Foundations of Political Order in Genesis and the Chandogya Upanisad. Vol. 1

Author: Combs, A. Eugene and Post, Kenneth
Year:2006
Pages:444
ISBN:0-7734-5712-7
978-0-7734-5712-6
Price:259.95
This two-volume work, first published as one volume in 1987, is the product of a 14-year collaboration by the authors in developing a method for the reading of ancient religious tests. Their method is derived from the work of Leo Strauss and Robert Sacks, who had pointed out that the liberal-democratic philosophers were careful commentators on Genesis. The method taught by Dr. Combs and Dr. Post is to begin with the religious text and make the assumption that it is written carefully and deliberately – do not interject an interpretation unless it is in conformity with the details of the text; only reject that assumption when the text fails to make sense as written. This method is shown to be warranted by the careful structure and order of each text. Such careful attention illuminates an inherent comparative structure to each text, which in turn warrants a comparison with the other text, which in turn reveals deeper philosophical and theological issues latent with these texts.

Reviews

“ ... The central argument of this work is that neither Genesis I-XI nor the Chandogya Upanisad 4.4-6.16 are arbitrary collections of texts, but are carefully written documents that enable the reader to ‘ponder fundamental issues in political philosophy and to see a view of the whole which determines a particular range of political concerns.’ Central political concerns such as justice, human suffering, death, social conflict, labour and rest, and the limits of knowledge and power, are all evoked to teach the reader about the foundations of human ordering. Using a unique comparative approach, Drs. Combs and Post argue that the political foundations as set forth in Genesis find their counterpart in a Vedic text, the Chandogya Upanisad ... The literary analysis provided by Drs. Combs and Post will genuinely reward the careful reader who takes the time and has the patience to uncover the secrets each text has to offer ...” – (from the Prelude) Professor Kim Ian Parker, Memorial University

“In this work, Drs. Combs and Post carry out a bold but impeccably scholarly experiment in the reading of religious texts that will surprise and excite a reader who starts out believing, especially about the Bible, that such texts teach a straightforward theocratic moralism. Dr. Combs, a Biblical specialist, and Dr. Post, a specialist in Hindu texts, are able to go well beyond bland multicultural statements either that all religions are the same or that they are all different but equally true ... This book is an indispensably mind-expanding resource both for use in university classes and by a broader public.” – Samuel Ajzenstat, Professor Emeritus, McMaster University

“ ... Both biblical and Indological philologists will find something of value to their particular field by studying one or the other half of this work. What, if anything, do these two texts have in common and why bother to set two culturally and historically unrelated texts side by side? The authors’ answer emerges directly from what they identify as ‘the teaching’ (the ideological mythos) of one of their texts ... Throughout, the reader is led to an increased appreciation of the textual aesthetics of both traditions, an appreciated dimension ignored in much philological commentary ...” – Professor Lyle Eslinger, University of Calgary

Table of Contents

Prelude by Kim Ian Parker
Preface
Introduction
Genesis I-II.3
Genesis II.4-25
Genesis III
Genesis IV
Genesis V
Genesis VI
Genesis VII
Genesis VIII
Genesis IX
Genesis X
Genesis XI
Text and Authors Cited