Chapter

The Political Thought of the Biblical History

Yoram Hazony

in Judaic Sources and Western Thought

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199583157
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728952 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583157.003.0005
The Political Thought of the Biblical History

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The Bible contains a central, unified political teaching in the Bible. It can be distinguished from the multitude of diverse political purposes to which the Bible has been put. In Genesis to Kings there is a political narrative the core teaching of which is the story of the rise, and then decline, of the Israelite people and their state. The narrative of the deliverance of Israel—once from bondage in Egypt and once from anarchy of the era of Judges—is the main vehicle for the presentation of biblical political teaching. Moses delivers Israel from the imperial state and David delivers Israel from disintegration and civil war. The limited state—in contrast to the empire, illustrated by Egypt, and the political dissolution of the period of the judges—is the best political form human beings can achieve. A state, with limited powers, limited claims upon citizens, ruling by law, and having limited ambitions in regard to its neighbors offers the most promising and stable political possibility.

Keywords: anarchy; civil war; empire; Law of the King; limited state; social contract; unity

Chapter.  12058 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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