Yoram Hazony: “An Individualist Approach To The Hebrew Bible” (NPR)

In this short NPR episode, Yoram Hazony opens the “bottle” of the Hebrew Bible and reads the message inside, arguing that the Hebrew Bible is philosophy in narrative form. The message is this: there is hope for human political affairs, and the Scriptures are an epic that advocate wariness of great imperial powers and an individualist ethic in the face of authority. He discusses the political philosophy explored in The Philosophy of Hebrew Scriptures, which he argues is based on fundamental narratives in the Hebrew Bible. One of these narratives is that of the contrasting ethics of the farmer and the shepherd, with the farmer representing urban life and the shepherd representing the individualist, rogue outsider. Hazony points out that many of Scripture’s protagonists are shepherds, demanding that we parse out the implications of the shepherd ethic.

Note: this is an excerpt from an earlier NPR interview with Dr. Hazony.


  • 0:47 The context of the cautionary message of the Hebrew Bible
  • 3:30 The ethic of the shepherd versus the ethic of the farmer
  • 4:57 The disobedient protagonists of the Hebrew Bible
  • 7:12 The concept of hope through the individual’s relationship with God

Yoram Hazony’s book The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture

Credits for the music used in the CHT Podcast can be found at: hebraicthought.org/credits/.