The Emergence of Tribalism in the Pentateuchal Narratives

by Dr. Martin Sicker



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 12/09/2023

Format : E-Book
Dimensions : N/A
Page Count : 236
ISBN : 9798369407301
Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 236
ISBN : 9798369407318

About the Book

Tribalism in the twenty-first century, as it has since prehistoric times, implies the possession of a strong cultural or ethnic identity that separates one member of a group from the members of another group. Based on strong relations of proximity and kinship, as well as relations based on the mutual survival of both the individual members of the tribe and for the tribe itself, members of a tribe tend to possess a strong feeling of identity. In contemporary times, tribalism has been castigated as a primitive and regressive form of social structure that impedes national development, and numerous instances can be shown where this appears to be an accurate assessment. As will be pointed out in the following study of the origins of tribalism in ancient Jewish history, the biblical narrative appears to corroborate that assessment. However, when considering the more than three millennia of Jewish history, it can be argued that tribalism played a highly significant role in its perseverance from remote antiquity to the present day. Beginning with the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BCE, and the subsequent dispersion of the children of Israel from their homeland to the diverse parts of the world since then, disconnected communities of Jews persisted in upholding the core teachings of Judaism based on the written laws originally transmitted by Moses, and augmented by differing traditions. In effect, the Jewish diaspora consisted of independent but nonetheless tribal clans predicated on common core biblical teachings distinct from those of the host entities. The present work focusses on the emergence of tribalism as implicitly recounted in the narratives of the Pentateuch. It begins with the first family and concludes with the era of Moses, as the children of Israel prepare to cross the Jordan to enter the land of Canaan as promised to the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The matter of tribalism is not addressed as such by the biblical narrator, whose primary focus is on the relations and interactions between God and man. However, the subject of tribalism can be seen implicit in the narratives when considered from sociological and political perspectives.

About the Author