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Reports from a Scholar's Life: Select Papers on the Hebrew Bible
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Reports from a Scholar's Life: Select Papers on the Hebrew Bible

Author: Tryggve N. D. Mettinger and Andrew Knapp
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Tryggve N. D. Mettinger, emeritus professor of Hebrew Bible at Lund University, has long been one of the best known and most admired voices in biblical studies. His eight (English-language) books and countless articles, published in a career spanning over four decades, have changed the field in many ways. Mettinger is renowned not as an iconoclast, but as one working within mainstream scholarship who is nevertheless willing to challenge cherished ideas and who takes nothing for granted. For example, in one of his earliest works, A Farewell to the Servant Songs—published in its entirety in this volume—Mettinger, with his trademark brevity and articulation, drew attention to the shaky ground on which this consensus idea was built and called fellow scholars to reexamine this notion taken for granted by so many for so long. For Mettinger, the Bible is sacred literature, but in biblical interpretation there are no sacred cows.

Reports from a Scholar’s Life: Select Papers on the Hebrew Bible collects 16 studies (one short monograph, twelve articles, and three reviews), originally published between 1977 and 2008, into one volume, along with a new reflective essay. The papers included provide not only Mettinger’s most groundbreaking publications, but also glimpses into several of the areas of study that occupied the author. Mettinger’s work ranged far and wide in the Hebrew Bible, and here one finds examples of his contributions to the study of, among other things:

  • the notions of God, the Gottesbild, in ancient Israel;
  • the theology of “YHWH Sabaoth” in the monarchic period;
  • the development of the story of David in 1–2 Samuel;
  • aniconism in ancient Israel;
  • the motif of the “dying and rising god” in the ancient world ;
  • narrative criticism of the book of Job;
  • the development and structure of Second Isaiah

The entire volume is opened by the titular essay, published for the first time here, “Report from a Scholar’s Life.” This article was originally delivered as the farewell address upon his retirement from Lund University, and it provides a retrospective on his entire life and career.


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