The two countries that I call home – Ethiopia and America – have something unusual in common: influential groups in both countries consider themselves to be God’s new Israel.
These groups tell epic narratives that describe themselves as God’s chosen people, and these stories fuel a powerful sense of national exceptionalism. Exceptionalism means a self-understanding of being different, favored, and specially protected by God.
In both countries, I often hear people proudly say things like, “This is Ethiopia!” or “This is America!” in response to problems affecting other societies. What they mean is that bad things can’t happen in such a chosen, God-favored land.
In the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic, it’s fascinating to revisit the original instructions that God gave to the original Israel concerning contagious disease.
How did chosenness and illness interact?
Leviticus is one of the more boring and bizarre books in the Bible. But it has a striking relevance for today’s COVID pandemic because it is the primary place where the Bible addresses this problem of infectious disease... Read More