Cover image for Judging the Judges: A Narrative Appraisal Analysis By Mary L. Conway

Judging the Judges

A Narrative Appraisal Analysis

Mary L. Conway

BUY

$99.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-1-57506-724-7

392 pages
6" × 9"
2019

Linguistic Studies in Ancient West Semitic

Judging the Judges

A Narrative Appraisal Analysis

Mary L. Conway

The book of Judges is full of characters of ambivalent moral integrity and acts of dubious propriety, such as Jael’s murder of Sisera and the sacrifice of Jephthah’s daughter. And yet the terse narrative and the reticent narrator frequently leave the ethical character of these actions in doubt. In order to avoid reading contemporary worldviews and ethics into this ancient text, Mary L. Conway applies a blend of narrative and functional linguistic theories to her analysis of the stories of the six major judges in an effort to more accurately identify the unifying ideological stance of the book.

 

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The book of Judges is full of characters of ambivalent moral integrity and acts of dubious propriety, such as Jael’s murder of Sisera and the sacrifice of Jephthah’s daughter. And yet the terse narrative and the reticent narrator frequently leave the ethical character of these actions in doubt. In order to avoid reading contemporary worldviews and ethics into this ancient text, Mary L. Conway applies a blend of narrative and functional linguistic theories to her analysis of the stories of the six major judges in an effort to more accurately identify the unifying ideological stance of the book.

Using an interdisciplinary approach that employs the concepts of narrative perspective alongside appraisal theory, Conway evaluates the judges within their historical context in order to determine whether their actions are normative or aberrant. The lexicogrammatical and ideational evidence produced by this methodology reveals contrasts and trajectories within and across the narratives that, Conway argues, give insight into the character and actions of the Israelites and YHWH and the relationship between them.

In this trailblazing study, Conway models a new approach to biblical interpretation that lays bare the ethics of the book of Judges. It will be of interest to biblical studies scholars, in particular Old Testament scholars, as well as seminary students and pastors.

Mary L. Conway is Assistant Professor of Old Testament at McMaster Divinity College.

List of Figures and Tables

Acknowledgments

Abbreviations

Chapter 1. Introduction

1.1. Rationale 1

1.2. Previous Approaches to Judges

1.3. Overview of This Study

Chapter 2. The Background to Appraisal Theory

2.1. Purpose

2.2. Martin and White’s Original Appraisal Theory

2.3. Representation of Appraisal in System Networks

2.4. Appraisal Theory in Martin and Rose

2.5. The Need for a Revised Appraisal Model

Chapter 3. The Narrative Appraisal Model

3.1. The Revised Model

3.2. Summary of Changes

3.3. The Appraisal Model and Its Adaptation to Hebrew Narrative

3.4. The Narrative Appraisal Model

3.5. Components of the Narrative APPRAISAL Network

3.6. The APPRAISAL Analysis Tables

3.7. Procedure: Moving from the APPRAISAL Tables to Interpretation

3.8. Conclusion

Chapter 4. The Second Introduction (Judges 2:6–3:11)

4.1. Purpose

4.2. Introductory Remarks

4.3. The Double Introduction and the Deuteronomistic Question

4.4. Definition of Judge

4.5. Analysis of the Text

Chapter 5. The Ehud Narrative (Judges 3:12–30)

5.1. Purpose

5.2. Introductory Remarks

5.3. Analysis of the Text

5.4. Conclusions

Chapter 6. The Deborah-Barak-Jael Narrative (Judges 4)

6.1. Introductory Remarks

6.2. Analysis of the Text

6.3. Conclusions

Chapter 7. The Gideon Narrative (Judges 6–8)

7.1. Introductory Remarks

7.2. Analysis of the Text

7.3. Conclusions

Chapter 8. The Jephthah Narrative (Judges 10:16–12:7)

8.1. Introductory Remarks

8.2. Analysis of the Text

8.3. Conclusions

Chapter 9. The Samson Narrative (Judges 13:1–16:31)

9.1. Introductory Remarks

9.2. Analysis of the Text

9.3. Conclusion

Chapter 10. Conclusion

10.1. Purpose

10.2. Introduction

10.3. Critique of the New Narrative Appraisal Model

10.4. Interpretive Conclusions

10.5. Suggestions for Further Research

Appendix: APPRAISAL Table

Bibliography

Index of Scripture

Download a PDF sample chapter here: Introduction