Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
TRINJ 29:2 (Fall 2008) p. 319
Isaac Kalimi. The Reshaping of Ancient Israelite History in Chronicles. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2005. xii + 473 pp. $48.50.
Isaac Kalimi has published extensively on the interpretation of the Book of Chronicles (hereafter, CHR), as his twenty-two works listed in the bibliography demonstrate. The present volume is thoroughly documented, well-organized, and systematic in its treatment of the subject. For the next fifty years, any serious research on CHR that attempts to deal with its text, historiography, or purpose will need to interact to some degree with Kalimi’s work. The main focus of this study is “to expose and define systematically and comprehensively the Chronicler’s writing methods and techniques and to explore certain methodological aspects of biblical historiography” (p. 404). The book explores the techniques used by the Chronicler in developing a history from sources such as the Pentateuch, Samuel-Kings, Isaiah, Zechariah, Ezra, and Nehemiah. The method employed is to identify and categorize the literary techniques of the changes found in CHR as compared to its source texts. Evidence of these techniques is presented in chapters that deal with historiographical revision (ch. 2), completions and additions (ch. 3), omissions (ch. 4), name interchanges (ch. 5), problematic texts (i.e., of the source texts; ch. 6), harmonizations (ch. 7), development of characters (ch. 8), retribution (ch. 9), allusions (i.e., versus citations, ch. 10), chiasmus (chs. 11-12), repetitions (ch. 13), inclusio (ch. 14), antithesis (ch. 15), simile (ch. 16), use of key words (ch. 17), numerical patterns (ch. 18), and generalization and specification (ch. 19).
The author quite skillfully uses evidence from ancient manuscripts and versions to handle text-critical questions where necessary—an essential preliminary step to this type of study. The work might even function as a textual commentary of sorts on CHR with the aid of the indices provided. On the other hand, identification of the modification techniques of the Chronicler informs the text-critical study of CHR. For example, some synonym variants will no longer be viewed as scribal modifications but as adjustments of the Chronicler to achieve a desired literary effect in context.
Kalimi correctly states that uncovering the historiographical methods and literary techniques “is of paramount importance in understanding the content, ethos, and full meaning of the text of Chronicles” (p. 404). This study reveals that CHR is not a slightly modified version of other canonical sources but is a careful, deliberate assembly of information designed to present the history of the Davidic kingdom in a certain theological light. It demonstrates that it is not valid to evaluate the Chronicler’s work only on the ...
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