Leadership, Self-Governance and Nationhood in the Hebrew Bible
Geoffrey P. Miller
New York University School of Law
August 11, 2010
NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 10-50
This article extends prior work on the political theory of the Hebrew Bible. Previous papers presented the Garden of Eden story as a prolegomenon outlining concepts of legitimate authority; the stories of the Dark Age and the Flood as justifying the role of government and law in human society; the accounts of the Patriarchs as an exploration of patriarchal organization; and the early chapters of the book of Exodus as comparing and contrasting nomadism, dependency, slavery and nationhood as models of political organization. The present paper examines the biblical author’s ideas about self-governances as a step towards the achievement of nationhood. Key elements of self-governance are a population to be organized, a need for organization, a leader capable of performing the organizing task, and political action to establish the group’s autonomy. The author provides a remarkably sophisticated treatment of charismatic leadership and the tension between the leader’s personal and political identities.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 25working papers series
Date posted: August 13, 2010 ; Last revised: August 24, 2011
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