The Festival of Freedom

by Russ Roberts on April 2, 2007

in Religion

Passover is almost here. It marks the first time that a people revolted against tyranny and recognized that no human authority is absolute.

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Joe Grossberg April 2, 2007 at 2:52 pm

Yeah, but God did all the work!

Seriously, I think Purim is more of a people's rebellion story, and Passover is more the story of a single man (Moses) standing against oppression.

Russ Roberts April 2, 2007 at 4:01 pm


You can also interpret Purim as the story of one man refusing to acknowledge the authority of the state, but I take your point. Then again, Moses is merely God's instrument through most of the Passover story so your comment about God is actually on the mark. You might enjoy The Dawn by Yoram Hazony. It's a superb thought-provoking interpretation of the Book of Esther.

David April 3, 2007 at 11:00 am

"Revolution" is not the word that comes to mind when considering the Exodus. Did my great grandparents revolt against the Czar when they left Eastern Europe for the USA? I would use the term "revealed preference" but there's that pesky issue of the Golden Calf.

josh April 3, 2007 at 4:10 pm

The first time? I doubt it.

Theres a good chance the whole sequence of events didn't take place at all.

Russ Roberts April 6, 2007 at 4:26 pm


I should have said the first recorded episode of popular rebellion.

A lot of people thought it did happen, including the Pilgrims, the Founding Fathers and American slaves, all of whom found it inspiring. The influence of the Exodus has been profound whether you accept it as fact or not.

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