An exclusive audio sample of a new book on King David
Listen below as Emory University Hebrew Bible professor Jacob L. Wright reads a selection from his critically acclaimed new book David, King of Israel, and Caleb in Biblical Memory. The reading treats the famous story of David’s affair with Bathsheba. In this account, Bathsheba’s husband, a Hittite named Uriah, is placed on the front lines to die in battle. As you will learn, the Biblical authors present this soldier as a paragon of Israelite virtue, while offering a penetrating critique of Israel’s beloved king.
You can listen by pressing the play button below or you can right-click here to download the audio track as a MP3 file.
(Right-click on the link above and select “save link as” to download the file to your computer.)
Jacob L. Wright is currently teaching a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) titled The Bible’s Prehistory, Purpose, and Political Future. Wright presents the class in two Bible History Daily Features. In a guest-authored post, Wright explores the question: Why Do We Have a Bible? And in a video post, he presents evidence for The Oldest Reference to Israel and the Near Eastern cultures that surrounded the birth of the Biblical world.
Jacob L. Wright is associate professor of Hebrew Bible at the Candler School of Theology of Emory University. He is author of Rebuilding Identity: The Nehemiah Memoir and Its Earliest Readers (De Gruyter) and two related works on the Bible’s most celebrated ruler: King David’s Reign Revisited (Aldina/Apple iBooks) and David, King of Israel, and Caleb in Biblical Memory (Cambridge University Press). He is currently at work on an exciting new book on the Bible to be published by Simon & Schuster—Atria.
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I’m a little confused. The accounts of David are stated to be fiction. Not possibly fiction, or even part fiction, or either possibly true or awaiting further evidence, but fiction. While the other nation’s account is deemed true because a private letter was found to support the historical account (or as the only evidence of a historical event?) So the logic is, currently lacking another supporting historical document, the Bible must be fiction? My question is, why can’t it be actual history, and why must it be political commentary. Would revisionist historians (or those making up Kings and traditions to signify their value and heritage as a people) demonstrate their state, national and ethnic roots and values by portraying their greatest king as a megalomaniacal adulterous murderer? Perhaps a writer would submit such a fictional account at some point in the nations history, but under what circumstance do the people accept it and revere it, and it keeps getting passed along to the present day as a testimony to their greatest king and height of their kingdom and accomplishments as a people?
I’m sorry, but in all of human history this kind of false history made to stand as an ultimate testimony of ‘who we are’ would be rejected by all but a people group with the lowest self-esteem in history. Hardly a description fitting of the Jews. But perhaps I am wrong, is there another example of a people whose national pride and rallying point is an account that portrays them all, in the end, as followers of such an immoral failure?
Thanks once again Professor Wright for your interesting insight and analysis of the real history behind the his-storys of the bible. I also enjoyed your recent Prehistory of the Bible course – the how and more importantly, why it was written by the Jews while gaining a strengthened understanding of my personal beliefs. I look forward to reading David and Uriah and your course offerings in the future! – Frederick
Thanks for the audio link. I’d like to see more of that.