Birth and Calling of the Prophet Samuel : A Literary Reading of the Biblical Text
BYU Studies Quarterly
Brigham Young University
Samuel is rightly considered to be one of the preeminent personalities of the Hebrew Bible, and his remarkable ministry makes the brief narrative of his birth, childhood, and divine calling worthy of serious examination. Steven Olsen argues that the literary craftsmanship of the text is as expressive of its meaning as are its descriptive contents. He focuses on several recurrent literary conventions that so thoroughly unite the biblical account of Samuel's birth and divine calling that its craftsmanship aptly serves as a vehicle of its meaning. This study claims that the significance of the story cannot be fully apprehended without an in-depth understanding of the expressive qualities of the text. Recurrent literary conventions that form the interpretive fabric of this account include parallelism, characterization, key words (Leitworter), type scenes, patterns of customary behavior, and structuring devises like Sternberg's "play of perspective."