Is Jethro an Ingroup or an Outgroup


Social psychology

How to Cite

Stone, R. (2023). Is Jethro an Ingroup or an Outgroup: Group Analysis of the Biblical Text and Its Early Interpretations. Old Testament Essays, 36(2), 368–383. Retrieved from


A social scientific approach to the Hebrew Bible allows us to ask questions that were not central to writers of the biblical narrative. Thus, the article uses concepts from group processes in social psychology to analyse the group identity of Moses’ father-in-law as he is portrayed in the Bible and early Jewish and Christian interpretations. Jethro is a particularly interesting figure as he displays characteristics of both an ingroup and an outgroup member. This analysis illustrates how tools from social sciences can contribute not only to a better understanding of group relations in the narrative of the Hebrew Bible but also in the communities of early Jewish and Christian interpreters of these texts. 


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