In Philo's account of the Life of Moses, Moses rebukes the two tribes who wanted to settle down in Transjordan before the nation as a whole had secured its territory on entry to the land: 'You are all entitled to equal honour, you are one race, you have the same fathers, one house, you have the same customs, a community of laws, and an infinite number of other things, every one of which binds your kindred closer together, and cements your mutual good will' (Mos. I. 59 (324)). 1 It would be difficult to think of a clearer affirmation of shared identity, predicated both on subjective experience and on objective reality, prior to any sense of the 'difference' evoked when Moses goes on to remind them of the destruction of 'our enemies', the previous inhabitants of the land. The objective reality of a shared and exclusive culture, practice, and set of myths may at first glance, as it has conventionally in earlier study, seem to provide the prior foundation of separate identity. 2 Yet, as we have seen, this has become ever more difficult to maintain, as the historically contingent social processes involved in the construction of all identity have been increasingly recognized. None the less it remains important to affirm the subjective sense of familiarity, and the way that individuals and
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Publication information: Book title: Christian Identity in the Jewish and Graeco-Roman World. Contributors: Judith M. Lieu - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: Oxford. Publication year: 2004. Page number: 147.
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