2 Pages

by-you it-the

prominent principle-it point ofview ofa

To a surprising degree (surprising, because most of us assume that these decisions about sources were based only on linguistic data), the criterion of a consistent sympathy or ideology or the plot continuity of a narrative, whether pro-or anti-monarchy, pro-or anti-David, or pro-and anti-whomever or whatever the critic chooses to focus on, has been determining in separating strands of narrative and ascribing different authors. Sources have even been named for the character the author ostensibly sympathizes with-"the Saul source," "the Samuel source"-and when two basic sources did not resolve all the contradictions, more narrative strands had to be isolated to account for them, and when these were not named for a character, they were named for a continuous thread in the plot; hence, we have "the ark narrative," or "the rise of David narrative." Note how blithely the scholar who wrote the impressively learned Anchor Bible commentaries on 1 and 2 Samuel can take for granted in his introduction that his demand for coherence is also felt by his readers: "Numerous internal thematic tensions, duplications, and contradictions stand in the way ofa straightforward reading of the story." What does he mean by a "straightforward" reading ofthe story? Whether he is suggesting that reading forward and reading straight means reading straight for the goal, reading teleologically, reading for development, or if he is defining "straightforward reading" in his sentence tautologically to mean the kind of reading we do when there are no "tensions, duplications or contradictions" (and I know of no such reading), he sets out to rectify the problem, rewriting the Bible into coherent stories, and the difficult one we have in our Bibles is either neglected, or worse still, it is "solved."