1st Edition

The Love of David and Jonathan
Ideology, Text, Reception

ISBN 9781138661141
Published January 20, 2016 by Routledge
464 Pages

USD $56.95

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Book Description

Were David and Jonathan 'gay' lovers? This very modern question lies behind the recent explosion of studies of the David and Jonathan narrative. Interpreters differ in their assessment of whether 1 and 2 Samuel offer a positive portrayal of a homosexual relationship. Beneath the conflict of interpretations lies an ambiguous biblical text which has drawn generations of readers - from the redactors of the Hebrew text and the early translators to modern biblical scholars - to the task of resolving its possible meanings. What has not yet been fully explored is the place of David and Jonathan in the evolution of modern, Western understandings of same-sex relationships, in particular how the story of their relationship was read alongside classical narratives, such as those of Achilles and Patroclus, or Orestes and Pylades. The Love of David and Jonathan explores this context in detail to argue that the story of David and Jonathan was part of the process by which the modern idea of homosexuality itself emerged.



James E. Harding is a lecturer in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Otago.


'His discussion spans not just the work of his colleagues in biblical studies, but also work in the classics, in English literature, in queer theory, and in the history of sexuality, as well as delving into contemporary film and television... A very impressive book, noteworthy especially because of the compelling nature of its thesis and the author's extensive research.' --The Bible and Critical Theory