Saul, Benjamin and the emergence of 〉biblical Israel〈 (continued, Part 2)

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The article addresses the question, why the Judahite authors began calling the kingdom and the people amongst whom they composed their works by the name 〉Israel〈, rather than 〉Judah〈. It discusses major problems, such as (a) the evidence to support the assumption that the district of Benjamin was part of the territory of Israel before the late 8th century; (b) whether Benjamin was considered a north Israelite tribe, thus possibly the channel through which northern traditions passed to the court of Jerusalem; (c) whether the rivalry between Saul and David, described in the Book of Samuel, reflected the tension between Israel and Judah in the monarchical period. After examining in detail these and other fundamental questions, it is suggested that the concept of 〉biblical Israel〈 emerged in Judahite historiography of the pre-exilic period. It was chosen because the description of the rise of the monarchy encompassed a territory that was much larger than that of the kingdom of Judah, whereas the name 〉Israel〈, which was left unclaimed after Israel's annexation by Assyria, applied well to the depicted territory and its inhabitants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-349
Number of pages15
JournalZeitschrift fur die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2009


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