The Concept of the Elect Nation in Byzantium


In The Concept of the Elect Nation in Byzantium, Shay Eshel shows how the Old Testament model of the ancient Israelites was a prominent factor in the evolution of Roman-Byzantine national awareness between the 7th and 13th centuries. The Byzantines' interpretation of the 7th century epic events as manifestations of God's wrath enabled them to incorporate the events into a paradigm which they now embraced: the Old Testament paradigm of the Israelite Elect Nation's complex relationship with God, a cyclic relation of sin, wrath, punishment, repentance and salvation. The Elect Nation concept enabled the Byzantines to express the shift in their collective identity toward a shrunken, yet more clearly defined, national awareness.
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Biographical Note

Shay Eshel, Ph.D., The Hebrew University and the National Library of Israel, is a Byzantinist and a translator. His Hebrew translation of Michael Psellos' Chronographia (Magness and Carmel, 2015), is the first complete Hebrew translation of a medieval Byzantine source.


All interested in Medieval Byzantium, Medieval Christian identities and the connection between religion, national identity and the Bible. Byzantinists, Medieval historians and all scholars focusing upon the Crusades and Christian-Jewish relations.


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