 2012.

David and Jonathan—Lovers?

Amos Lassen

How do we interperet the relationship between David and Jonathan? This has been question that has puzzled Biblical scholars and laymen alike and volumes have written about the two children of Israel. Put this together with that group of scholars who believe that David was not the an he has been credited with being or if he even ever existed, we have one great mystery. For me that is what Bible study is all about. Every time I sit down to study scripture, I come away with new ideas and new thing to think about. With the rise of the modern gay movement, there has been an outpouring of studies about David and Jonathan and everyone seems to hae something to say about them. Interpretations abound and this is because the texts of Samuel 1 and Samuel 2 are so ambiguous. Redactors and translators all have their own opinions and there is little unity about these writings. Add to the study the new queer theorists and historians, there is no end to the various theories of what went on between David and Jonathan.

Modern times bring us a look at the stories from three different points of view—scriptural, historical criticism and queer theory and politics. Harding argues that the reason for the ambiguity of the original text is due to the beauty of the story as a narrative and its influence on history and critical agendas. Below is the table of contents as it appears in the book:

Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION
Chapter 2: BATTLING FOR DAVID AND JONATHAN: SCRIPTURE, HISTORICAL CRITICISM, AND THE GAY AGENDA
Chapter 3: THE ROLE OF THE READER AND THE LIMITS OF INTERPRETATION
Chapter 4: DAVID AND JONATHAN BETWEEN ATHENS AND JERUSALEM
Chapter 5: CONCLUSION: THE INFLUENCE OF OSCAR WILDE ON 1&2 SAMUEL

Without question this an interesting and provocative read but be prepared, it will set you back $120. There is a lot of new information here and a rehash of what has already been said. Knowing we will never know what really went on back then, it is all the more interesting to speculate and Harding certainly gives us some new ideas to speculate about.

 

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