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Wednesday, 4 February 2015
The Secular Ruler

Judaism, the First Phase: the Place of Ezra and Nehemiah in the Origins of Judaism,
Joseph Blenkinsopp, Eerdmans, 2009, page 154

In the book of Deuteronomy, the ida of 'king' is presented as something of a constitutional monarchy. He must be native-born, avoid the usual accoutrements of kingship in the surrounding nations such as many horses or a harem, copy out his own scroll of the Torah and remain obedient to it.

Ezekiel takes a step further. In his portrayal of the nasi,or prince, almost everything said is connected with the temple cult. Blenkinsopp says:

The temple law is, basically, a blueprint for a theocracy in which politics is subordinated to religion and the secular ruler to the highest religious authorities.

It is this model, so familiar from the state of Iran today, that Blenkinsopp sees being implemented by Ezra-Nehemiah - a theocratic polity - with a few bowing concessions to the Achaemenid rulers.

Posted By Jonathan, 9:00am Comment Comments: 0