In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Court Tales

  • Introduction
  • Bibliographies
  • Ancient Near Eastern Influences

Biblical Studies Court Tales
David M. Valeta
  • LAST REVIEWED: 06 February 2012
  • LAST MODIFIED: 06 February 2012
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195393361-0012


The Bible is replete with the stories and exploits of kings and queens, including the court history or succession narrative found in the books of Samuel and Kings. Moreover, several Jewish narrative writings set in the court of a foreign king explore the fate of wise and righteous Jewish heroes as they navigate the maelstrom of court intrigue. These writings share genre parallels with ancient Near Eastern court tales that emphasize the wisdom of the courtier, often in settings of danger and confrontation where the skill and cunning of the courtier bring success. While scholars recognize and explore the existence of the court tale genre, as reviewed in this bibliography, one does not find a specific entry for court tales in any of the major reference dictionaries or Bible handbooks. This bibliography brings together important sources of research for this area of study.

General Overviews

The royal court is a center of social, political, economic, and religious events in ancient Near Eastern, biblical, and Hellenistic times. Entries in this section outline the parameters of the influence of court life on biblical materials. This section includes subsections on Social and Political Background and Court Tale Introductions.

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