The Elisha Stories as Saint’s Legends

Yael Shemesh

Abstract


The present article seeks to define the literary genre of the Elisha cycle of stories. Various possibilities raised in current research are examined and rejected. They are not polemic stories directed against Baal Worship, narratives designed to glorify the institution of prophecy, social religious satire against the royal house, polemics against the House of Omri, or didactic salvation stories. Neither do they contain criticism towards Elisha. Rather, the Elisha cycle in toto constitutes the oldest example in Jewish literature of hagiographic stories. All the stories (including the longer ones, in some of which modern scholarship tends to find a vein of criticism directed against Elisha) express adoration for the holy man of God–Elisha, the miracle worker.

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