PROMINENT SCHOLAR: Coogan is one of our most distinguished biblical scholars, and his work over the past four decades has earned him wide acclaim and the respect of others in his field. He has the authority and the deep knowledge to write about this topic.
PROVOCATIVE: Assertions of divine chosenness are a deep strain in both Judaism and Christianity, and Coogan argues that chosenness is a myth—one that cloaks tribalism and aggression.
APPEAL TO PROGRESSIVE JEWISH AND CHRISTIAN AUDIENCES: Coogan examines the idea of chosenness as it applies to both religions, and its problematic application in the world today.
“Coogan’s rigorous work deserves a wide audience.”
“Those interested in biblical interpretation and in American religious history will find this to be a helpful work.”
“Coogan has produced an extremely valuable book. Read it, and you will never read the Bible in quite the same way again.”
“What does it mean to be chosen by God? The biblical promise of the covenant has become the basis for remarkable political movements, both of liberation and xenophobia, freedom, and oppression. Tracing the history of this key concept from the Bible to the present day, Michael Coogan brilliantly brings to life the extraordinary journey of this complex religious idea.”
—Susannah Heschel, Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College, and author of The Aryan Jesus
“God’s Favorites traces the negative effects of the idea of the divine chosenness of a particular people. Starting with an overview of ideas about divine chosenness in the Bible, the book shows the concrete, violent, and oppressive ways this idea of chosenness has been used. It has shaped exclusive ideas of American exceptionalism, undergirded the beliefs of fundamentalist Zionists, and inflamed debates about immigration up to the present day. A timely and important book.”
—David M. Carr, author of Holy Resilience: The Bible’s Traumatic Origins
“With eye-opening revelations on almost every page, God’s Favorites brilliantly illuminates biblical verse by placing it in the context of biblical history. That is Michael Coogan’s unequaled specialty. Instead of God choosing a group of people based on their bloodlines or the particulars of their practice—a view that has fueled pogroms by the powerful and terrorism by the weak—Coogan argues that, in reality, people choose their (interpretation of) God. Let us choose, then, deliberately and with humility, what and how we worship, conscious of our relative insignificance within the grandeur that is creation.”
—Sarah Chayes, author of Thieves of State
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