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The Commemoration of Defeat and the Formation of a Nation in the Hebrew Bible


". . . I would argue that the emergence of a “national” consciousness in Israel and Judah was originally fueled by many factors, such as a confined and remote core territory, a history of tribal allegiances, language, culture, law, cult, and ongoing military conflicts.

But more important than these factors or any institution of statecraft was the anticipation of defeat and defeat itself. When life could not continue as usual, and the state armies had been conquered, one was forced to answer the question: Who are we?

The biblical architects of Israel’s memories responded to this question by (selectively) gathering fragments of their collective past and using this material to construct a narrative that depicts the origins of the nation and the history leading up to the major catastrophe.
Much of the historical narrative treats the period before the rise of the monarchy,
and portrays Israel existing as a people long before it established a kingdom. . . . "


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