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Text, Time, and Temple
Literary, Historical and Ritual Studies in Leviticus
Edited by Francis Landy, Leigh M. Trevaskis, Bryan Bibb
In their different ways the essays in this collection ask, Why was Leviticus written? What is the relation of text to practice, and to the development of the idea of an Israelite society centred in its Temple through all vicissitudes of its history?
The thirteen contributors are engaged in exploring the intersection of literary, historical and ritual approaches to Leviticus, as the central book of the Torah and as a utopian vision of an ideal society. Leading scholars of Leviticus and the Pentateuch, like James Watts, Israel Knohl and Christophe Nihan, combine with others whose primary interest is magic, reception, cultural memory and gender.
The collection begins with a chapter by Michael Hundley on the ancient Near Eastern background of the priestly code and the issue of divine fluidity. Several scholars consider the social function of the book, particularly in the Second Temple period. James Watts, for instance, thinks that it combats scepticism about the efficacy of ritual; Reinhard Müller argues that the ‘I am Yhwh’ formula locates the texts in a liturgical setting. Christophe Nihan discusses the manipulation of blood in sacrifice as having an indexical function, as part of the ‘templization’ of Israel.
Other chapters engage in analyses of particular texts. Leigh Trevaskis advocates a symbolic interpretation of the prohibition of intercourse with a menstruant. Deborah Rooke analyses the gender and ethnic implications of the story of the blasphemer in Leviticus 24. Similarly, Francis Landy compares the chapters on the Nazirite and the woman suspected of adultery as challenges to the sacerdotal order. Jonathan Burnside argues that the prohibition of necromancy is integral to Leviticus 20. The book concludes with a moving reflection by Jeremy Milgrom on his father’s views on the ethical implications of his work, and particularly its relevance to Israeli–Palestinian relations.
Francis Landy is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Alberta, Edmonton.
Leigh M. Trevaskis is Director of the Centre for the Study of Science, Religion and Society, Emmanuel College, University of Queensland.
Bryan D. Bibb is Associate Professor of Religion at Furman University, Greenville, South Carolina.
Bryan D. Bibb
Introduction: Leviticus in Text and Tradition
Michael B. Hundley
Divine Fluidity? The Priestly Texts in their Ancient Near Eastern Contexts
Jonathan P. Burnside
The Medium and the Message: Necromancy and the Literary Context of Leviticus 20
P and the Traditions of Northern Syria and Southern Anatolia
The Sanctifying Divine Voice: Observations on the ʾanî-Yhwh-formula in the Holiness Code
The Historical and Literary Contexts of the Sin and Guilt Offerings
The Templization of Israel in Leviticus: Some Remarks on Blood Disposal and kipper
Leigh M. Trevaskis
Dangerous Liaisons: Sex with the Menstruating Woman in Leviticus
The Blasphemer (Leviticus 24): Gender, Identity and Boundary Construction
For Whom God’s Name Is Blotted Out
Leviticus 14.33-57 as Intellectual Ritual
Sexual Rhetoric and Historical Interpretation: Leviticus 18 in the Context of Deuteronomic Historiography and Historical Interpretation at Qumran
Growing up with Leviticus
Though this volume is not a Festschrift for Jacob Milgrom, his legacy is felt in every essay, not least in his son’s reflections that constitute the final chapter. Jeremy Milgrom issues a clarion call for academics to think carefully about the ethics of the texts we explicate. Our failure to wrestle thoroughly with the modern-day implications of various biblical laws leaves blood on our hands when others use them to justify violence. It is clear that the entire field owes Milgrom an enormous debt as the stimulus for further exploration. He would have been pleased to see such a strong cadre of experts engaged with the text of his favorite book. These essays will no doubt stimulate further reflection and careful readings of the book of Leviticus. Carmen Joy Imes, Bulletin for Biblical Research.
The chapters in Text, Time, and Temple come from a diverse scholarly spectrum. They are not organized thematically along the lines of the subtitle (literary, historical, and ritual studies), but any attempt to organize the contributions along these lines would be artificial, since the author of a given chapter often focuses on more than one component. The book stands alongside the also recently published Current Issues in Priestly and Related Literature: The Legacy of Jacob Milgrom and Beyond (RBS, 82; Atlanta: SBL Press, 2015) as appropriate statements on both the enduring value of Jacob Milgrom’s thought as well as the areas for future research to be done in Leviticus and Priestly literature. Both books (which share a common contributor in the work of Hundley) contain a wealth of information and valuable analyses of Leviticus and P. Regarding Text, Time, and Temple specifically, readers interested in gaining an experience of the diversity of means through which a scholar can examine Leviticus are well served to read this volume. The contributors have done an excellent job of acknowledging the debt owed to Milgrom while also showing the ways in which there is more work to be done in understanding Leviticus. Samuel L. Boyd, Review of Biblical Literature.