One cannot help but be amazed and momentarily stunned, when hearing intelligent Jewish people refer to Israel as “the occupation.” Liberal and conservative Jews share this bipartisan uninformed belief.
Consider. There is an ancient epic that is probably the earliest written literature of the Israelite civilization. Author William G. Pollard insists it ranks alongside the great epics of other civilizations! Such as the Iliad and Odyssey, the Aenid, the Bhagavad-Gita, Beowulf, and the Chanson de Roland.
These epics were all created in solidly-established countries. None were created by an author considered, historically, to be one merely of a temporary, occupying force. From their days till now, Greece is still Greece, Rome is still Rome (with modifications), India is still India and England is still England.
Many people are unaware that Israel, too, produced such an epic, at the beginning of her history as a nation. Repeat with me: Many people are unaware that Israel, too, produced such an epic, at the beginning of her history as a nation. And today, Israel is still Israel.
It recites, just as these others do, the heroic events through which Israel received national greatness. Are we speaking of 1948? Hardly. From about 950 B.C. – in the middle of Solomon’s reign to the time of Amos in 750 B.C. – the Hebrew Iliad constituted apart from routine and court annals, the primary literature of Israel.
Extensive Bible scholarship shows that the cultural and literary development of Israel was much the same as that of other ancient peoples. The Hebrew tribes, like other early peoples, developed a literature made up of ballads, victory songs and folk tales transmitted through oral tradition.
After permanent victories under David, and during the prosperity and leisure of Solomon’s reign, was a distinctive written literature produced. This first written literature consisted of two magnificent epics, one known in Old Testament scholarship as “The Early Source of Samuel, and the other as “The J (or Jahvist) Source of the Pentateuch.”
They form a complimentary pair in much the same way as do the two Homeric epics of the Hellenes. For two centuries – from about 950 B.C. In the middle of Solomon’s reign to the time of Amos in 750 B.C. – they constituted, apart from routine and court annals, the primary literature of Israel.
They exercised a decidedly formative influence in welding the diverse nomadic tribes of the Israelite empire into a coherent people with a common sense of destiny and a common cultural ethos. Today, making aliyah from the dispersion, we see the same coherent people, with a common sense of destiny and a common cultural ethos; returning, not to a land merely occupied by Israel; but to their own land, well established in its own ancient literature….