Université de Strasbourg

Fellows Seminar – The hypothesis of the Israelite revolution

November 25, 2021
From 15:30 until 17:00
Strasbourg (FR)

Image CCXpistavios / Pixabay

By Jacob Rogozinski, 2018 Fellow

In the project that I proposed to USIAS, Towards a hermeneutic of emancipation: the paradigm of Exodus, my original hypothesis was that the three monotheisms were originally constituted as movements of emancipation. My aim was to engage in research on the founding story of Judaism, which tells of the liberation of the Hebrew by Moses. We can see it as a "paradigm of revolutionary politics" which would reappear in various movements of emancipation. I announced beforehand that I would not rely on methods of historical criticism, but rather apply a hermeneutical approach centered on the texts of the Bible.

However, the implementation of the programme led me to modify my initial approach. I in fact decided to put to use the recent discoveries of archaeologists and historians. These show: (1) that uprisings against the Egyptian occupation of Canaan took place from the 14th to 12th centuries BC, led by rebels called the Habiru - (2) that there were communities called Israel who had left the cities to prefer an egalitarian way of life - (3) that, after the departure of the Egyptian occupiers, several Canaanite cities were destroyed by uprisings - (4) that there is no record of worship of a god called " YHVH "prior to this period.

This consequently led me to adopt the hypothesis of an Israelite revolution, which would have been accompanied by a religious revolution, of the introduction of a new god presented as the liberator of the oppressed. It is this revolution that has been presented in tradition in a distorted way, as an "exodus" from Egypt to a "Promised Land".

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