This book is the first full-length literary study of the book of Judges in its finished form as a narrative work with its own distinctive structure and themes. Two basic questions control the analysis throughout. How is the text structured? What does it mean as a complex whole? The narrative world of the text is explored through analysis of plot structure, formal structure, character presentation, tone, point of view, and so on. Webb's principal findings are (1) that the basic issue addressed by the book is the continued presence of Canaanites in the land despite the oath sworn to the fathers and (2) that the story of Samson, whose career recapitulates that of Israel in the Judges period, is the thematic climax of the book. The so-called deuteronomic material is found to be closely integrated, both structurally and thematically, into the rest of the book. This book, researched in Sheffield, is an outstanding example of the new literary criticism of the Bible.
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