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Arbitrary RuleSlavery, Tyranny, and the Power of Life and Death$
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Mary Nyquist

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226015538

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226015675.001.0001

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Antityranny, Slavery, and Revolution

Antityranny, Slavery, and Revolution

(p.123) CHAPTER FOUR Antityranny, Slavery, and Revolution
Arbitrary Rule

Mary Nyquist

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines early modern interpretations of specific biblical texts that appear to validate or contest important Greco-Roman teachings or ideals. Debate on the following topics relies heavily on scriptural texts: the legitimacy of political “dominion” and of natural or political “slavery”; the status of the first monarch and his subjects; the Creator's attitude toward absolute, monarchical rule versus protodemocratic theocracy; and the origins of institutional slavery. While biblical commentators, pamphleteers, and theorists all assume that biblical and classical traditions can somehow be harmonized, in these texts—with the exception of the latter—radical exegetes find antityranny principles authored by God himself. The final sections of the chapter discuss antityrannicism's appropriation of two juridical rituals designed to regulate relations between masters and slaves, one Hebraic and one Roman.

Keywords:   biblical texts, Greco-Roman teachings, Biblical commentators, classical traditions, radical exegetes, antityranny principles, juridical rituals

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