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Title: Conquering character : the characterization of Joshua in Joshua 1-11
Author: Hall, S. G. L.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2007
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While recent Old Testament scholarship has seen a steady rise in the prominence of narrative approaches to the text, little work has been done on the book of Joshua from this perspective. This thesis offers a narrative treatment of Joshua 1-11, wherein the exodus is completed (1:1-5:12), the conquest begins (5:13-8:35), and the nations of Canaan respond to Israel’s presence (9:1-11:23). Specific attention is given to the characterization of Joshua in these accounts, and the method employed is eclectic, including poetic analysis, structural study, delimination criticism, comparative literary analysis, and intertextual reading. Joshua’s characterization has received inadequate scholarly attention to date, largely because he is generally seen as a pale character, a mere stereotype in the biblical history. This two-dimensional reading often leads to the conclusion that Joshua is actually mean to represent another character in the history. But this approach neglects the many aspects of Joshua’s character that are unique, and does not address the text’s presentation of his flaws, which include occasional affinity with the wilderness generation and implication in Israel’s diplomatic foolishness. On the other hand, a small number of scholars have recently suggested that Joshua’s character is significantly flawed. This reading is similarly untenable, as those features of Joshua’s leadership that it portrays as faulty – such as his use of espionage, his military initiative in the absence of divine command, his decision to spare the Rahabites and Gibenoites, and his punishment of Achan’s family – are in fact condoned, not condemned, by the text itself. The conquest narratives paint Joshua as a complex but reliable character, whose authority is established largely in relation to that of his predecessor, but whose leadership exhibits several distinctive features. To the degree that Joshua does function as a paradigm in the subsequent histories, this paradigm must be conceived more broadly than it has been in the past. Joshua’s leadership is sufficiently multi-faceted to defy simple categorization. He is not merely a royal, prophetic, or priestly figure, but exercises, and often exemplifiers, the many different types of leadership that feature in the former prophets.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available