Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Philosophy


George Carraway


Exodus motif, Liberation Theology, Covenant, Biblical vs. Social Justice


Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


Liberation theologians view political liberation as the central theme of the historical Exodus event due to their interpretation of the text through the perspective of the oppressed and the oppressor. I reject the postmodern stance of liberation theologians, which overemphasizes political liberation and fails to consider the links between Yahweh’s supernatural actions on behalf of the Hebrews in light of Yahweh’s covenantal obligations to Abraham’s descendants. This study argues against the use of liberation theologies as the paradigm for interpreting the historical Exodus event and asserts that a biblical theology of the Exodus motif reveals “covenant” as the interpretive key to understanding the historical Exodus event. I assert that the covenantal nature of the Israelite’s deliverance from Egypt is the basis for elucidating the theological significance of liberation throughout the canon. I contend that the historical Exodus event was built upon the framework of covenant relationship and that deliverance from captivity came about due to the pre-existing Abrahamic covenant. I argue against the contention of liberation theologians that the overarching message of liberation in the biblical text is one of deliverance from political and societal oppression. I assert that the central message of liberation, as demonstrated in the Exodus motif throughout the entirety of the canon, is spiritual and eschatological liberation. This dissertation aims to demonstrate that the Exodus event in the history of the nation of Israel serves a greater purpose than liberation from socio-political oppression. Rather than being a narrative of deliverance from slavery, this epoch-making event in Israel’s history serves as the underlying foundation of God’s salvific plan for all mankind.