By James W. Watts

Ritual and Rhetoric in Leviticus makes use of rhetorical research to reveal the causes at the back of the writing of the significant ebook of the Torah/Pentateuch and its persuasive functionality in old Judaism. Rhetorical research of Leviticus has implications not just for the shape and contents of that booklet, but additionally for figuring out the later background of the rhetoric of priesthood, of sacrifice, and particularly of scripture.

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That assumption receives little if any explicit warrant from the text. While the efforts to rehabilitate P’s image against the charge of empty ritualism are most commendable, we should remembered that P’s theology must always be “reconstituted” because P does very little to make it explicit. The texts do not necessarily reflect the meaning of the rituals. 3. Do P’s descriptions reflect actual practice? This has been roundly debated as a conflict between utopian and realist interpretations of P.

Other interpreters joined him in the effort to reconstruct the theological underpinnings of P’s ritual system. ”26 Levine argued that the more idealized ritual narratives and prescriptions in the Bible nevertheless developed out of more archival genres and so reflected actual temple practice. 29 He drew on studies of ritual space and ritual time as keys to understanding cultural cosmologies in order to derive the priests’ cultural worldview from their rituals. Gorman therefore described P’s ritual system as “the meaningful enactment of 26 27 28 29 Baruch A.

35 In the discussions of Hayes and Marx, the line between text and ritual has disappeared. That is typical of the way P’s ritual legislation has been interpreted in much of the scholarship, even more so in the past than the present. To take only the most prominent example, Julius Wellhausen established the relative chronology of pentateuchal sources on the basis of the stages of religious and social development that they reflect. ”36 His confidence in being able to distinguish inductively between rules that reflected ancient practice and those that legislated changes to those practices has been shared by much of the field.

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