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Journal of the Bible and its Reception

Managing Editor: Kraemer, David / Marsengill, Katherine

Ed. by Black, Fiona C. / Oekland, Jorunn / MacDonald, Nathan / Ocker, Christopher

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Masculinity, Moral Agency, and Memory: The Spirit of the Deity in Judges, Samuel, and Beyond

Kelly J. Murphy
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Philosophy and Religion, Anspach 301-Q, Central Michigan University, Mt Pleasant, MI 48859, USA
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Published Online: 2015-11-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jbr-2015-0007


“Masculinity, Moral Agency, and Memory: The Spirit of the Deity in Judges, Samuel, and Beyond” examines the use of the “spirit of Yahweh/Elohim” in Judges and 1–2Samuel as it relates to questions of masculinity, moral agency, and memory. The article argues that the presence of the “spirit” stories in the narratives of the so-called judges and the figures of Saul/David reflect different conceptions of ancient masculinities, and sometimes function to challenge the masculine ideals of earlier memories from ancient Israel in order to pave the way for the institution of monarchy in the final form of the texts. Additionally, the article examines later interpretations of the stories and how they have been interpreted and used to promote certain contemporary ideas about masculinity while also often ignoring the troubling implications about moral agency vis-a-vis the way that the “spirit of Yahweh/Elohim” functions in the narratives.

Keywords:: judges; masculinity; memory; reception history; spirit of Elohim; spirit of Yahweh; 1–2Samuel

Works Cited

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About the article

Corresponding author: Kelly J. Murphy, Department of Philosophy and Religion, Anspach 301-Q, Central Michigan University, Mt Pleasant, MI 48859, USA, e-mail:

Published Online: 2015-11-06

Published in Print: 2015-11-01

Citation Information: Journal of the Bible and its Reception, Volume 2, Issue 2, Pages 175–196, ISSN (Online) 2329-4434, ISSN (Print) 2329-440X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jbr-2015-0007.

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