In God and Earthly Power, J. G. McConville considers the nature of human power in the light of belief in God. The Bible, and especially the Old Testament, is relevant to the question, not least because perceptions about the use of power in relation to God are often derived correctly or incorrectly from it. This book thus aims to address a world in which God’s power is often invoked, from quite different quarters, in order to justify political and military action.
McConville’s interpretation of the Old Testament focuses on Deuteronomy and the narrative in which it is set, because these are especially fruitful for political thinking. His case is argued for both exegetically and in relation to the actual use of the Old Testament in the history of political thought. McConville’s core argument is that divine power, mediated through Torah, results in human freedom and a mandate for the political responsibility of citizens. Indeed, it is even the best guarantee of these.
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