Exceptionalism in the Bible

There Is Less than Is Thought, and What There Is, Is Biblically Problematic


  • Mark Glouberman Kwantlen Polytechnic University




exceptionalism, creation, Israelite, personhood, God's breath of life, Oneness, chosenness


Three exceptionalisms divide up the bulk of the Torah: the position that the created world (created by God) is special among (possible) worlds; the position that men and women (inspired by God with his breath of life) are special among creatures; the position that the nation of Israel (chosen by God) is special among nations. It’s an a‑theological version of the second of these that is in fact the Bible’s core doctrine. Israelite exceptionalism (“chosenness”), vital though it is to Judaism, is incompatible with the unique status of persons in the creation, and hence has to be downgraded.

Author Biography

Mark Glouberman, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Dr. Mark Glouberman did his post-graduate work at Oxford. This was back when the Beatles were in their early ascendency and ordinary language philosophy was in flower. His favourite Beatles album is Rubber Soul (1965) and his favourite philosophical book is P. F. Strawson’s The Bounds of Sense (1966). Over the years, Mark has worked and published extensively in a variety of areas including the history of early modern philosophy, especially Descartes and Kant, metaphysics, and the philosophy of religion. He has also taught and researched (and continues to do so) on more general issues in the humanities. Mark's latest book is Persons and Other Things: Exploring the Philosophy of the Hebrew Bible.


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How to Cite

Glouberman, M. (2023). Exceptionalism in the Bible: There Is Less than Is Thought, and What There Is, Is Biblically Problematic. Arc: The Journal of the School of Religious Studies, 50(1), 123–164. https://doi.org/10.26443/arc.v50i.1110