IDEOLOGY IN THE BOOK OF SAMUEL
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The best starting point for understanding the ideological nature of the biblical Book of Samuel is the novel by the (former) East German writer Stefan Heym, The King David Report.2 Heym, much like an ancient Israelite author, did not live under a regime which encouraged a free press and complete access to information. Both East Germany and ancient monarchical Israel were highly centralized, and in terms of powers given to the king and his bureaucracy, the Judean king could be seen as parallel to the East German premier.3 We know little about patterns of censorship in ancient Israel, but analogies from other ancient Near Eastern societies suggest that official versions of stories could be propagated through the monarchy, which could also attempt to suppress alternative versions.