Collective identity creates a sense of “us-ness” in people. It may be fleeting and situational or long-lasting and deeply ingrained. Competition, shared belief, tragedy, or a myriad of other factors may contribute to the formation of such group identity. Even people detached from one another by space, anonymity, or time, may find themselves in a context in which individual self-concept is replaced by a collective one.
How is collective identity, particularly the long-lasting kind, created and maintained? Many literary and biblical studies have demonstrated that shared stories often lie at the heart of it. This book examines the most repeated story of the Hebrew Bible--the exodus story--to see how it may have functioned to construct and reinforce an enduring collective identity in ancient Israel. A tool based on the principles of the social identity approach is created and used to expose identity construction at a rhetorical level. The author shows that exodus stories are characterized by recognizable language and narrative structures that invite ongoing collective identification.