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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

God and Earthly Power: An Old Testament Political Theology, Genesis-Kings
McConville, J.g.

London: T&T Clark, 2006 pp. xii + 200. $140.00

Series Information
Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies, 454


Description: The book considers the nature of human power in the light of belief in God. The bible, and especially the Old Testament, is relevant to the question, not least because perceptions about the use of power in relation to god are often derived correctly or incorrectly from it. The book is thus addressed into a world in which god's power is often invoked, from quite different quarters, in order to justify political and military action. The book considers the problem of the particularity of the Old Testament, both in general and in relation to New Testament universality. The interpretation of the Old Testament focuses on Deuteronomy and the narrative in which it is set, because these are especially fruitful for political thinking. The thesis is argued for both exegetically and in relation to actual use of the old testament in the history of political thought. An important argument of the book is that divine power, mediated through Torah, results in human freedom and a mandate for political responsibility. It is even the best guarantee of these. In this connection it is argued that in the biblical understanding of god there is not a link between monotheism and totalitarianism..

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Pentateuch, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Historical Books, Joshua, Judges, 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings, Literature, Methods, Theological Approaches, Biblical Theology, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Theology

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Review by Phillip Camp
Published 2/2/2009
Citation: Phillip Camp, review of J. G. Mcconville, God and Earthly Power: An Old Testament Political Theology, Genesis-Kings, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2009).


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