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Furthermore, God—as person—had revealed in a particular encounter the pattern and structure of communal and individual life to this people.

Claiming sovereignty over the people because of his continuing action in history on their behalf, he had established a History, moreover, disclosed not only God’s purpose but also humankind’s inability to live in accord with it.

The conception of a messenger of God that underlies biblical prophecy was ) illuminates the Bible’s poetry, style, mythological allusions, and religious or cultic terms.

Egypt provides many analogues for Hebrew hymnody and wisdom literature.

The Hebrews were seminomadic herdsmen and occasionally farmers.

Their tribal structure resembled that of the West Semitic steppe dwellers known from the 18th-century-; their family customs and law have parallels in the Old Babylonian and Hurro-Semite law of the early and middle 2nd millennium.

Even the chosen community failed in its obligation and had to be summoned back, time and again, to its responsibility by the prophets—the divinely called spokespersons who warned of retribution within history and argued and reargued the case for affirmative human response.

Thus, the Jewish people are both entitled to special privileges and burdened with special responsibilities from God.

The ultimate goal of all nature and history is an unending reign of cosmic intimacy with God, entailing universal justice and peace.

Between creation and redemption lies the particularistic designation of the Jewish people as the locus of God’s activity in the world, as the people chosen by God to be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” ( 19:6).

Although other ancient communities also perceived a divine presence in history, the understanding of the ancient proved to be the most lasting and influential.

It is this particular claim—to have experienced God’s presence in human events—and its subsequent development that is the differentiating factor in Jewish thought.

It is a total guide to religious and ethical conduct, involving ritualistic observance as well as individual and social .

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