Concepts of Biblical Israel


In the Hebrew Bible, Israel appears as a term for various entities: a tribal confederation, the United Monarchy, the Northern Kingdom alone, the Southern Kingdom alone, and as a term for a religious community. Thus, the Hebrew Bible documents concepts of Israel that are quite different from each other and are guided in different ways by ethnic, political, social, geographical, cultural, and religious aspects. Going beyond previous research, this research unit does not just focus on the mere question of when and how the concept of a pan-Israel (i.e., the Israel of the twelve tribes or the Israel including the people of both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms) emerged, but rather aims at taking a broad view on different texts within the Hebrew Bible, detailing and elaborating upon the great variety of concepts of Israel within these scriptures. On a methodological level, the research unit acknowledges the contribution of anthropological studies of tribal societies for the study of biblical discourses of Israel, but also wants to draw inspiration from sociological and historical research on premodern nationalism.


Ancient Israel, history of biblical literature, premodern nationalism

Current Term:



Jakob Wöhrle
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

Jan Rückl
Charles University 

Filip Čapek
Charles University

Kristin Tröndle
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

Sofia 2024 Call for Papers

In 2024, the research unit “Concepts of Biblical Israel” will hold two sessions. One is focused on the concepts of Israel in historiographical books (the so-called Dtr history, Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah) and is partly invited but will also accept a few proposed papers. The second session is open and welcomes papers on the origins, developments, and manifestations of concepts of Israel, as well as papers focusing on methodological issues.