John J. Collins interviews Joel Baden about his recently published book The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero (HarperCollins, 2013). Baden follows a prevalent North American approach in claiming to be able to detect an extensive “historical kernel” in the biblical David traditions, originally written within the lifetime of those who knew David. The interview was recorded on January 28, 2014 at Yale Divinity School, and concludes with a Q&A session.
The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero 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. 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.