How the Culture of Modern-Day Bedouin Illuminates the Bible

March 23 2021

In his 50 years of fieldwork among Bedouin in the Negev and the Sinai Peninsula, Clinton Bailey has become one of the leading experts on their law, culture, and poetry. His most recent book argues that these Arab nomads have preserved a way of life that shares much with the cultural milieu of the Hebrew Bible, and can help to understand its text. Moreover, he suggests, Bedouin-like pastoralists were the “key audience” of those biblical books composed before the Babylonian exile in 586 BCE. In conversation with Dru Johnson, Bailey explains how he came to this subject of study through the help of Paula and David Ben-Gurion, how his research sheds light on the stories of Abraham and Lot, and why he thinks a dominant academic theory about Judaism’s origins is wrong. (Audio, 53 minutes.)

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More about: Abraham, Bedouin, Hebrew Bible

 

Hamas and Fatah Compete by Shedding Jewish Blood

During the past four weeks, there has been a rash of violent attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank. These are not a response to any Israeli actions, nor are they spontaneous outbursts. Rather, as Itamar Marcus and Maurice Hirsch explain, the violence is the result of deliberate incitement by the Palestinian Authority (PA), which began when its president, Mahmoud Abbas, realized he was unlikely to win the upcoming national elections. The violence, write Marcus and Hirsch, was originally a way to win votes, and is now a way to maintain popularity after Abbas’s decision to postpone the elections in definitely:

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More about: Fatah, Hamas, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian terror