The Bible and Modern Belief, by Louis Wallis
During the last three decades, Louis Wallis has published a series of volumes (Sociological Study of the Bible, 1912; God and the Social Process, 1935; The Bible is Human, 1942) emphasizing one fundamental thesis—that the struggle of the Hebrew prophets against Canaanite religion in Israel was essentially social and economic in character, though expressed in religious terms. They fought to preserve in Palestine the old social ideals of nomadic society, mutual responsibility, a rough egalitarianism, and the communal ownership of property, all of which found their religious sanction in the worship of JHVH. Against these standards stood the individualistic and competitive economy of agricultural and urban society which expressed itself in the Baal worship (Ba’al= “master, owner”). That the activity of the Hebrew prophets had an important socioeconomic basis had of course been noted by other scholars, such as Weber, Budde, Robertson-Smith, and Flight. It is the merit, and in a degree the drawback, of Wallis to have stressed this factor to the virtual exclusion of all others.
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