Political Models and the End of the World in Zephaniah

In: Biblical Interpretation
Daniel Timmer Faculté de théologie évangélique (Montréal), Canada

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This article pairs the lenses of religious studies and political analysis in order to understand better the utopian future envisioned by the Book of Zephaniah. Identifying prominent political elements in light of common ancient Near Eastern models of statehood, it focuses on the political process that the Book of Zephaniah sees as culminating world history. The elimination from Judah and from other nations of those who do not follow or submit to Yhwh is correlated with empire formation, followed by a surprising shift to a territorial state model in which the remaining citizens of the nations and of Judah form a unified religious community without sharing a common homeland. The study concludes with reflections on the utility of political analysis for understanding religious utopian visions of the future.

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