We often think of Israelite society in biblical terms. The truth is that there was never an exact match between Israelite social realities and biblical ideals. While it is true that those ideals were commanded of Israel and at times they did their best to live them, ultimately Israel still functioned in organic ways just as all societies do.
In Law, Power, and Justice in Ancient Israel Douglas Knight shows how the legal codes in Israel both matched and departed from the biblical ones. He examines the evidence for extra-biblical codes in local communities while also showing just hoe the biblical laws actually functioned in Israel.
Comprehensive in scope, and highly detailed this book promises to shed new light on some of Israel's most complex social questions and political perspectives. This is a ground-breaking study that should occupy a significant amount of time in the minds of Old Testament scholars.
From leading Old Testament scholar Douglas A. Knight comes the latest volume in WJK's Library of Ancient Israel series. Using socio-anthropological theory and archaeological evidence, Knight argues that while the laws in the Hebrew Bible tend to reflect the interests of those in power, the majority of ancient Israelites located in villages developed their own unwritten customary laws to regulate behavior and resolve legal conflicts in their own communities. This book includes numerous examples from village, city, and cult.
Volumes in the Library of Ancient Israel draw on multiple disciplines such as archaeology, anthropology, sociology, linguistics, and literary criticism to illuminate the everyday realities and social subtleties these ancient cultures experienced. This series employs sophisticated methods that depict the reality of the people behind the Hebrew Bible and interprets these insights for a wide variety of readers.