From Epic to Canon: History and Literature in Ancient Israel

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In From Epic to Canon, Frank Moore Cross discusses specific issues that illuminate central questions about the Hebrew Bible and those who created and preserved it. He challenges the persistent attempt to read Protestant theological polemic against law into ancient Israel. Cross uncovers the continuities between the institutions of kinship and of covenant, which he describes as extended kinship. He examines the social structures of ancient Israel and reveals that beneath its later social and cultural accretions, the concept of covenant-as opposed to codified law-was a vital part of Israel's earliest institutions. He then draws parallels between the expression of kinship and covenant among the Israelites and that practiced by other ancient societies, as well as in primitive societies.