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The leadership of Saul

Sellars, Dawn Maria (2003) The leadership of Saul. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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In this thesis I shall consider the account of Saul's leadership of Israel as it is portrayed in the biblical text of 1 Samuel. Traditional accounts of Saul's leadership, both biblical and scholarly, have often made the paradoxical claim that Saul is at once both the first king and yet also a failed king. I shall argue that by adopting an alternative framework it is possible to propose an interpretation of Saul that does not fall into this paradox, one that sheds new light on the nature of the biblical character. In particular, I shall argue that Saul should be conceived, not as a failed king, but rather as a successful chief. In order to do this I shall draw upon the political anthropology of Pierre Clastres. I shall also criticize previous attempts to characterize Saul as a chief by drawing attention to the inadequacy of the conceptions of chief employed. In Part One I shall discuss the previous accounts of Saul, questions concerning the judgements inherent within the biblical text, and the perspectival nature of those judgements. I shall then consider previous attempts to present Saul as a chief and introduce the work of Pierre Clastres. In Part Two I shall turn to consider the biblical account itself. I shall examine the accounts of the call for a `king', the appointment of Saul as `king', and Saul's `reign' as `king'. In each case I shall argue that although Saul is explicitly proclaimed a `king', a careful reading of the biblical narrative shows that Saul functioned as a chief. I suggest that this functional analysis of Saul as chief enables one to shed light on a number of aspects of this biblical character that have until now remained unclear.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Biblical Studies (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.401174
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2014 09:56
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2014 09:56
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/6057

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