Jonathan Y. Rowe
This title uses anthropology to investigate the moral dilemma facing Saul's daughter in "1 Samuel 19", concluding that her choice of David (over Saul) is counter-cultural. "Michal's Moral Dilemma" proposes that attention should be paid to the moral goods that feature in the text, before arguing that the family, a central feature of Old Testament morality, should be understood as a set of practices rather than an institution. Jonathan Rowe discusses the use of 'models' of social action to comprehend the social world of the Bible, and suggests a modified version of Bakhtin's theory of heteroglossic voices can help readers appreciate how authors present a moral vision by approving some characters' actions whilst undermining others. The discussion of Michal's moral dilemma adduces anthropological theories and ethnographic data concerning violence, lying, and the relationship between fathers and daughters. Given that the conflicts of moral goods are "resolved" by characters choosing to act in a certain way, Rowe enquires after the author's assessment of each character's moral choices, arguing that Michal's loyalty to David and deception of Saul was counter-cultural.
By approving of her choice the author affirms the importance of loyalty to the Davidic dynasty. Over the last 30 years this pioneering series has established an unrivaled reputation for cutting-edge international scholarship in Biblical Studies and has attracted leading authors and editors in the field. The series takes many original and creative approaches to its subjects, including innovative work from historical and theological perspectives, social-scientific and literary theory, and more recent developments in cultural studies and reception history.