inventing “the other” to create identity, all the rage

IF AMERICA did not exist, Russia would have to invent it. In a sense it already has: first as a dream, then as a nightmare. No other country looms so large in the Russian psyche. To Kremlin ideologists, the very concept of Russia’s sovereignty depends on being free of America’s influence.

via Russia and America: The dread of the other | The Economist.

I need to file this away for later use, but the idea of building your identity not just away from another, but in opposition to other is an old one, a real one, and one that needs to be explored in a wide range of sciences, including Biblical Studies.

Anyway, read the article. Good stuff.


Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).


  1. Do you expect Americans to learn what we do by watching the same behavior in others?


  2. Lemche discusses the Canaanites in biblical literature as an invented “anti-people” meant to promote a specific view of Israelite identity (The Canaanites and Their Land: The Traditions of the Canaanites [Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1991]).


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