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Piety and Politics
The Dynamics of Royal Authority in Homeric Greece, Biblical Israel, and Old Babylonian Mesopotamia
PAPERBACK; Published: 4/21/2003
ISBN: 978-0-8028-4505-4
Price: $ 43.50
422 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6.14 x 9.21

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Journal of Biblical Literature
"One of those rare books that, if taken seriously, would shake up our disciplinary structures as well as our lives."
Michael P. O'Connor
"The oldest kings whose stories we know well are the kings in the Old Testament and in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. Launderville here carefully explores the rhetorical basis of royal authority and power in these works. He also studies the kings of Hammurapi's Babylon, in the process revealing patterns of archaic political thought shared by the ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean worlds."
Lawrence Boadt
"Dale Launderville has brought together a vast array of information and insight into the relations of religion and politics in the ancient Near Eastern world. A superb resource for identifying the major characteristics of three of the most significant ancient societies in whose steps we still walk, this study focuses on the role of kingship and royal authority in relation to God or the gods of a nation, because kings were always seen in a special relationship with the divine on behalf of the entire people. But Launderville goes beyond the outward forms in such very different societies and identifies the common elements as well as the unique features of each. What he uncovers is how much they valued the same ideal of harmony and peace for everyone in society, and this deepest longing was present in pagan polytheism as well as in the monotheistic faith of Israel.

Piety and Politics is a tour de force on the culture and ideals of the greatest civilizations of the past and how their successes, failures, and hopes still teach us today in our ideals for society. Issues of justice, individual rights, cooperation, and constant submission to the will of the gods ran deep through all three societies, but only the monotheism of Israel's faith was able to survive intact to bring these ideals to the modern world. Readers of this study will broaden their understanding of history, culture, ancient religion, and the role of royalty in national government and will clearly see the implications of Launderville's discussion for our contemporary world."

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