Pandemics in Extra - Biblical Texts and the Old Testament An Examination of Ancient texts related to the Old Testament and Lessons from the current COVID-19 Pandemic.

Muga Zebedi


This paper discusses the presentations, manifestations and interventions in public Health Pandemics/Plagues in the literature of the Ancient Near East (ANE) and the Old Testament (OT)1 with the underlying principle of cause and effect in the Ancient and the Biblical world. Using the comparative method, the paper examines the narratives, prayers, leadership requirements and legal writings of the Ancient world alongside the texts of the Old Testament, particularly the Pentateuch and Historical literature.
The focus texts of this study are those of the ANE compiled by James Pritchard (1974) in his book, Ancient Near Eastern Texts relating to the Old Testament. There are also other scholars of Ancient Near East2 who have given insights into life in the ANE. The researcher also carried out an overview and review of articles and books on ANE on Public health Pandemics, writings on health, sickness, and disease in the Ancient world.
The Cosmologies of the ANE, their socio-political and religious practices reveal how they interpreted factors bearing on infractions, or divine visitations that led to Pestilence, and plagues. This examination of these texts included Old Testament scholars and their writings with archeological interests and research on pestilences, pandemics and sickness and ANE/ Israel’s cosmology. It is hoped that this research will contribute to the current conversation on COVID-19 pandemic and offer insights on why pandemics occur how to offer navigate the present pandemic.
Keywords: Pandemics, Epidemics, ANE, Plague, War, Egypt, Hittite, Pestilences, Public Health Yahweh, Cosmology

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