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A noted political philosopher offers a moving meditation on the political meanings of the biblical story of Exodus -- from oppression to deliverance and the promised land.
black & white illustrations
black & white illustrations
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is an excellent (and short) discussion of how various revolutionaries over time have applied the Exodus story to their own situations.
Walzer begins by focusing on Egyptian slavery. He notes that it is not just the fact of slavery that the Torah condemns, but its oppressiveness and injustice. Slaves in the ancient world were often prisoners of war or had sold themselves into bondage. But the Hebrews were neither- instead, they were immigrants who were enslaved by a arbitrary (and thus lawless) king Because American blacks, like Hebrews, were strangers in a strange land, they saw their position as especially similar to that of the Hebrews. And because Egyptian slavery involved the abuse of state power, rebels against oppressive state power have often seen their situation as similar.
Walzer moves on to the behavior of the freed slaves in the wilderness, especially their continual backsliding and complaints against Moses, and the occasional violent...
Walzer is a Princeton Professor who writes in this book that Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Rousseau have their precursors in the Torah's Exodus narrative. Walzer is not interested in the implications of Biblical Higher Criticism, nor is he interested in theology per se. Rather, he looks at how the Exodus narrative out of Egypt has been used for social arguments. He then goes on to find those aspects within the narrative and elaborate. He writes, "I don't mean to disparage the sacred, only to explore the secular: my subject is not what God has done but what men and women have done, first with the biblical text itself and then in the world, with the text in their hands." Walzer does a good job writing how covenant theology developed in the Torah: from Noah, to Abraham, to Moses and the Israelites. He says that the post-Sinai covenant is in "good Rousseauian fashion, out of the wills of independents." He says that "revolution" is the narrative of "oppression, liberation,...
This book has become a classic. It is readable, inspiring and a great supplement to the Passover Haggadah. My old copy was falling apart from use so I ordered a new one for my library in time for Passover.
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