Cognitive Perspectives on Israelite Identity breaks new ground in the study of ethnic identity in the ancient world through the articulation of an explicitly cognitive perspective. In presenting a view of ethnicity as an epistemological rather than an ontological entity, this work seeks to correct the pronounced tendency towards analytical groupism in the academic literature. Challenging what Pierre Bourdieu has called our primary inclination to think the world in a substantialist manner, this study seeks to break with the vernacular categories and commonsense primordialisms encoded within the Biblical texts, whilst at the same time accounting for their tenacious hold on our social and political imagination. It is the recognition of the performative and reifying potential of these categories of ethno-political practice that disqualifies their appropriation as categories of social analysis.

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