Download A Law Book for the Diaspora: Revision in the Study of the by John Van Seters PDF

By John Van Seters

The root for all learn of biblical legislations is the idea that the Covenant Code is the oldest felony code within the Hebrew Bible and that every one different legislation are revisions of that code. This ebook units forth the unconventional speculation that these legislation within the covenant code which are just like Deuteronomy and the Holiness Code are in truth later than either one of those, and hence cannot be taken because the starting place of Hebrew legislation.

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Additional info for A Law Book for the Diaspora: Revision in the Study of the Covenant Code

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At the beginning of the compositional history stand two lawbooks: the religious laws of Exod 34:11–16 and the casuistic lawbook, the mishpatim. The largest part of the Covenant Code was constructed by combining these two lawbooks (the second-person singular layer). This produced the text of Exod 20:24–26; 21:1–22:29*; 23:1–24*, 32–33*. The mishpatim lawbook was retained undisturbed, while the lawbook of Exod 34:11–26 was completely reshaped and built into the structural frame of these two. Osumi does not ask further about the prehistory of the various parts of this text and is critical of Otto’s redactional history of the smaller units.

This law in Deut 12–26 was composed by the same persons who put together the Covenant Code. On the relationship of law-giving to the Sinai theophany, Houtman follows Crüsemann in seeing this connection as first made by P before the final Dtr author of the Covenant Code placed it in the context of a Sinai covenant. Yet this same final author/redactor is viewed by Houtman as attempting to weaken the position of Sinai by placing law-making at other times as well, with the final, definitive code, Deuteronomy, in Moab.

The first of these texts is so late and so anachronistic as to prove nothing. The second, Deut 17, is equally problematic because it legislates an ideal for the first time, and there is no firm evidence that it was ever implemented. How then can it be used for an earlier period? This is not evidence but supposition. Furthermore, the claim that “the Mishpatim and the legisla- 26 A Law Book for the Diaspora tion attacked in Isa 10:1–4 are probably identical”74 may also be questioned. The prophetic text makes reference to “unjust laws” and “oppressive edicts,” but it is sheer speculation to suggest that these refer to the Covenant Code.

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