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Old Testament Essays

versión On-line ISSN 2312-3621
versión impresa ISSN 1010-9919

Old testam. essays vol.21 no.1 Pretoria  2008

 

Strategies for survival or recipes for oppression? A critical discussion of the work of Daniel Smith-Christopher1

 

 

Esias E. Meyer

Department Old and New Testament. University of Stellenbosch

 

 


ABSTRACT

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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1 Paper delivered at the Annual Meeting of the Old Testament Society of South Africa (OTSSA), Pretoria, 22-24 August 2007. Esias E. Meyer, Department Old and New Testament, University of Stellenbosch. E-mail: eem@sun.ac.za

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