The Book of Exodus: A Biography

Joel S. Baden. Princeton Univ., $26.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-691-16954-5
In this masterful piece of scholarship, Baden (Bible Nation), professor of Hebrew Bible at Yale Divinity School, considers the Book of Exodus from two angles: as a series of historical events upon which the Bible stories may or may not be based, and as a story that’s been widely repurposed. Baden starts with an exploration of Exodus as a possible event (or set of historical events) which would have produced archaeological or textual evidence that, Biden notes, has never been found. He then discusses Exodus as the foundational text for early Jewish community rituals—specifically the development of Passover and the encounter with God atop the mountain becoming a defining factor in early Jewish law. Baden argues that Exodus became a point of contention between Jewish and Christian commentators on the Bible, who wished to remove it from a Jewish framework—Martin Luther, in fact, used Exodus as a justification for his writings against the Catholic Church. Baden concludes his examination with two fantastic chapters on the use of Exodus in more modern settings, specifically how leaders within the American civil rights movement and liberation theology pointed to Exodus as an inspiration. Baden’s accessible prose will make this exceptional work appeal to scholars and general readers alike. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 01/28/2019
Release date: 04/30/2019
Genre: Religion
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-691-18927-7
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