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. ""Over the past two decades, biblical interpretation employing a social identity approach has flourished and shows no signs of slowing down. Linda M. Stargel builds upon this rich tradition, combining the study of collective memory and social identity to present an exciting new approach to reading the exodus narratives. With both care and creativity, she describes the process of creating and maintaining a collective identity through powerful narrative rhetoric."" --Matthew J. Marohl, St. Olaf College ""In this book, Linda Stargel employs the social identity approach to provide a startlingly new and significant way to interpret the exodus tradition in both Exodus itself and in its numerous retellings in the Hebrew Bible. That she has been able to explain a constitutive mythos of Israelite identity, which is so embedded in the experience and collective memory of Israel, in such a fresh way, is a tribute both to her exegetical insights and to the power of the method."" --Philip Esler, University of Gloucestershire, UK Linda M. Stargel is an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene. She received her PhD in Old Testament from the University of Manchester and is joining the faculty of the Nazarene Theological College (Brisbane, Australia) as a Lecturer in Old Testament.