Continuing our look inside the recent special Near Eastern Archaeology issue on crime and punishment in the Bible and the Near East, we spoke with Dr. Robert Kawashima about his article, “Violence and the City: On the Yahwist’s Leviathan.” The article discusses the story of Cain and the relationship between violence and the city he built after committing the first homicide. Kawashima finds the lesson to be that only through hospitality can men hope to live together in peace.
Robert S. Kawashima is an associate professor at the University of Florida in the Department of Religion and the Center for Jewish Studies. He received the Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. His research thus far has focused primarily on the Hebrew Bible, treating it as a literary artifact within the context of both the ancient Mediterranean world and the literary and intellectual history of the West. He is the author most notably of Biblical Narrative and the Death of the Rhapsode; he has also written articles on biblical Hebrew, biblical law, and Israelite religion, not to mention Homer and literary theory. His current book project, The Archaeology of Ancient Israelite Knowledge, is an analysis of Israel’s religious traditions informed by Foucault’s investigations into the history of systems of thought.
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