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This book explores a variety of biblical texts in order to clarify and better understand the relationship between the individual and the community in ancient Israel. Although much of the argument is focused upon Deuteronomy and the deuteronomistic history, other pentateuchal and prophetic texts are also probed. In particular, certain instances of divine retribution that are corporate in nature are explored, and it is argued that such punishments are quite common and completely understandable of the basic theological ideas that are operative in such cases. The examination turns to other biblical texts that appear to reject the notion of corporate divine retribution (e.g., Ezekiel 18). Here the focus is on whether these texts do in fact reject all forms of corporate divine retribution and how large a shift these texts signal in the biblical understanding of the relationship between the individual and the community. Finally, Kaminsky asserts that certain theological features explored in this study can be used by those scholars who argue that the enlightenment idea of individualism needs to be balanced by a renewed philosophical and theological emphasis on the individual's responsibility to the larger society.
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About the Author
Joel Kaminsky is Assistant Professor of Religion at St Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota.