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Re-Reading the Prophets Through Corporate Globalization


A Cultural-Evolutionary Approach to Economic Injustice in the Hebrew Bible


Using societal patterns of exploitation that are evidenced in agrarian societies from the Bronze Age to modern-day corporate globalization, Re-Reading the Prophets offers a new approach to understanding the hidden contexts behind prophetic complaints against economic injustice in eighth-century Judah.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-60724-978-8
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Apr 8,2010
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 343
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-60724-978-8
$168.00

While prophetic texts attributed to eighth-century Judah offer some of the Bible’s most scathing attacks against economic exploitation, their socio-economic contexts remain hidden. Theories as to motivations, societal consequences, and even the identities of the perpetrators and victims of these acts are largely speculative. Re-Reading the Prophets Through Corporate Globalization offers a fresh approach to understanding these ancient texts.

Corporate Globalization is the most recent cycle in an ancient series of large-scale trade systems, often resulting in cultural-evolutionary patterns that lead to land consolidation and unequal wealth distribution. Building upon Marvin Chaney’s and D.N. Premnath’s theory that prophetic complaints against landownership abuse reflect such a shift during Judah’s absorption into the Assyrian trade-nexus, this book explores the interpretive value of the presence of these patterns in corporate globalization. While the current economic system is vastly different from its Iron Age counterpart, the wounds that it inflicts appear to be similar, allowing for new questions and meaning to be drawn from biblical texts that have been reluctant to give up their secrets.

While prophetic texts attributed to eighth-century Judah offer some of the Bible’s most scathing attacks against economic exploitation, their socio-economic contexts remain hidden. Theories as to motivations, societal consequences, and even the identities of the perpetrators and victims of these acts are largely speculative. Re-Reading the Prophets Through Corporate Globalization offers a fresh approach to understanding these ancient texts.

Corporate Globalization is the most recent cycle in an ancient series of large-scale trade systems, often resulting in cultural-evolutionary patterns that lead to land consolidation and unequal wealth distribution. Building upon Marvin Chaney’s and D.N. Premnath’s theory that prophetic complaints against landownership abuse reflect such a shift during Judah’s absorption into the Assyrian trade-nexus, this book explores the interpretive value of the presence of these patterns in corporate globalization. While the current economic system is vastly different from its Iron Age counterpart, the wounds that it inflicts appear to be similar, allowing for new questions and meaning to be drawn from biblical texts that have been reluctant to give up their secrets.

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Contributor Biography

Matthew Coomber

Matthew Coomber is a visiting scholar at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. He completed his Ph.D. in Biblical Studies at the University of Sheffield, where he organised and directed the 2008 Conference on Bible and Justice. Coomber has edited and contributed a chapter to a subsequent conference volume, Bible and Justice: Ancient Texts, Modern Challenges and has guest-edited a special conference edition of Political Theology.

