Judaism, Christianity, and the Myth of Divine Chosenness
For readers interested in exploring the roots of their religious traditions, for critics of religious intolerance, and for anyone who wants to learn about the origins of the ethnic and religious animosities that persist to this day.
Throughout history, in the service of politics and power, the biblical concept of chosen people has been used to justify prejudice, persecution, invasion, and genocide. In God's Favorites, prominent biblical scholar Michael Coogan critiques the idea of "chosenness" in Judaism and Christianity. Coogan argues that it is not God who chooses individuals and groups but rather that groups describe themselves as divinely chosen to rationalize their view of themselves as superior to others. Explaining biblical texts as only one deeply versed in the languages and histories of biblical world can, he then shows how the claim of divine choice has been used from biblical times to the present, often with pernicious consequences, to enhance a group's self-importance and to legitimate its territorial expansion. In place of the idea of chosenness, Coogan calls for a renewed focus on the Bible's universal themes and the idea that God is not partial to any one group of people.