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Old Testament Essays

On-line version ISSN 2312-3621
Print version ISSN 1010-9919


MEYER, Esias E.. Strategies for survival or recipes for oppression?: A critical discussion of the work of Daniel Smith-Christopher. Old testam. essays [online]. 2008, vol.21, n.1, pp.136-148. ISSN 2312-3621.

This article is a critical engagement with the work of Daniel Smith-Christopher who has attempted to describe the social impact of the exile on the group of people who were taken to Babylon. Suffering changed their identity and their understanding of who they were. In order to survive, they had to develop strategies to cope with their new reality. The exiles understood themselves as a group 'purified ' by the experience of exile. In their own eyes they were the 'true ' Israel. Smith-Christopher has consistently argued that what they did when they returned to the province of Yehud should be understood in this light. His work is contrasted with that of other scholars who were more interested in the plight of those who remained in the land which leads to questions such as the following: Is it responsible to only present the side of the deported elite as Smith-Christopher is doing? And: When do strategies developed for the sake of survival change into recipes for oppression?

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