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By Mira Morgenstern

Current conflicts in either nationwide and foreign arenas have undermined the common, natural inspiration of nationhood as conventionally espoused within the 19th century. Conceiving a state argues that the trendy realizing of the kingdom as a contested concept—as the manufactured from a fluid and ongoing means of negotiation open to more than a few livable solutions—is really rooted within the Bible.

This publication attracts recognition to the contribution that the Bible makes to political discourse in regards to the state. The Bible is especially compatible to this open-ended discourse as a result of its personal nature as a textual content whose ambiguity and laconic caliber render it regularly open to new interpretations and appropriate to altering situations. The Bible bargains a pluralistic knowing of alternative versions of political improvement for various international locations, and it depicts changing options of nationwide identification over the years.

In this publication, Morgenstern reads the Bible because the resource of a dynamic critique of the guidelines which are conventionally thought of to be basic to nationwide identification, treating in successive chapters the ethnic (Ruth), the cultural (Samson), the political (Jotham), and the territorial (Esther). all through, she explores a few universal subject matters, resembling the connection of ladies to political authority and the “strangeness” of Israelite political life. within the end, she elucidates how biblical research can relief in reputation of contemporary claims to nationhood.

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Extra info for Conceiving a Nation: The Development of Political Discourse in the Hebrew Bible

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In the context of Israelite experience, then, from where does salvation come? In the absence of a readily accepted Wgure of deliverance, Israelite emancipation must (logically) emanate from another location. Showing us this provenance is the task fulWlled by the Midrashic depiction of the 42 conceiving a nation Israelite women in Egypt. 70 Instead, the Midrashic text describes the Israelite women in Egypt as enabling others to imagine deliverance along with them, and thus, eventually, to impel their own liberation.

See Rashi on Gen. 49:8; Bereshit Rabbah (new version) 2:19 on Gen. 49. 36 conceiving a nation (deriving from the same root of h’d’h) position of leadership. In this reading, Judah is given the responsibility of ruling the (future) nation because he has the psychological/moral ability to acknowledge when he is wrong. This interpretation identiWes the essence of leadership as focused primarily not on the desires of the ruler, but, in the Wnal analysis, on a certain elemental level of justice that is due to the people in general, including those in a position of (relative) powerlessness.

At one level, however, this rationale seems to be little more than a functional recognition of reality, rather than a moral justiWcation of a particular set of power arrangements. In this context, the Midrashic commentary on the respective personalities of Judah and Joseph can help us understand a text that appears stubbornly circular in its reasoning. The Midrash (Tanhuma Yashan Vayigash 2) portrays Judah as a rope, in contradistinction to Joseph, who is depicted as a pit. This imagery is based on the Biblical narrative, which describes the incident when Joseph thrown into the pit by his brothers.

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