Covenant and International Relations in the Ancient Near East: A Preliminary Exploration
Antiguo Oriente, 11: 129-154
29 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2015
Date Written: 2013
To a great extent, ancient Near Eastern international relations operated within covenantal frameworks. In light of renewed interest in world history and the Near East in the discipline of International Relations, this article provides a preliminary exploration of the important practice of covenanting as an alternative account of balance-of-power dynamics. The notion, structure and diffusion of the covenant as a common practice has been discussed to great detail in other disciplines, such as, for example, Old Testament Studies. Dialogue with these studies will be pursued, but covenanting is here addressed also in some of its primary sources in light of the English School approach. As it turns out, the practice accounts for a number of peculiarities in alliance formation of the period. The preliminary findings are contrasted with alternative IR accounts of ancient Near Eastern power-balancing.
Keywords: Ancient Near East, International Relations, Diplomacy, English School IR
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