God's Favorites: Judaism, Christianity, and the Myth of Divine Chosenness

God's Favorites: Judaism, Christianity, and the Myth of Divine Chosenness

by Michael Coogan

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Overview

A noted biblical scholar explores how the claim of divine choice has been used from ancient times to the present to justify territorial expansion and prejudice.

The Bible describes many individuals and groups as specially chosen by God. But does God choose at all? Michael Coogan explains the temporally layered and allusive storytelling of biblical texts and describes the world of the ancient Near East from which it emerged, laying bare the power struggles, the acts of vengeance, and persecutions made sacred by claims of chosenness.

Jumping forward to more modern contexts, Coogan reminds us how the self-designation of the Puritan colonizers of New England as God’s new Israel eventually morphed, in the United States, into the self-justifying doctrines of manifest destiny and American exceptionalism. In contemporary Israel, both fundamentalist Zionists and their evangelical American partners cite the Jews’ status as God’s chosen people as justification for taking land—for very different ends. Appropriated uncritically, the Bible has thus been used to reinforce exclusivity and superiority, with new myths based on old myths.

Finally, in place of the pernicious idea of chosenness, Coogan suggests we might instead focus on another key biblical concept: taking care of the immigrant and the refugee, reminding the reader of the unusual focus on the vulnerable in both the Hebrew Bible and New Testament.


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807001943
Publisher: Beacon Press
Publication date: 04/02/2019
Pages: 200
Sales rank: 1,176,865
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Michael Coogan is Lecturer on Old Testament/Hebrew Bible at Harvard Divinity School and Director of Publications for the Harvard Semitic Museum. He has written and edited many articles and books and has appeared on such programs as Nova's The Bible's Buried Secrets. Coogan has also taught at Stonehill College, Boston College, Wellesley College, Fordham University, and the University of Waterloo (Ontario), and has participated in and directed archaeological excavations in Israel, Jordan, Cyprus, and Egypt.

Jeff Zinn is an experienced narrator, actor, and director with more than thirty years of experience. Best known for his work as the artistic director of the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, he has produced or directed more than 150 of their productions. He currently resides in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1
Presuppositions
Map of the Near East

CHAPTER 2
Abraham and Sons
Timeline

CHAPTER 3
His Name Is Jealous
Map of Ancient Israel and Its Neighbors

CHAPTER 4
Divinely Chosen Kings and Kingdoms

CHAPTER 5
Which Survivors Were Chosen?

CHAPTER 6
Christians as a New Chosen People

CHAPTER 7
Beyond the Bible: Sacred Texts and Sacred Places

CHAPTER 8
God Shed His Light on Thee?

CHAPTER 9
Fundamentalist Zionisms

CHAPTER 10
Immigrants and Refugees, Ideals and Realities

CHAPTER 11
Beyond Tribalism

Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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