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Evil LordsTheories and Representations of Tyranny from Antiquity to the Renaissance$
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Nikos Panou and Hester Schadee

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199394852

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199394852.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 October 2020

‘A King Like the Other Nations’

‘A King Like the Other Nations’

The Foreignness of Tyranny in the Hebrew Bible

(p.27) 2 ‘A King Like the Other Nations’
Evil Lords

Jennie Grillo

Oxford University Press

From Greek thought, this chapter moves to another foundational corpus, exploring the—not unrelated—question of what it means to be a bad king in the Hebrew Bible. The answer to this question focuses on a particular type of marginality, to wit foreignness in various forms. Exotic otherness is shown to have served as a basic negative trait already in the central strata of the biblical corpus, while originally Greek conceptions of oriental despotism influenced the depiction of bad kingship in post-exilic texts. By contrast, in textual layers of a still later date, all earthly kingship is dismissed as evil: as the chapter describes, a long history of disappointment with bad Jewish kings led to the biblical proclamation of Yahweh as the only lord fit to rule over Israel.

Keywords:   monarchy, tyranny, Hebrew Bible, exoticism, foreignness, Israel

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