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Illuminating Leviticus

A Study of Its Laws and Institutions in the Light of Biblical Narratives

Calum Carmichael

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The origin of law in the Hebrew Bible has long been the subject of scholarly debate. Until recently, the historico-critical methodologies of the academy have yielded unsatisfactory conclusions concerning the source of these laws which are woven through biblical narratives. In this original and provocative study, Calum Carmichael—a leading scholar of biblical law and rhetoric—suggests that Hebrew law was inspired by the study of the narratives in Genesis through 2 Kings.

Discussing particular laws found in the book of Leviticus—addressing issues such as the Day of Atonement, consumption of meat...

The origin of law in the Hebrew Bible has long been the subject of scholarly debate. Until recently, the historico-critical methodologies of the academy have yielded unsatisfactory conclusions concerning the source of these laws which are woven through biblical narratives. In this original and provocative study, Calum Carmichael—a leading scholar of biblical law and rhetoric—suggests that Hebrew law was inspired by the study of the narratives in Genesis through 2 Kings.

Discussing particular laws found in the book of Leviticus—addressing issues such as the Day of Atonement, consumption of meat that still has blood, the Jubilee year, sexual and bodily contamination, and the treatment of slaves—Carmichael links each to a narrative. He contends that biblical laws did not emerge from social imperatives in ancient Israel, but instead from the careful, retrospective study of the nation’s history and identity.

Reviews

Reviews

Valuable in challenging us to take seriously the intimate connections between Scriptural narrative and Scriptural law.

I find many of the links between law and narrative suggested in this book attractive, meticulously argued, and persuasive... Carmichael has offered us a genuine alternative to competing theories about the origin of biblical laws.

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Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
224
ISBN
9780801889639
Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: The Nature of Biblical Law
1. Looking at Leviticus: Leviticus 10–14
2. Genital Impurity in the Lineages of David and Jonathan: Leviticus 15
3. The Day of Atonement: Leviticus 16
4

Preface
Introduction: The Nature of Biblical Law
1. Looking at Leviticus: Leviticus 10–14
2. Genital Impurity in the Lineages of David and Jonathan: Leviticus 15
3. The Day of Atonement: Leviticus 16
4. The Slaughter of Animals: Leviticus 17:2-9
5. The Blood Taboo: Leviticus 17:10–16
6. Mourning and Marriage Rules for Priests: Leviticus 21
7. Life and Lies of David: Leviticus 22 and 23
8. Blasphemies: Leviticus 24
9. The Year of Jubilee: Leviticus 25
10. Three Laws on the Release of Slaves: Exodus 21:2–11, Deuteronomy 15:12–18, and Leviticus 25:39–46
Conclusion: The Inseparability of Biblical Laws and Narratives
Abbreviations
Notes
Index of Biblical Sources
Subject Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Calum Carmichael, Ph.D.

Calum Carmichael is a professor of comparative literature and an adjunct professor of law at Cornell University.