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The Joshua GenerationIsraeli Occupation and the Bible$
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Rachel Havrelock

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691198934

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691198934.001.0001

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“So Very Much Left to Conquer” and the Persistence of the Local

“So Very Much Left to Conquer” and the Persistence of the Local

Chapter:
(p.63) 2 “So Very Much Left to Conquer” and the Persistence of the Local
Source:
The Joshua Generation
Author(s):

Rachel Havrelock

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691198934.003.0003

This chapter speculates on the nature of the ancient Israelite confederation through a close reading of the geographic traditions and boundary lists in the second half of the Book of Joshua. It argues that the record of “the land that remains” attests to the decentralized, ethnically and politically varied social landscape that the conquest narrative seeks to obscure. It shows that the tribes of Israel live alongside a host of others, that Jerusalem is divided “until today,” that no national army repels local opponents, and that a tribal system of negotiations and marriages maintain a social balance. Other than marking the persistence of decentralized political institutions, the chapter also emphasizes how the second half of Joshua attests to the incorporation of local traditions as a component of the very project of state-building. In analyzing the relationship of spatial language to social forms, it discovers local systems that cut across the territorial integrity of the represented nation.

Keywords:   Israelite confederation, Book of Joshua, tribal system, decentralized political institutions, social balance, territorial integrity

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