From Particularity to Univcrsalism
This final chapter is a historical summary intended as an overview of the work as a whole.
We presuppose the emergence of a new genus, and several species, of free societies at the fringe of the absolutist ancient Near Eastern empires. Here we review that history from perspectives in part already introduced.
(1) We include the complementarity of Israel and Hellas worked out in chapter 1, without compromising the new beginning that they jointly represent.
(2) At each stage of the historical development, we note the guarantee for its continuance represented in the symbolism of the High God and his equivalents. And we ask, How far can that guarantee be translated into terms generally acceptable today?
(3) So far as Israel and Greece run parallel, the evidence for all these themes is their shared invention of the book, both as record of their historical novelty and its main product. Not so much the book in the sense of a physical object, the fourth-century codices of Latin Vergil and the Greek Bible, or the ninth-century codices of the Hebrew Bible; but the book as a living tradition, whose text, pronunciation, and meaning are handed down from one generation to another. (Ancient Greece provides a second body of evidence, its art and architecture, which both illustrate its books and are illustrated by them.)
(4) After the novelty represented by Israel and Greece is fully developed, we chronicle a fundamental change in both from particularity to universalism (or perhaps better cosmopolitanism), correlated with a basic shift from autonomy to incorporation into new empires. Each society moves from saying “We