Recent David studies from scholars such as Baruch Halpern and Steven McKenzie have called into question the historicity of biblical accounts and have substituted ‘sacred’ images of David with decidedly ‘secular’ ones. But the biblical David is neither purely secular nor sacred; rather, he filters the horrors of warfare and politics into the heroism and ideals of the Deuteronomistic tradition. By analogy to Heiner Müller's 1979 play, Hamletmachine, this paper considers the biblical portrait of David as a cyborg-like ‘Davidmachine,’ a hybridic figure compelled to embody and commensurate competing, if not contradictory, religious and literary demands. As machine, the biblical David illustrates the place of necessity in the canon itself, a necessity that illustrates the concepts of tragedy and tradition in Walter Benjamin's study of German tragic drama.
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Bible and Critical Theory: ISSN 1832-3391