The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero by Joel Baden
Joel Baden, a leading expert on the Old Testament, offers a controversial look at the history of King David, the founder of the nation of Israel whose bloodline leads to Jesus, challenging prevailing popular beliefs about his legend in The Historical David.
Baden makes clear that the biblical account of David is an attempt to shape the events of his life politically and theologically. Going beyond the biblical bias, he explores the events that lie behind the David story, events that are grounded in the context of the ancient Near East and continue to inform modern Israel.
The Historical David exposes an ambitious, ruthless, flesh-and-blood man who achieved power by any means necessary, including murder, theft, bribery, sex, deceit, and treason. As Baden makes clear, the historical David stands in opposition not only to the virtuous and heroic legends, but to our very own self-definition as David’s national and religious descendants.
Provocative and enlightening, The Historical David provides the lost truth about David and poses a challenge to us: how do we come to terms with the reality of a celebrated hero who was, in fact, similar to the ambitious power-players of his day?
Joel S. Baden is Professor of Old Testament at Yale Divinity School and the author of several works on the Hebrew Bible, including The Composition of the Pentateuch and The Promise to the Patriarchs. Baden's articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Daily Beast, CNN's Belief Blog, and The Huffington Post. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.