Abstract

While scholars have convincingly argued that archaic biblical poetry originates in ancient Israelite oral traditions, I argue, through a comparative literary analysis of the Song of Deborah in Judges 5 and the parallel prose story in Judges 4, that such is not the case with biblical narrative. Taking as my starting point Baruch Halpern's contention that a writer composed Judges 4 on the basis of Judges 5, I argue that between the song and the story a crucial transition takes place from an oral to a written verbal art, a ransition that provides us with a glimpse into the origins of biblical narrative. Halpern, however, assuming that the impulse to write history is mutually exclusive with the impulse to write fiction, effectively denies the artistic dimension of the writer's activity. Inasmuch as this study seeks to supplement, rather than replace, Halpern's analysis, it is simultaneously an attempt to reconcile the historian's search for the past with the novelist's fictive, literary imagination.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3311
Print ISSN
0272-9601
Pages
pp. 151-178
Launched on MUSE
2001-05-01
Open Access
No
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