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Deuteronomy and the Hermeneutics of Legal Innovation [Paperback]

By Bernard M. Levinson (Author)
Our Price $ 46.03  
Retail Value $ 47.95  
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Item Number 160120  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   224
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.88" Width: 6.6" Height: 0.62"
Weight:   0.77 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 21, 2002
Publisher   Oxford University Press
ISBN  0195152883  
EAN  9780195152883  

Availability  145 units.
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Hardcover $ 110.00 $ 105.60 160261 In Stock
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Item Description...
Positioned at the boundary of traditional biblical studies, legal history, and literary theory, Deuteronomy and the Hermeneutics of Legal Innovation shows how the legislation of Deuteronomy reflects the struggle of its authors to renew late seventh- century Judean society. Seeking to defend their revolutionary vision during the neo-Assyrian crisis, the reformers turned to earlier laws, even when they disagreed with them, and revised them in such a way as to lend authority to their new understanding of God's will. Passages that other scholars have long viewed as redundant, contradictory, or displaced actually reflect the attempt by Deuteronomy's authors to sanction their new religious aims before the legacy of the past.
Drawing on ancient Near Eastern law and informed by the rich insights of classical and medieval Jewish commentary, Levinson provides an extended study of three key passages in the legal corpus: the unprecedented requirement for the centralization of worship, the law transforming the old Passover into a pilgrimage festival, and the unit replacing traditional village justice with a professionalized judiciary. He demonstrates the profound impact of centralization upon the structure and arrangement of the legal corpus, while providing a theoretical analysis of religious change and cultural renewal in ancient Israel. The book's conclusion shows how the techniques of authorship developed in Deuteronomy provided a model for later Israelite and post- biblical literature.
Integrating the most recent European research on the redaction of Deuteronomy with current American and Israeli scholarship, Levinson argues that biblical interpretation must attend to both the diachronic and the synchronic dimensions of the text. His study, which provides a new perspective on intertextuality, the history of authorship, and techniques of legal innovation in the ancient world, will engage pentateuchal critics and historians of Israelite religion, while reaching out toward current issues in literary theory and Critical Legal Studies.

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More About Bernard M. Levinson

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Bernard Levinson holds the Berman Family Chair of Jewish Studies and Hebrew Bible, Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA. Tikva Frymer-Kensky was Professor of Hebrew Bible and Jewish Theology, University of Chicago. Victor Matthews is Professor of Religious Studies at Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri.

Bernard M. Levinson has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Minnesota Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studi.

Bernard M. Levinson has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testamen
  2. Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Trends in OT legal studies.  Jun 7, 2000
Levinson's book is an attempted illustration of how earlier textual material has been changed by the author's of Deuteronomy to support the centralization of Israel's religion in Jerusalem. His study examines admittedly difficult passages in Deuteronomy to show how various phrases were used to support this change in Israel's religion and society. According to Levinson, earlier materials (individual phrases) were reworked, at times producing a sense just opposite of the original intention, in support of the authors' program. This close examination of the biblical text illustrates the hermeneutics employed by the authors of Deuteronomy to achieve their goal for the purpose of exposing the motives behind inner-biblical exegesis. Levinson writes well and argues his case clearly. The book illustrates how the older tenants of source criticism have not changed, just shifted. Doublets and conflicts in various stratum are key tools for observing stages of textual growth. In support of recent scholarship Moses becomes but the voice of the redactor and Passover is completely disassociated from the Exodus while the author's of Josianic Deuteronomy are credited with centralizing Israel's religion. This book is a must read for students of OT legal materials and will be of interested for all those in OT studies as an illustration of a current approach to the difficulties of the biblical text.
A superb book  Mar 10, 2000
An excellent work that examines the legal corpora of Exodus and Deuteronomy textually and demonstrates the dependence that exists between them. Levinson then uses these data to investigate the legal revolution the authors of Deuteronomy had to create, and how they went about revolutionizing the law by manipulating the very texts they were overturning.

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