Fulfills Literature, Intermediate
King David, known from 1–2 Samuel + 1 Kings 1–2, is an important figure in both Judaism and Christianity. This course will begin by investigating the literary portrayal of David in these biblical texts, focusing on issues of literary composition, character development, and textual transmission. We then move to the historical, archaeological, and social contexts in which the text developed, and which may begin to corroborate (or call into question) some aspects of the text’s portrayal of David. In the second half of the course, we discuss and analyze the wide variety of modes in which the text has been received subsequent to the consolidation of the biblical texts. We investigate early Jewish, Christian, and Islamic interpretations of David’s role; we consider the representation of David in visual art and recent novels; and we reflect on the role of David in recent dramatic portrayals on the small and silver screens. The historical figure of David presented in Samuel-Kings developed from an already complex literary character into an even more multifaceted amalgam of political aspirations, duplicitous dominance, and unblemished virtuousness.