Founding God’s Nation Reading Exodus Leon R Kass

Publication date:
23 Feb 2021
Yale University Press
752 pages: 235 x 156mm
1 b-w illus.
Sales territories:

A chapter-by-chapter explanation of the Book of Exodus, revealing its wisdom about nation building and people formation

In this long-awaited follow-up to his 2003 book on Genesis, biblical scholar Leon Kass explores how Exodus raises and then answers the central political questions of what defines a nation and how a nation should govern itself.
Considered by some the most important book in the Hebrew Bible, Exodus tells the story of the Jewish people from their enslavement in Egypt through their liberation under Moses’s leadership to their covenantal founding at Sinai and the building of the Tabernacle. In Kass’s analysis, these events begin the slow process of learning how to stop thinking like slaves and become an independent people. 
The Israelites ultimately found their nation on three elements: a shared narrative that instills empathy for the poor and the suffering, the uplifting rule of a moral law, and devotion to a higher common purpose.  These elements, Kass argues, remain the essential principles for a liberal nation today.

Leon R. Kass is the Addie Clark Harding Professor Emeritus in the College and the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. His books include The Beginning of Wisdom: Reading Genesis. Kass lives in Washington, DC.