Cover image for The Unfavored: Judah and Saul in the Narratives of Genesis and 1 Samuel By Josef Sykora

The Unfavored

Judah and Saul in the Narratives of Genesis and 1 Samuel

Josef Sykora

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$49.50 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-1-57506-958-6
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248 pages
6" × 9"
2018

Siphrut: Literature and Theology of the Hebrew Scriptures

The Unfavored

Judah and Saul in the Narratives of Genesis and 1 Samuel

Josef Sykora

Following upon the work of Jewish scholars who have attempted to rehabilitate the notion of “chosenness” in the Hebrew Bible and that of other scholars who have focused more narrowly on the fate of non-Israelites in the Old Testament, The Unfavored centers on the role of “unfavored” characters within Israel—specifically, Judah and Saul.

 

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Following upon the work of Jewish scholars who have attempted to rehabilitate the notion of “chosenness” in the Hebrew Bible and that of other scholars who have focused more narrowly on the fate of non-Israelites in the Old Testament, The Unfavored centers on the role of “unfavored” characters within Israel—specifically, Judah and Saul.

Josef Sykora examines two narratives with seemingly opposite trajectories: the Joseph cycle in Genesis 37–50 and the Saul episode in 1 Samuel 13–15. Both contain passages that feel intrusive—Genesis 38 and 49 and 1 Samuel 13:7b–15a—and that coincide with Judah’s and Saul’s rise or fall in God’s favor. Taking seriously the redactional-critical proposals suggesting that these puzzling segments may stem from a later editorial hand, Sykora reorients them for theological purposes. He reads the two narratives first without and then with these intrusive parts in order to reveal what their message and content might mean for the idea of election in the Old Testament in general and for the fate of unfavored characters in particular.

A freshly insightful exploration of chosenness in Old Testament, The Unfavored guides us to new and deeper interpretations of these biblical texts.

Josef Sykora is Assistant Professor of Biblical Interpretation and the director of the Doctor of Ministry program at Northeastern Seminary, Rochester, New York.

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