This study is based on my doctoral dissertation, “1 Samuel 13 – 2 Samuel 8,” which I began under Dennis McCarthy, SJ. After his death, I completed and defended it in 1986 under Luis Alonso-Schökel, SJ at the Pontifical Biblical Institute.

Administrative responsibilities carried me in other directions after that. During a sabbatical in the spring of 2013 at the Catholic University of America, I revised Chapters 2 on narrative and Chapters 3 and 4 on battle narrative in the ancient Near East. These chapters I published privately to fulfill the doctoral requirements under the title of the dissertation: The Battle Narrative of David and Saul: A Literary Study of 1 Sam 13–2 Sam 8 and its Genre in the Ancient Near East. That monograph has become Chapter 1 and Part I of this monograph.

At that time, I also revised and expanded the chapter on battle narrative in the Old Testament which has become Part Two of this monograph. I dare say that many will find that section more interesting and relevant. This monograph is basically what I completed during the sabbatical of 2013. With the exception of Mark S. Smith’s Poetic Heroes, it does not deal with the scholarship since then.

I am most grateful to the late Fr. Stephen Pisano, SJ for his help in making possible the publication for the Biblicum. Also, I want to thank my confrere, Fr. Paul Nord, OSB, who took care of so many details in Rome and the final publication. At Catholic University, Dr. Monica Blanchard, director of the Semitics Library, and her assistant Ms. Michelle Dalites provided generous help and hospitality for the revision of the ancient Near Eastern material. Also at CUA, my confrere Fr. Raymond Studzinsky, OSB was the soul of hospitality along with the other members of Curley Hall. Thanks are also due to Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology for providing the time and resources to complete this project.

Tammy Schuetter designed the cover using a picture of a bronze helmet of the Corinthian type from the Met Collection API to capture the spirit of the book.

Though earlier attempts to publish this did not work out, Rev. Dr. Jeremy Corely encouraged me to revive the project. Happily, the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI), supported by Lilly Endowment Inc., recently set up this platform for publishing scholarly monographs, and they accepted it for publication. I especially want to thank, Amanda Hurford, Scholarly Communications Director, for her kind and careful attention to the publication of this monograph.

Harry Hagan, OSB, SSD
Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology
Feast of the Transfiguration, 2021



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Mighty in Battle by Harry Hagan, OSB, © Saint Meinrad Archabbey, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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