Cover image for Ethnicity and Identity in Ancient Israel: Prolegomena to the Study of Ethnic Sentiments and Their Expression in the Hebrew Bible By Kenton L. Sparks

Ethnicity and Identity in Ancient Israel

Prolegomena to the Study of Ethnic Sentiments and Their Expression in the Hebrew Bible

Kenton L. Sparks

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ISBN: 978-1-57506-033-0


Ethnicity and Identity in Ancient Israel

Prolegomena to the Study of Ethnic Sentiments and Their Expression in the Hebrew Bible

Kenton L. Sparks

From the introduction:

 

  • Description
  • Table of Contents
From the introduction:

“When we speak of ethnicity, we bring into view a particular kind of sentiment about group identity wherein groups of individuals view themselves as being alike by virtue of their common ancestry. It is something of a truism to point out that ethnicity has played an important role in the history of Judaism, both in the postbiblical era and prior to it....The reason for this interest is twofold. First, in virtually every discipline of the humanities, there seems to be a general unhappiness with the superficial way that scholars have handled the issues of culture and identity. More specifically, with respect to ancient Israel, recent biblical scholarly activity—both literary and historical—has raised serious doubts about the supposed origins and antiquity of Israelite ethnicity.”

With this agenda in view, Kent Sparks provides a summary of current studies in ethnicity and ethnic identity, then moves to a discussion of Israel’s ancient Near Eastern context and expressions of ethnic identity in the written remains from surrounding nations. Turning next to ancient Israel itself, he examines texts generally considered early in Israel’s history for information relevant to Israel’s ethnic identity. Sparks then investigates the witness of the prophets and the historical materials relating to the Judean monarchy and the exilic period, looking for expressions of ethnic sentiment. His research will likely prove to be the foundation on which future study of the topic will be built.

1. Introduction

Israel’s Ethnic Identity: Issues and Problems

The Role of Ethnicity Studies

2. Ethnicity and Identity in Israel’s Ancient Context

Ethnicity and Identity in Neo-Assyria

Ethnicity and Identity in Archaic and Classical Greece

Ethnicity and Identity in Egypt

Summary

3. Merneptah’s Stele and Deborah’s Song

Israelite Identity and the Merneptah Stele

The Song of Deborah (Judges 5)

Summary and Conclusions

4. Ethnicity and Identity in the Assyrian Period

Ethnicity and Identity in Hosea

Ethnicity and Identity in Amos

Ethnicity and Identity in Isaiah of Jerusalem

Summary: Ethnicity and Identity in the Assyrian Period

Excursus: Core and Periphery in the Assyrian Period—A Proposal

5. Ethnicity and Identity in the Judean Monarchy

Deuteronomy

Excursus 1: The Tribal List in the ‘Blessing of Moses’ (Deuteronomy 33)

Excursus 2: The Deuteronomistic History

Jeremiah

Summary: Ethnicity and Identity in the Judean Monarchy

6. Ethnicity and Identity in the Exilic Period

Ezekiel

Deutero-Isaiah

Summary: Ethnicity and Identity in the Exilic Period and Beyond

7. Summary and Conclusions

The History of Israelite Ethnicity

Tribal Organization in Ancient Israel

The Forefather Traditions of Ancient Israel

Implications for Ethnicity Studies

The Task That Remains

Theological Reflections

Index of Authors

Index of Scripture

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