Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Bible and Politics 101: Question 2


What are the three choices in human history for political order?

According to the late Jewish political theologian, Daniel J. Elezar, they are 1) hierarchy, 2) oligarchy and 3) covenant.

1. Hierarchy is the natural result of conquest in war. In antiquity, the hierarchical model is seen in Egypt. Here, the Pharaoh claims to be a son of the gods, and thus, he asserts authority over all Egyptians according to his singular will. It is the model of the top-down pyramid, and its economic survival depends on massive slavery.

2. Oligarchy, and its first cousin, plutocracy, arise organically out of communities where a given family or set of families gain control. In antiquity, ancient Greece is the model. It is a model from within, but near the top of the pyramid, and its economic survival also depends on massive slavery.

Ancient Rome is an admixture of the hierarchal and oligarchal models, and its economic survival also depends on massive slavery..

3. Covenant is a matter of divine revelation where Yahweh is King, and where there are checks and balances on human power. Authority is for the well-being of all people, and not the private domain of a self-aggrandizing elite. In antiquity, this is the nation of Israel, where the bottom of the pyramid is in control, and its economic model is based on freedom for all equally.

Only biblical literacy can serve human freedom.


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