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Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion


Publication details for Dr David Janzen

Janzen, David (2018). A Monument and a Name: The Primary Purpose of Chronicles' Genealogies. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 43(1): 45-66.

Author(s) from Durham


The primary purpose of the genealogies of 1 Chronicles 1–9 is to construct a monument to the pre-exilic dead of Judah and Israel, reflecting the important cultural value Judeans placed on the preservation of one's name after death. Ancient Near Eastern and archaeological evidence suggests that the preservation of ancestral names for many generations was something available only to the elite; by opening the work with a monument to the pre-exilic ancestral dead, the Chronicler implies readers would raise their cultural status by supporting a restoration of the pre-exilic polity. The Chronicler used the genealogies to reflect important themes of the work, but the one thing they do that narrative cannot is to create a literal monument to the dead.