Jonathan Rowe: “Did the Ancient Jews in fact have a Republic?”

[D]id the Ancient Hebrews in fact have a “republic”? As I read the text of the Bible, I don’t see it. …

… I wonder what the prevailing theologians make of the idea that the Ancient Hebrews had a “republic.” I may be ignorant here but I can’t think of any current “leading” Christian theologian of whatever ideological stripe endorsing the notion that the Ancient Jews had a “republic.” Not Pope Benedict, not R.C. Sproul, not Russell Moore, not N.T. Wright, not (the relatively recently departed) Jaroslav Pelikan, not Miroslav Volf, not Bishop Spong, not Rachael Held Evans, etc. They may have made these arguments or addressed the issue; I’m just not aware of them.

In the past, yes, very notable thinkers did make this argument which had, according to Dr. Nelson, profound consequences. They took the notion of “republicanism” that was entirely a matter of pagan Greco-Roman origin, and grafted it onto the Old Testament. But in so doing, drafted what they saw as the economic egalitarianism of Ancient Jews into the concept of “republicanism.”

Jonathan Rowe: Did the Ancient Jews in fact have a Republic? at American Creation.

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4 thoughts on “Jonathan Rowe: “Did the Ancient Jews in fact have a Republic?”

  1. Absent a time machine, we really have no idea how Ancient Israel was really governed outside the Bible, the Talmud, and Josephus. The Bible is inconclusive. Deuteronomy talks about appointing officers and how to go about selecting a King but Judges and Samuel makes it clear that an actual King was a later development and something God wasn’t King on. Even after Ancient Israel adapted monarchy, the Bible makes it certain that a Near Eastern God-King monarchy it was not. The King of Israel was supposed to obey the Torah like every other Jew. Kings who did not, got into some big trouble. My guess is that Ancient Israel was a republic in the same way that the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was a republic even though it had a King.

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