ZHIXIONG NIU, «THE KING LIFTED UP HIS VOICE AND WEPT». David’s Mourning in the Second Book of Samuel
This study is the first monograph that subjects to investigation all the pericopes relating David’s mourning connected with human death in 2 Sam, namely for Saul and Jonathan in 2 Sam 1,1-27, for Abner in 2 Sam 3,26-39, for the infant born of Bathsheba in 2 Sam 11,27b-12,25, for the princes/Amnon in 2 Sam 13,23-39 and for Absalom in 2 Sam 18,19-19,9. Another unique feature of this project is that these stories are read and interpreted primarily through the lens of the Hebrew mourning rituals – an approach that has been hitherto rarely embraced. This thematic study, adopting a synchronic approach and focusing on its literary world, first conducts a close reading of each aforementioned text and then takes a collective look at them in the end. Besides allowing new meanings to surface in the reading of the individual stories, it has yielded at least the following general insights: 1. The primarily ceremonial mourning acts are not to be taken as literal expressions of the mourners’ genuine emotions – an insight that is of paramount importance in the interpretation of certain figures at various places in the text. 2. The arrangement of the texts betrays a concentric design which strongly favors the reading of 2 Sam as one integral unit. 3. The study of the mourning texts also supports the view – noted as well by other scholars – which sees the portrait of David as a dynamic one, evolving and developing with the progress of the narrative plot of 2 Sam.
ZHIXIONG NIU, born and raised in Shanxi, China, received a B.A. degree in Chinese Literature and Language from Peking University (Beijing) in 1997, Master of Divinity and M.A. in Biblical Theology degrees from the Catholic Theological Union (Chicago), in 2005 and 2006 respectively. Licentiate of Sacred Scriptures degree from Pontifical Biblical Institute (Rome) in 2010 and completed his doctorate studies in Biblical Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in June 2013.
(C) PUG 2012