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Social World Of Ancient Israel 1250-587 BCE
Victor H. Matthews and Don C. Benjamin
From The Publisher:
Getting a fix on the social context of the Hebrew Bible is imperative for anyone reconstructing either the "story" of the text or the "history" behind the text. Resources in this area often prove overspecialized and arcane, and can require highly sophisticated skills in cultural anthropology or Semitic languages just to read the table of contents. Social World of Ancient Israel, 1250–587 BCE, offers those interested in learning about the biblical world a more user-friendly framework for viewing the broader picture; at the same time it relies upon the latest methodologies of cultural anthropology and biblical analysis in its presentation. Painting a picture in broad but precise strokes, the authors portray the landscape of ancient Israel in new and exciting colors that expert and student alike will appreciate.
Social World of Ancient Israel takes a unique look at the most prominent social institutions of the world of early Israel and the period of the monarchy, and then shows how properly understanding these social institutions is essential for sound biblical interpretation. Immersing the reader into five major areas of daily life in antiquity—politics, economics, diplomacy, law, and education—Matthews and Benjamin explore the ways in which knowing how "players" function in these institutions, such as "father/mother," "prophet/wise one," "host/stranger," can shape our understanding of earliest Israel. Perhaps most significantly, the book gently exposes the inefficiency of past anthropological models for interpreting the relationships, attitudes and social conventions of earliest Israel. Its corrective insights will enable scholar and student alike to plot new approaches for studying the Hebrew Bible and the ancient people of Israel.
"Social World of Ancient Israel offers the most refreshing and innovative approach to ancient Israelite society that I have ever read. The book
uses different roles in village life and state institutions to open up the biblical world. Matthews and Benjamin draw extensively and creatively on biblical and ancient Near Eastern literature as well as the newest work in anthropology. Clear and engaging for beginners, full of insights for biblical scholars, this book fills a major need for a masterful synthesis of life in ancient Israel."
About the Authors
Victor H. Matthews is professor of religious studies at Southwestern Missouri State University. He received a Ph.D. from Brandeis University and has written numerous popular as well as scholarly articles. He is the author of Manners and Customs in the Bible, and co-author of Old Testament Parallels: Laws and Stories from the Ancient Near East, and The Social World of Ancient Israel. Don C. Benjamin teaches at Rice University. He is co-author of Old Testament Parallels: Laws and Stories from the Ancient Near East (1991), and is author of Deuteronomy and City Life (1993).
Table of Contents
Pt. 1Ancient Israel as Villages
Ch. 1 The Father
Ch. 2 The Mother
Ch. 3 The Farmer
Ch. 4 The Herder
Ch. 5 The Midwife
Ch. 6 The Host and the Stranger
Ch. 7 The Chief
Ch. 8 The Legal Guardian
Ch. 9 The Elder
Ch. 10 The Widow
Ch. 11 The Wise and the Fool
Pt. II Ancient Israel as a State
Ch. 12 The Monarch
Ch. 13 The Virgin
Ch. 14 The Priest
Ch. 15 The Slave
Ch. 16 The Prophet
Ch. 17 The Lawgiver
Ch. 18 The Storyteller
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