Here are some things on my agenda this week for my paper on II Samuel 7, I Kings 8:1-30, and the Deuteronomist additions to those passages. I may or may not write blog-posts about them, but I’m just listing these tasks here so I can remember to do them:
1. I want to compare Deuteronomy’s passages on God placing his name on a central sanctuary with passages in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers that cover the same material (e.g., pilgrimages, festivals, tithes). I want to see if there is a conscious interpretive move on the part of Deuteronomy to change an anthropomorphic deity of earlier writings into a God who does not literally live in a house.
2. I want to read how John van Seters approaches II Samuel 7, and he has a section on it in his book, In Search of History. I’m interested in this because van Seters dates Deuteronomy and the Deuteromistic History late, to the exile and beyond. Most of the works I’m using have a different perspective. P. Kyle McCarter dates II Samuel 7 to pre–exilic times, with parts of it dating to Solomon (and perhaps David) and parts to the time of Josiah. I was reading Moshe Weinfeld last night, and he believes the Deuteronomist was pro-monarchy and pro-temple and lived before the exile, while the anti-monarchy/anti-temple voices dated perhaps to the early days of Saul, when the monarchy hadn’t fully gotten off the ground (and, presumably, critics could be bolder than when the monarchy was in full power). My professor tends to date biblical books to the exile and beyond, so I want to see how a similar scholar (like van Seters) looks at the data (e.g., the Deuteronomist‘s pro-monarchy passages; the unconditional promise of a Davidic dynasty in II Samuel 7, as compared with its becoming conditional in I Kings 8; the Deuteronomist’s emphasis that Solomon would be the one who would build the house for God’s name; etc.).
3. I got Gerhard von Rad’s Old Testament Theology, as well as a book my professor recommended, Tryggve Mettinger’s In Search of God. At the present time, I just want to see how they handle the whole issue of God dwelling in a house, and the Deuteronomist’s rejection of that idea. Maybe I’ll see how they portray the ancient Near East’s feelings about the idea, if they indeed address that issue.