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Bibil Identifier bibil:223916
Publication Type Journal article
Title (English, Long) Using the Concept of Ethnicity in Defining Philistine Identity in the Iron Age
Author Lemche, Niels Peter
Journal Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament (Volume: 26, Issue: 1)
Year (Publication) 2012
Year (Original (1st Edition)) 2012
Year (Copyright) 2012
Year (Reference) 2012
Language English
Pages 12-29 Pages
Genre Original
Abstract Normally the discussion about Philistine identity vis-à-vis Isra-elite identity moves on a macro basis: On one side the Philistines, and on the other the Israelites. Little attention has been paid to the related concept of “scale and social organization.” If we try to find a background for the macro definitions: Israelites, Philistines, we move on an imaginary level. It is a kind of literary concept nourished among the elite—never more than a few percent of any ancient society. The realities of ancient Palestine in the Iron Age were different. First of all nationality was an unknown concept, and any idea of ethnicity related to the issue of nationality (as in Avraham Faust's recent book on Israelite origins) is irrelevant. Second, there were, as argued by, among others Mario Liverani, no national borders in Antiquity. Borders were fiscal delimitations: Who paid tax to whom? Third, ethnicity follows the group, and a certain person may change identity as he moves through differ-ent groups. In a society of such small extent as ancient Palestine, each villager would have an identity defined by his village as against the members of the neighboring community—ethnicity cannot be separated from identity—and villagers living in one area will have a distinct consciousness of being differ-ent from those who live “on the other side of the river.” “National” identity, when the idea of ethnicity includes all people living within the fiscal borders of an ancient state, would hardly ever be called upon, except when the elite wanted to defend its privileges—its right to obtain taxes—against intruders. Thus the concept of a Philistine—Israelite controversy based on different ide-as about ethnicity is no more than a projection of modern ideas about the na-tional state which came into being two hundred years ago.
DOI 10.1080/09018328.2012.704209
Keywords Thesaurus BiBIL : Ancient Near East : Ancient Near East (in general) : Themes : Philistines
Thesaurus BiBIL : Unbound Keywords : Ethnicity
Last modification 2017-10-27