What makes people a people? What are the forms of their collective identity that unite them and guide their lives? What are they looking for? Why are they struggling?
These questions have come to the surface in our turbulent times, when debates revolve around the validity of the nation-state and the meaning of “the people.” Celebrating globalization, global elites are increasingly operating and seeing themselves as “citizens of the world”. Reaffirming ancient identities, many citizens who cherish their nation’s ways see themselves threatened by foreign ideologies and uninitiated immigrants. Even in our well-established American Republic, nation identification and unification has become a pressing question.
To help reflect on these issues, I turn to Exodus. Why are you out? This biblical book does not narrate the political establishment of one of the world’s oldest and most influential people. It also invites us to reflect on the moral meaning of group life, the requirements for political autonomy and criteria for judging a social system for better or worse.
Many great thinkers, both religious and non-religious, have considered exiting his political wisdom. In the seventeenth century, political thinkers found guidelines for reform in the ancient “Hebrew Republic,” while jurists saw in the Hebrew Bible the basis for universal principles of justice. The idea that the best political body based on the biblical concept of the covenant was introduced to the American colonies was introduced into the American colonies through the Mayflower Agreement, and the American tradition of civil republics owes much to the Puritans’ devotion to the Hebrew Bible.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau may have put forward the case for the investigation of political teachings to come out more eloquently and succinctly in the late eighteenth century: “The Jews offer us an astonishing scene: Laws [Greek and Roman lawgivers] The very old laws of Moses are still alive. Any person, whatever it may be, must acknowledge this as a unique miracle whose causes, divine or human, deserving of the study and admiration of the wise.