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Christian Identity, Jews, and Israel in 17th-Century England$
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Achsah Guibbory

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199557165

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199557165.001.0001

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Political Alternatives and Israelite Foundations

Political Alternatives and Israelite Foundations

(p.160) 5 Political Alternatives and Israelite Foundations
Christian Identity, Jews, and Israel in 17th-Century England

Achsah Guibbory

Oxford University Press

After Charles I's execution, England became officially a ‘Commonwealth.’ But discussion continued: what did a ‘commonwealth’ mean? England's new order and Cromwell (even as Lord Protector) were described by Milton and others with reference to Exodus and Judges. As more radical political alternatives were proposed, Diggers, republicans, and Fifth Monarchists all looked to the Hebrew Bible and Jewish precedent. Gerrard Winstanley's proposal for getting rid of property was grounded in his reading of the Hebrew Bible and the Hebrew prophets. The republican James Harrington looked to the biblical Jews and the commonwealth established by Moses in the wilderness. Fifth Monarchists like John Rogers wanted to reform England's judicial system by reinstituting Mosaic law. Winstanley and Rogers looked to Moses, Amos, and Isaiah, emphasizing that justice must not ‘respect persons.’ Reforms would make England the restored Israel Isaiah described.

Keywords:   Commonwealth, Jewish precedent, Milton, Cromwell, Gerrard Winstanley, James Harrington, John Rogers, republicans, Fifth Monarchists, Mosaic law

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