The Book of Judges has typically been treated either as a historical account of the conquest of Israel and the rise of the monarch, or as an ancient Israelite work of literary fiction. In this new approach to a book which has become the focus of significant scholarly attention in recent years, Marc Zvi Brettler contends that Judges is essentially a political tract, which argues for the legitimacy of Davidic kingship. The book contains a variety of diverse stories, and Brettler analyses a cross-section of these to support his case. Theoretical discussion of the genres employed is combined with an overview of the ways in which the book has conventionally been treated. The purposes behind several paradigmatic passages, such as the Ehud story, the Barak-Deborah story and poem and the long Samson cycle, are considered, and the functions of the Book's introduction, and its horrific ending, are given particular attention. The Book of Judges skilfully and accessibly shows the tension between the stories in their original forms, and how they were altered and reused to create a book with a very different meaning. It will be important reading for all those studying this part of th
Marc Zvi Brettler is Professor of Hebrew Bible in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Brandeis University. His previous publications include The Creation of History in Ancient Israel, also published by Routledge.