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50. What is the relationship between the Deuteronomistic History and the books ofEdit

Chronicles? How does our understanding of the textual history of the Hebrew BibleEdit

complicate this discussion?Edit

  • ·         While Chronicles uses other biblical texts as sources, it clearly relied heavily some form of the Deuteronomistic History (DH; though here we are really only speaking about Samuel-Kings), but selectively.

o   Its title in the Septuagint (LXX) is Paraleipomena, meaning “the things omitted” or “passed over.”

§  Theodoret (c. 393–457) took this to mean that Chr assembled what the author of 1-2 Kings omitted, but this ignores the fact that Chr also omits quite a bit of what is contained in Kings.

o   Pro-David: only used materials which enhanced David’s reputation as builder of the Temple or his position as a powerful king.

§  Omits most of the History of David’s Rise (1 Sam 16–2 Sam 5) and the Succession Narrative (2 Sam 9–20; 1 Kgs 1–2)

o   Focused on South: only includes passages about the north when they interact with Judah.

o   This selectivity can ignore the original context of a passage.

o   Chr also rearranges some material:

§  The list of David’s might men in 2 Sam 23:8-39 is an appendix; in 1 Chr 11:10-47 the list is included with other lists of people who gave unanimous support to David.

o   Finally, Chr tried to avoid other unfavorable implications from the source materials.

§  For example, in 1 Kgs 3:4-25, God appears to Solomon at Gibeon. 1 Chr 16:39 and 2 Chr 1:3 add that the Tent of Meeting was stationed there before the Temple was built, thus giving it legitimacy.

  • ·         What text of DH did Chronicles use?

o   Early scholars believed Chr used a text very similar to the MT of Samuel-Kings.

o   More recently, however, it appears that Chr had access to a version similar to those attested by Qumran manuscripts, the Old Greek and proto-Lucianic recensions of LXX, and Josephus.

§  Some of the changes found in Chronicles can be shown to be part of the textual history of Samuel-Kings.

·         This doesn’t mean that Chr didn’t rewrite DH, but we need to see how much can be attributed to its Vorlage.

o   Ex. In 2 Chr 18:31, Jehoshaphat’s cry was answered by God saving him, but that salvation isn’t mentioned in 1 Kgs 22:32. The salvation is mentioned, however, in the proto-Lucianic text, and therefore can be attributed to Chr’s Vorlage, and not to Chr itself.

o   Steven McKenzie (1985) has distinguished between Samuel and Kings and argues that Chr’s Vorlage for Kings was a proto-rabbinic version.

§  He also argues that Chr only knew the pre-exilic version of DH (Dtr1).

o   Other scholars, such as Baruch Halpern (1981), have attempted to show that both Kgs and Chr were dependent on a common Deuteronomistic Vorlage.

  • ·         Textual History of the Hebrew Bible and Chronicles

o   Unfortunately, there are only a few complete words preserved in the Dead Sea Scrolls from Chronicles, so besides the MT, our main witnesses to the text are two Greek translations and their daughter versions.

§  1 Esdras contains chapters 35-36 from 2 Chr. It was written in 2nd century Egypt. The Greek is elegant, but paraphrastic, which makes it difficult to reconstruct its Hebrew Vorlage. However, it appears to witness to an older and shorter version of the text, which differs from both the MT and the other Greek version. Because of the extensive revisions of G (see below), 1 Esdras might actually give us a better look at the Hebrew text in the 2nd century.

§  Paraleipomena (Par.) also comes from 2nd century Egypt and is best preserved in the G family of texts (Vaticanus = B). G has been extensively revised, so the resultant close approximation to MT may actually be a result, to a large extent, from this recensional process. Par. often agrees with Samuel-Kings, in both Hebrew and/or Greek, against the MT of Chronicles. Par.’s Vorlage, and perhaps even Par. itself, have been assimilated to the Samuel-Kings text, in effect removing the changes introduced by the Chronicler.


o   In general, textual criticism complicates the discussion of DH and Chronicles because it can blur their relationship. We have to worry about the textual history of both texts independent of one another, as well as in tandem. Which version of Samuel-Kings did Chr use? Were there separate versions for Samuel and Kings? How much of the differences between the two texts did the Chr create and how much was found in Chr’s Vorlage?

For further reading:

Leslie C. Allen, The Greek Chronicles: The Relation of the Septuagint of I and II Chronicles to the Masoretic Text (Leiden: Brill, 1974).

Baruch Halpern, "Sacred History and Ideology: Chronicles' Thematic Structure--Indications of an Earlier Source," in The Creation of Sacred Literature, ed. by R. E. Friedman (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981), 35-54.

Steven L. McKenzie, The Chronicler's Use of the Deuteronomic History (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1985).