Academic Programs 

David and His Supporting Cast    (SC-633)
January Interession and Winter/Spring 2007

David is one of the most well developed characters in the Hebrew Bible, however, David’s complex character is often sacrificed for the sake of portraying him as a person of model faith. David and his relationship to God and his supporting cast, which include Joab, Nathan, and his wives and children, among others, reflect the complex reality of our world, God and the Hebrew Bible. This course will read 1 & 2 Samuel carefully, reflectively, and critically to understand David and his relationship to his supporting cast and God. In particular, the course will examine the word hesed (loyalty, steadfast love, faithfulness, kindness) in the David story in order to understand David’s relationship to his supporting cast and God. The course will also pay attention to how David is seen through the eye of his supporting cast and understood by faith communities represented in the class.


Meeting Day, Time and Dates:
Thursdays from 4:30 p.m. to 6:50 p.m., beginning February 1


Uriah Kim
Professor of Hebrew Bible

Contact Information:
(860) 509-9564


Course Syllabus

Goals of the Course:

• The first goal is to read 1 & 2 Samuel carefully, reflectively, and critically to get a good picture of David and his relationship with God and his supporting cast and then compare this picture with David as understood and used by the faith communities of the students.
• The second goal is to see David through the eyes of the supporting cast. This requires an examination of supporting characters on their own and in relation to David.
• The third goal is to examine the concept hesed (dsexe loyalty, steadfast love, loving kindness, faithfulness, kindness) and using it to understand the David story.

Requirements & Grades:

• Students are expected to attend all class sessions and to participate actively in class (20% toward the final grade).
• Students are required to write a book report on one of the books listed under “Books for Report” (see below). The length of the report should be approximately 4 pages long (1000 words). This assignment will be worth 20% toward the final grade. Due on the fifth week of the course (Feb 28).
Option 1: Write a sermon or a reflection paper based on critical engagement with biblical text, biblical scholarship, and student’s own socio-cultural context. It should be between 6 to 8 pages in length (40%). This assignment is due on the last class session of the course (May 2). Students choosing this option must do a book report on (see above) another book on the story of David that is not on the “Books for Report” (20%). The book report is due on the eleventh week of the course (April 11).
Option 2: Write a research paper (60%). It should be 10-12 pages in length. It is due on the last class session of the course (May 2). Students must consult with the professor by the fifth week of the course in order to do a research paper.

Required Texts [available in the Bookstore]

• Alter, Robert. The David Story: A Translation with Commentary of 1 & 2 Samuel. New York: Norton, 1999.
• Brueggemann, Walter. First and Second Samuel. Interpretation. Louisville, KY: John Knox Press, 1990.
• Kim, Uriah Y. Decolonizing Josiah: Toward a Postcolonial Reading of the Deuteronomistic History. Bible in the Modern World, 5. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2005.
• McKenzie, Steven L. King David: A Biography. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Reference Texts [available in the Library]

• McCarter, P. Kyle. I Samuel: A New Translation with Introduction, Notes, and Commentary. Anchor Bible, 8. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1980. [in the Seminary Library’s reference section]
• McCarter, P. Kyle. II Samuel: A New Translation with Introduction, Notes, and Commentary. Anchor Bible, 9. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1984. [in the Seminary Library’s reference section]
• Newsom, Carol A. and Sharon H. Ringe, eds. The Women’s Bible Commentary.
Expanded ed. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 1998.
• Patte, Daniel et al., eds. Global Bible Commentary. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2004.

Books for Review Report

• Bodner, Keith. David Observed: A King in the Eyes of His Court. Hebrew Bible
Monographs, 5. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2005.
• Exum, J. Cheryl. Plotted, Shot, and Painted: Cultural Representation of Women. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996.
• Fewell, Dana Nolan and Gunn, David M. Gender, Power, and Promise: The Subject of the Bible’s First Story. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1993.
• Fleminger, John. Behind the Eyes of David. Lewes: Book Guild, 2002.
• Gunn, David M. The Story of King David. JSOTSup, 6. Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1978.
• Halpern, Baruch. David’s Secret Demons: Messiah, Murderer, Traitor, King. Grand Rapids. Eerdmans, 2001.
• Polzin, R. David and the Deuteronomist: A literary Study of the Deuteronomic History. III. 2 Samuel. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993.
• Sternberg, Meir. The Poetics of Biblical Narrative: Ideological Literature and the Drama of Reading. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985.
• Steussy Marti J. David: Biblical Portraits of Power. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1999.

Course Schedule

1. January 31 Introduction to Course, David, and Hesed

Reading Assignment:
Uriah Y. Kim, “Hesed and the David Story” (handout)

2. February 7 Samuel and the House of Eli

Reading Assignment:
Alter, pp. ix-40 (1 Samuel 1-7)
Brueggemann, pp. 9-55
McKenzie, Introduction & chapter 1

3. February 14 Saul

Reading Assignment:
Alter, pp. 41-94 (1 Samuel 8-15)
Brueggemann, pp. 57-118
McKenzie, chapter 2

4. February 21 David and His Brothers

Reading Assignment:
Alter, pp. 95-111 (1 Samuel 16-17)
Brueggemann, pp. 119-134
McKenzie, chapters 3-4

5. February 28 David and Saul’s Children
*Book Report due (for all students)

Reading Assignment:
Alter, pp. 112-130 (1 Samuel 18-20)
Brueggemann, pp. 135-153

6. March 7 David and His Band

Reading Assignment:
Alter, pp. 131-192 (1 Samuel 21-31)
Brueggemann, pp. 154-210
McKenzie, chapter 5

7. March 14 Officers and Violent Men

Reading Assignment:
Alter, pp. 195-239 (2 Samuel 1-8)
Brueggemann, pp. 210-264
McKenzie, chapters 6-7

8. March 21 Uriah the Hittite, Bathsheba, Joab, and Nathan

Reading Assignment:
Alter, pp. 240-264 (2 Samuel 9-12)
Brueggemann, pp. 265-286
Uriah Y. Kim, “Uriah the Hittite: A (Con)/Text of Struggle for Identity” (Semeia 90/91 (2002): 69-85).

9. March 28 David’s Children

Reading Assignment:
Alter, pp. 265-328 (2 Samuel 13-20)
Brueggemann, pp. 286-333
McKenzie, chapter 8

10. April 4 No Class; Reading Week

11. April 11 Memories of David
*Second Book Report due (Option 1)

Reading Assignment:
Alter, pp. 329-359 (2 Samuel 21-24)
Brueggemann, pp. 335-357

12. April 18 David’s End

Reading Assignment:
Alter, pp. 363-384 (1 Kings 1-2)
McKenzie, chapter 9-10

13. April 25 Politics of Loyalty and Identity in the David Story

Reading Assignment:
Kim, Decolonizing Josiah, chapters 1-3

14. May 2 Politics of Identity and Loyalty in the Deuteronomistic History
*Sermon/Reflection Paper (Option 1) or Research Paper (Option 2) due

Reading Assignment:
Kim, Decolonizing Josiah, chapters 4-5


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