Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award



Document Type



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Degree Name

Master of Arts

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Mark W. Hamilton

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Richard A. Wright

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Gregory Mobley


Discourse between warriors plays a role in several battle scenes within the books of Samuel. The repartee is a way for the narrator to add color and depth to the narrative and develop essential themes. Social-scientific criticism has often examined these interactions through the cultural lenses of honor and shame. Peristiany, Bourdieu, and Pitt-Rivers are just some scholars who developed cultural frameworks based upon the importance of honor and shame in the Mediterranean region. Malina, extrapolating from North African cultural studies by Bourdieu, developed a challenge and response model for the acquisition of honor as depicted in the Bible. However, not all warrior engagements align with these Mediterranean honor frameworks. Anthropologists, sociologists, and biblical scholars have noted the deficiencies of these models.

This thesis examines several warrior exchanges in Samuel and seeks to demonstrate that warrior engagements reflect more complex and nuanced views of honor and shame than the Mediterranean models describe. In light of this, more recent sociological models such as Stewart’s cross-cultural model and Facework theory are compared against these texts to evaluate their relevance. In certain instances, these more modern theories more aptly reflect the evidence within the biblical text. On another level, there is the action of the divine behind the narratives. The verbal sparring between combatants sometimes reflects the divine intent, what this study calls “divine proxy.” It is through this device that the narrator communicates theological truths important to the scene.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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