Piety and Politics
This fascinating study explores the crucial relationship between religion and politics in three of history's most influential civilizations: Homeric Greece, biblical Israel, and Old Babylonian Mesopotamia. With a scholar's mind and a detective's eye, Dale Launderville uncovers the ways -- sometimes similar, sometimes contrasting -- in which the connection of royalty to religion in each of these antique cultures legitimated the rule of kings and promoted community well-being. Key to this sociopolitical dynamic was the use of royal rhetoric. Working directly with original texts as well as drawing on the insights of contemporary and ancient philosophers, poets, historians, anthropologists, social theorists, and theologians, Launderville shows how kings increased their authority the more they demonstrated through their speech and actions that they ruled on behalf of God or the gods.