I just got the latest Journal of Biblical Literature (this may be behind a pay wall) and was pleased to read “Homeric and Ancient Near Eastern Intertextually in 1 Samuel 17” by Serge Frolov and Allen Wright. Using criteria to determine the extent to which one text imitates another suggested by Dennis MacDonald, they study the probabilities of Homeric or Near Eastern intertextually in the story of David and Goliath. Of course, this is in the context of ongoing discussion of the influence of Greek literature, everything from Homer to Herodotus to Plato, on the development of the Hebrew Bible. Here is the most important implication of Frolov and Wright’s conclusions,
Expressed in stochastic terms (as befits the complex and dynamic system that is biblical exegesis), the principal corollary of these conclusions is that the likelihood of the David–Goliath pericope being genetically linked to ancient Near Eastern antecedents is relatively high, while a connection of this kind between the chapter in question and Homer is relatively implausible.
A few quibbles here and there notwithstanding, I like the criteria based probabilistic approach of this paper. Far too often, scholars seek absolute answers to non-deterministic or underdetermined questions. It is certainly my own belief that stochastic terms befit “the complex and dynamic system that is biblical exegesis.” Please read the whole paper. You’ll find it well worth your time.