|Dr. Kurt Noll|
Arts » Religion
I study ancient intellectuals. Specifically, I try to understand the lives and assumptions of ancient Hebrew and Greek scribes. The scribes were a class of highly educated elites, living in an ancient world where almost everyone was illiterate. It is the scribes who created the various versions of the Bible, both Jewish and Christian. The English word “Bible” is an artificial label for a variety of ancient, hand-copied anthologies of literature. Some of that literature was designed for public dissemination and religious instruction (for example, Deuteronomy), but many of the documents were not originally designed for religious purposes. For example, the Song of Songs is an anthology of love poetry, and the tale of Saul and David, as it is found in the books of 1 and 2 Samuel, is a secular “novel” not entirely dissimilar to the picaresque literature of a much later era. In other words, the anthologies that modern readers view as sacred scriptures began their existence as eclectic collections of literature composed and disseminated for a variety of reasons, not of all of which were “religious” in nature. I examine the culture of the scribes, to understand why these documents evolved in the particular way that they evolved, and to discover the process by which later generations of scribes bestowed religious authority on earlier literature that may not have been designed to exert religious authority.
K. L. Noll, “A Portrait of the Deuteronomistic Historian at Work?” In Raising Up a Faithful Exegete: Essays in Honor of Richard D. Nelson, edited by K. L. Noll and Brooks Schramm; Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2010: pages 73–86.
K. L. Noll, “The Evolution of Genre in the Hebrew Anthology.” In Early Christian Literature and Intertextuality. Pt.1, Thematic Studies, edited by Craig A. Evans and H. Daniel Zacharias. London: T&T Clark International, 2009: pages 10–23.
K. L. Noll, “Was There Doctrinal Dissemination in Early Yahweh Religion?” Biblical Interpretation: A Journal of Contemporary Approaches 16 (2008): pages 395–427.
Recent Public Lecture:
“Did ‘Scripturalization’ Take Place in Second Temple Judaism?” Presented to the Orality-Textuality Section at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, Atlanta, November, 2010.
Upcoming Public Lecture:
“Is the Scroll of Samuel Deuteronomistic?” To be presented to the Deuteronomistic History Section at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, San Francisco, November, 2011.
Noll, K.L. "The Evolution of Genre in the Book of Kings: The Story of Sennacherib and Hezekiah as Example." Pp. 36-69. In The Function of Ancient Historiography in Biblical and Cognate Studies, edited by Patricia G. Kirkpatrick. London: T&T Clark International. 2008.
Noll, K.L. "Deuteronomistic History or Deuteronomic Debate? (A Thought Experiment)." Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 31: 311–45. 2007.
Noll, K.L. "Is the Book of Kings Deuteronomistic? And Is It a History?" Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament 21: 49–72. 2007.
Noll, K.L. "Canaanite Religion." Religion Compass 1: 61–92. 2006.
Noll, K.L. "Was There Doctrinal Dissemination in Early Yahweh Religion?" Biblical Interpretation: A Journal of Contemporary Approaches 16 (2008): pages 395–427.
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