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The Persuasive Portrayal of Solomon in 1 Kings 1-11

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Jung Ju Kang

In recent years, most academic studies of the books of Kings have concentrated on how they were written. Most scholars analyse the way in which the character of Solomon is depicted in 1 Kings 1-11. Some see Solomon as being portrayed favourably at the start but negatively by the end of the opening section of Kings. Based on such an understanding of Solomon, these scholars argue for the Josianic redaction theory which states that Kings was written in the reign of King Josiah (640-609 BC). Others, believing that the author generally disapproves of Solomon, argue that Kings was the work of a single author at the time of the Exile (587-539 BC).
Against this background, the main concern of this study is to establish how Solomon really is characterised. The book argues the need for an appropriate methodology to evaluate Solomon adequately, and proposes rhetorical criticism. Applying this to the Solomon story, the study breaks new ground in looking at how the narrative was intended to persuade.
From an analysis of how persuasion is used in several aspects of the text – unit, arrangement and style, argument, situation – the book concludes that Solomon is not evaluated simplistically in Kings but rather that his character is described in a variety of different and ambivalent ways.
Contents: The narrative portrayal of Solomon as an ambivalent character – The rhetorical aspects of the Solomon narrative in 1 Kings 1-11 – The application of Aristotelian rhetorical criticism in Old Testament studies – The persuasive nature of the Solomon narrative.