By Max Weber
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Additional resources for Ancient Judaism
And it is noticeable, 20 too, that in contrast to all other epochs, the city elders in the period between Solomon and Josiah recede more into the background in the sources. Indeed, the stewards and officials of the kings possibly displaced the elders completely, taking over their position as judges, at least in the royal residences which, after all, were fortresses. It is possible that the » 20 « ANCIENT JUDAISM elders retained their old position only in rural areas as was the case in almost all Asiatic monarchies.
This con- :. ' For the Jew the religious promise was the very opposite. The social order of the world was conceived to have been turned into the opposite of that promised for the future, but in the future it was to be over-turned so that Jewry would be once again dominant. The world was conceived as neither eternal nor unchangeable, but rather as having been created. Its present structures were a product of man's activities, above all those of the Jews, and of God's reaction to them. ordained order.
Without this the development of the Christian doctrine of the sacrificial death of the divine redeemer, in spite of the later esoteric doctrine of the son of man, would have been hardly conceivable in the face of other and externally similar doctrines of mysteries. Jewry has, moreover, been the instigator and partly the model for Mohammed's prophecy. Thus, in considering the conditions of Jewry's evolution, we stand at a turning point of the whole cultural development of the West and the Middle East.
Ancient Judaism by Max Weber