Interpretation of Korah's Rebellion in Three Religious Traditions - Jewish, Christian, Muslim. A Study in Comparative Reception History

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The book addresses the ways the myth of Korah is depicted in three faith traditions: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Dialogue between religions always existed. Unfortunately, many times this dialogue was hateful if not bloody. All those who claimed God had spoken to them allowed themselves to kill in his name too. This book categorizes the history of how God revealed himself to people in these religions. The story of Korah’s rebellion against Moses is documented in the Torah. It is narrated in Numbers 16:1-40. Korah’s rebellion resisted Moses’s leadership, and concluded in his people being swallowed by the earth along with many of their households. The children were salvaged and did not die. However, this story serves as a metaphor for resisting the will of God.

The authors central argument is that the story of Korah has been invoked in various religious traditions that appeal to the Bible to highlight the authority of dominant institutions that face criticism. The volume’s comparative attention is given to how the story is depicted in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as the paradigmatic rebellion.


“Green and Caspi have done us a rich and enriching favor.”
-Prof. J. Harold Ellens,
University of Michigan

“This book studies the rebellion of Korah as an account of the challenge to authority (or any kind), but especially theocratic authority.”
-Prof. Kenneth P. Kramer,
San Jose State University

“The references to numerous allusions and citations of the Korah story in the later literature of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam will be useful to scholars interested in the ways these traditions have interpreted and appealed to the story of Korah.”
-Prof. David Moffitt
Campbell University

Table of Contents

Foreword: J. Harold Ellens i
Prolegomenon 1
A. Framing the Conflict 1
B. Korah in Context 9
C. Moses: A Study in Leadership 14
Chapter One: Fall Into the Last Darkness 35
A. And No Lights 35
B. Their Fiery Death 42
C. Let Him Stand There Not 61
D. Sabe que la riqueza pobieza es su fina, E sola
alteza yaze fonds cima (He knows that the end
of wealth is poverty and that beneath the
summit lies a deep abyss) 72
E. It Is Worse When An Evil Man ... Rises Up
Among The People 79
F. Dux Femina Facti: A Woman, The Leader In
the Deed 88
Chapter Two: Under the Earth 115
A. Load my camels with silver and gold, for I
have killed the king secluded. . 115
B. We mortals are composed of two great
schools—enlightened knaves or else
religious fools. . 124
C. Then is the beginning for you and me, my
brother, of the descent into Hell. 133
Chapter Three: Korah’s Rebellion Refracted through
the Prism of Historical Christianities: Selected
Viewpoints 159
Introduction: The Essential Story of Rebellion(s): Numbers 16 159
Part One: Providing Some Background for a Christian Viewpoint or Set of
Viewpoints 166
Part Two: Korah in Proto-and Early
Christianity: Some Ante-and
Post-Nicene Viewpoints 178
Part Three: Korah and the Basic Protestant Weltanschauung 199
Part Four: Korah and/as Antichrist: The Roman, Protestant, and Independent Churches
in Conflict: Pinning the ‘Tail’ on the Antichrist 219
Part Five: Korah/Qarun Considered in Selected
Art: Creative Presentations and
Reactions to the Rebellion 236
Conclusion 243
Epilogue 261
Critical Notes to the Chapters 274
Select Bibliography 293
Index 309

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