  • Dedication Page (page 5)
  • Table of Contents (page 7)
  • Preface (page 11)
  • Acknowledgments (page 13)
  • Abbreviations (page 17)
  • 1Introduction: The Lost Contexts of Eighth-Century Prophecy (page 19)
    • A. Traditional Interpretations of Landownership Abuse in Eighth-Century Judah (page 22)
      • Biblical Commentary on Mic. 2.1…2 and Isa. 5.8…10 (page 23)
      • Mic. 2.1…2 (page 25)
      • Isa. 5.8…10 (page 31)
  • 2Cultural-Evolutionary Theory and Economic Motivation (page 51)
    • A. Foundations and Development of Cultural-Evolutionary Theory (page 54)
      • Reactions to Xenophobia in Early Cultural-Evolutionary Theory (page 57)
      • The Theory of Multilinear Evolution (page 61)
    • B. Motivations for Economic Behavior (page 64)
      • The Substantivist/Structuralist Schools (page 65)
      • The Formalist/Ecological Schools (page 70)
      • Structuralism and the Ecological in the Context of Biblical Interpretation (page 74)
    • C. The Development of Political Economies in Subsistence Communities (page 78)
      • Economic Strategy in Subsistence Agriculture (page 78)
      • Causes and Consequences of Adaptation (page 80)
      • Negative Consequences of a Strengthened Political Economy (page 84)
    • D. The Interpretive Value of Cultural-Evolutionary Theory in Biblical Studies (page 89)
      • Chaneys and Premnaths use of Cultural-Evolutionary Theory (page 91)
  • 3Trade and Transformation in the Ancient World (page 95)
    • A. Effects of Interregional Trade in the Bronze Age (page 97)
      • Cycles of Urbanism and Trade in the EarlyBronze Age (page 99)
      • Middle Bronze Age Cycles (page 103)
      • Evidence of Societal Transformation in the Bronze Age (page 105)
      • Latifundialization in the Wider Ancient Near Eastern Context (page 110)
    • B. Eighth-Century Palestine and Neo-Assyrian Expansion (page 115)
      • The Revitalization of Ekron (page 116)
      • Ashkelon in the Assyrian Trade Nexus (page 124)
    • C. Judahs Entrance into an Eighth-Century World System (page 129)
      • Societal Transformation in Judah (page 131)
      • Eighth-Century Judean Transformation as Cultural Evolution (page 141)
  • 4Twentieth-Century Corporate Globalization (page 153)
    • A. The Development of Twentieth-Century Corporate Globalization (page 156)
      • Development of the IMF and the World Bank (page 158)
      • Bretton Woods Vision Versus Actualization (page 162)
      • Conditionality and Social Change in the Developing World (page 167)
    • B. The 1980s Debt Crisis and Cultural-Evolutionary Theory (page 178)
      • The Roots of the Debt Crisis (page 179)
      • Crisis Management and Perpetuation (page 182)
      • Attempts to Address the Negative Outcomes ofStructural Adjustment (page 189)
    • C. Conclusion (page 191)
  • 5Reshaping Landownership in Tunisia (page 197)
    • A. A Brief Introduction to Land Tenure in Tunisia (page 197)
      • Why Tunisia Is a Useful Case Study (page 198)
      • Traditional Land Tenure in Rural Tunisia (page 200)
    • B. French Prologue to Land Abuses in Independent Tunisia (page 203)
      • Effects of Colonialism on Tunisian Subsistence Farmers (page 205)
    • C. Tunisian Independence and Land Reforms (page 207)
      • The Privatization of Traditional Collectives (page 208)
      • 1950s Land Reforms and Cultural-Evolutionary Theory (page 215)
    • D. The 1960s Néo-Destourian Socialist Experiment (page 221)
      • The Rise of Néo-Destour Socialism (page 222)
      • The Failings and Collapse of Néo-Destourian Socialism (page 224)
      • Socialist Destour and Cultural-Evolutionary Theory (page 228)
    • E. Privatization, Liberalization, and Oppression in the 1970s (page 229)
      • Land Privatization (page 229)
      • Acceptance of World Bank Conditions (page 232)
      • Policy Failures, Resistance, and Violent Oppression (page 234)
      • Policies of the 1970s and Cultural-Evolutionary Theory (page 235)
    • F. Solidification of Societal Change in the 1980s and Its Consequences on Standards of Living (page 238)
      • Effects of Accelerated Liberalization on Public Heath (page 240)
      • Effects of Accelerated Liberalization on Wealth Discrepancy (page 241)
      • Accelerated Liberalization and Cultural-Evolutionary Theory (page 242)
    • G. Conclusion (page 243)
  • 6Insights to Be Gained through the Modern Context (page 245)
    • A. Introduction (page 245)
      • What Globalization and Tunisia Might Contribute (page 246)
    • B. The Voices of the Oppressed (page 250)
      • Displacement of Subsistence Farmers and Altered Social Relations (page 251)
      • The Poorest of the Poor (page 255)
      • Observations of an Educated Peasant (page 263)
      • Contempt for the Poor amongst the Elite (page 268)
      • An Alternative Perspective (page 270)
    • C. Shifts in Regional Power Structures (page 273)
      • Tunisian Power-Shifts and the Prophetic Texts (page 276)
      • Potential Motivations behind the Composition of Isa. 5.8…10 and Mic. 2.1…2 (page 278)
    • D. Conclusion (page 282)
  • 7Conclusion (page 283)
    • A. What Has Been Discovered (page 284)
      • The Contextual Problem and the Use of Cultural Evolution (page 284)
      • Historical and Archaeological Precedence (page 286)
      • The Evolution of World Systems into the Modern Day (page 289)
      • Modern-Day Corporate Globalization and Tunisia (page 290)
      • The Value of This Interdisciplinary Approach (page 293)
    • B. Contributions Offered by This Study (page 294)
      • The Issue of Perpetrators and Victims (page 294)
    • C. Potential for Future Study (page 299)
  • Bibliography (page 303)
  • Index (page 333)
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