Memory in a Time of Prose

Studies in Epistemology, Hebrew Scribalism, and the Biblical Past

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Daniel Pioske
  • Oxford, England: 
    Oxford University Press
    , September
     2018.
     304 pages.
     $99.00.
     Hardcover.
    ISBN
    9780190649852.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Raleigh C. Heth forthcoming.

Description

Memory in a Time of Prose investigates a deceptively straightforward question: what did the biblical scribes know about times previous to their own? Daniel D. Pioske attempts to answer this question by studying the sources, limits, and conditions of knowing that would have shaped biblical stories told about a past that preceded the composition of these writings by a generation or more. This book is comprised of a series of case studies that compare biblical references to an early Iron Age world (ca. 1175-830 BCE) with a wide range of archaeological and historical evidence from the era in which these stories are set. Pioske examines the relationship between the past disclosed through these historical traces and the past represented within the biblical narrative. He discovers that the knowledge available to the biblical scribes about this period derived predominantly from memory and word of mouth, rather than from a corpus of older narrative documents. For those Hebrew scribes who first set down these stories in prose writing, the means for knowing a past and the significance attached to it were, in short, wed foremost to the faculty of remembrance. Memory in a Time of Prose reveals how the past was preserved, transformed, or forgotten in the ancient world of oral, living speech that informed biblical storytelling.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Daniel D. Pioske is Assistant Professor at Georgia Southern University. His first book, David's Jerusalem: Between Memory and History, was published in 2015.

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