America, American History, England, James VI and I, Oliver Cromwell, Patriarchs, Puritans, Slavery
I’m going to start a series here on the biblical origins of the American character. We all know, or should, that the early settlers, especially the ones we call the Pilgrims, felt a close affinity with the Patriarchs of the Old Testament. But why? I’ve always felt it was a disenchantment with the King of England, not least because of their sympathy for Oliver Cromwell. Turns out that I was fairly close to right. Kenneth Hanson has studied in far greater depth than I have ever seen, this paper was published in the New English Review. It’s a fascinating story as well, which sheds light not only on American History but on early Jewish history.
Here you will find the biblical basis of what we as Americans hold sacred.
“Go ye!” – Patriarchs and Pioneers
by Kenneth Hanson
“Liberty, next to religion has been the motive of good deeds and the common pretext of crime… In every age its progress has been beset by its natural enemies, by ignorance and superstition, by lust of conquest and by love of ease, by the strong man’s craving for power, and the poor man’s craving for food.” – Lord Acton
Open the pages of the Bible. Pull it off the dusty shelf, and whom do you meet from the outset? The Patriarchs – biblical “pioneers” – rugged individualists in search of a new land. They were the ancestors of Israel’s twelve tribes, just as America’s Pilgrims and early colonists were the founders of the thirteen separate states that would one day comprise a federal union.
We’re all familiar with the story of Abraham, the revered father of three world faiths and progenitor of the people who came to be known as Israel. According to holy writ, he hailed from ancient Babylonia, today known somewhat ignominiously as the country of Iraq. He didn’t, however, follow the advice that most people today would give a son: “Get an education. Become a professional, perhaps a doctor or a lawyer. Find a nice Jewish girl. Settle down. Raise a family. Put something away for retirement.” Surprisingly enough, ancient Mesopotamia boasted such an advanced culture that young Abram, as he was called before his famous name-change, could have done just that.
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