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Introducing the Old Testament$
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R. J. Coggins

Print publication date: 1990

Print ISBN-13: 9780192132543

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192132543.001.0001

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What Kind of Society was Israel?

What Kind of Society was Israel?

(p.56) 5 What Kind of Society was Israel?
Introducing the Old Testament

P. R. Ackroyd

G. N. Stanton

Oxford University Press

This chapter is concerned with the social context of the Old Testament. The books of the Old Testament are by and large considered the products of the upper sections of society in ancient Israel. This is so because literacy was the preserve of a relatively small group and the establishment and development of historical traditions was the work of intellectual elite. Whenever servants or slaves are referred to it is always assumed that the readers would be those who might themselves possess them. This chapter also takes up the question of the uniqueness of Israelites and their exalted position in the eyes of God. Referring to Max Weber's Ancient Judaism it is suggested that the Old Testament has provided one of the matrices from which serious sociology study developed.

Keywords:   Old Testament, social context, historical traditions, Max Weber, Ancient Judaism, Israel

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