Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Philosophy


Joseph Cathey


Kings, Elijah, Prophets, Book of Kings, Israelian Hebrew




There are three primary objections to accepting the prophetic materials of the Book of Kings as historically contemporary with the events they purport to record. First, there is a theological bias against the supernatural character of the materials. These supernatural passages are categorized as folklore and legend. Many critics reject the historicity of supernatural events for a variety of reasons. The second objection is that the linguistic profile of the materials is late, dating from a period long after the events recorded and therefore has, at the least, been through so many redactions and emendations as to be unreliable. Third, there is a two-fold historical bias. The first component is prevailing opinion that Iron Age secondary states like the Israelite kingdoms did not have sufficient infrastructure or literacy to support the development of these lengthy and complex literary works. Since the second component of this argument is that the Israelite kingdoms developed this capacity in the eighth century BCE, these works are considered to be the work of either the late monarchy or postexilic periods and treated as distant from the events recorded and therefore historically reliable. This dissertation seeks to examine these biases and determine whether the evidence now available to us confirms them. It shall also strive to offer alternative explanations in keeping with a theologically robust and orthodox interpretation of the Scriptures.

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