Created Equal: How the Bible Broke with Ancient Political Thought

Paperback | August 26, 2011

byJoshua A. Berman

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In Created Equal, Joshua Berman engages the text of the Hebrew Bible from a novel perspective, considering it as a document of social and political thought. He proposes that the Pentateuch can be read as the earliest prescription on record for the establishment of an egalitarian polity. Whatemerges is the blueprint for a society that would stand in stark contrast to the surrounding cultures of the ancient Near East - Egypt, Mesopotamia, Ugarit, and the Hittite Empire - in which the hierarchical structure of the polity was centered on the figure of the king and his retinue. Berman shows that an egalitarian ideal is articulated in comprehensive fashion in the Pentateuch and is expressed in its theology, politics, economics, use of technologies of communication, and in its narrative literature. Throughout, he invokes parallels from the modern period as heuristic devicesto illuminate ancient developments. Thus, for example, the constitutional principles in the Book of Deuteronomy are examined in the light of those espoused by Montesquieu, and the rise of the novel in 18th-century England serves to illuminate the advent of new modes of storytelling in biblicalnarrative.

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In Created Equal, Joshua Berman engages the text of the Hebrew Bible from a novel perspective, considering it as a document of social and political thought. He proposes that the Pentateuch can be read as the earliest prescription on record for the establishment of an egalitarian polity. Whatemerges is the blueprint for a society that w...

Joshua A. Berman is Professor of Bible at Bar-Ilan University in Israel and an Associate Fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:264 pages, 6.1 × 9.09 × 0.39 inPublished:August 26, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199832404

ISBN - 13:9780199832408

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Table of Contents

List of AbbreviationsIntroduction1. Egalitarian Theology: The Commoner's Upgrade from King's Servant to Servant King2. Egalitarian Politics: Constitution, Class, and the Book of Deuteronomy3. Egalitarianism and Assets: God the Economist4. Egalitarian Technology: Alphabet, Text, and Class5. Egalitarianism and the Evolution of Narrative: The Rescue of Moses (Exodus 2:1-10) and the Sargon Legend ComparedConclusion: Egalitarianisms Ancient and ModernNotesSelect BibliographyIndex of Scriptural ReferencesSubject Index