The Hebrew Scriptures as Propaganda
I was recently reading some things over at The Bible and Interpretation about the Hebrew Scriptures as propaganda. Some people, of course, objected to the idea.
If your view is that these ancient Near Eastern texts shouldn’t be taken as propaganda but as something else, the condition of possibility for me to take you seriously is for you to make the same argument about some of the other ancient Near Eastern literature. For instance, if you want me to take seriously the claim that 1 and 2 Kings isn’t propaganda, you’ve got to explain why the Sennacharib stuff shouldn’t be taken as propaganda either.
If not, you’re employing some pretty serious exceptionalism: their stuff is propaganda, our stuff is something else (history, theology, or what have you). If you’re an exceptionalist, your arguments are not worth a hearing.
Maybe the texts you hold to be sacred receive special (and unquestioned) privileges in your community, but they won’t here.