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Pentateuch Lecture 8_2017

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Zoltan Schwab

on 22 November 2018

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Transcript of Pentateuch Lecture 8_2017

'If you read people passages from the divine books that are good and clear, they will hear them with great joy. … But provide someone a reading from Leviticus, and at once the listener will gag and push it away as if it were some bizarre food. He came, after all, to learn how to honor God, to take in the teachings that concern justice and piety. But instead he is now hearing about the ritual of burnt sacrifices!'
Leviticus:
the centre of the Torah
Leviticus 19
Read through the chapter, then discuss the following questions:
Dietary Laws
There is practical wisdom in these commandments
Is this ethical?
Lev. 15:19-24:
19 When a woman has a discharge of blood that is her regular discharge from her body, she shall be in her impurity for seven days, and whoever touches her shall be unclean until the evening. 20 Everything upon which she lies during her impurity shall be unclean; everything also upon which she sits shall be unclean. 21 Whoever touches her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe in water, and be unclean until the evening.22 Whoever touches anything upon which she sits shall wash his clothes, and bathe in water, and be unclean until the evening; 23 whether it is the bed or anything upon which she sits, when he touches it he shall be unclean until the evening. 24 If any man lies with her, and her impurity falls on him, he shall be unclean seven days; and every bed on which he lies shall be unclean.

Leviticus II
(Origen [185-254], Homily 27: Numbers 33:1-49, quoted in Richard S. Briggs and Joel N. Lohr [eds.], A Theological Introduction to the Pentateuch [Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012], p. 83)
• Lev. 1-16: so called Priestly Code (in academic literature often referred to as P)
1-7: sacrificial procedures
8-10: inauguration of the Tabernacle
11-16: types of ritual impurities

• Lev. 17-26 so called Holiness Code (in academic literature: H)

• + and additional chapter with some additional commandments (ch. 27)
Health issues
Ecological-Economical issues
'And if there are any reasons for the dietary laws which are unknown to us or those knowledgeable in the health field, do not wonder about them, for the true Healer that warns us against them is smarter than us, and smarter than the doctors'
HaChinuch, Mitzvah 73
Idolatrous Canaanite cults
22 You shall keep all my statutes and all my ordinances, and observe them, so that the land to which I bring you to settle in may not vomit you out. 23 You shall not follow the practices of the nation that I am driving out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them. 24 But I have said to you: You shall inherit their land, and I will give it to you to possess, a land flowing with milk and honey. I am the LORD your God; I have separated you from the peoples. 25 You shall therefore make a distinction between the clean animal and the unclean, and between the unclean bird and the clean; you shall not bring abomination on yourselves by animal or by bird or by anything with which the ground teems, which I have set apart for you to hold unclean. 26 You shall be holy to me; for I the LORD am holy, and I have separated you from the other peoples to be mine.
Lev. 20:
The rule is arbitrary
A deeper, symbolic meaning (Mary Douglas, 1921-2007)
Theory 1: perfect animals are edible (air, earth, sea)
Theory 2:
Which explanation do you find the most helpful? Why?
Homework
Flip through the pages of the book of Numbers.
• Do not eat animals that eat blood;
• Do not eat animals that resemble people who were severely injured (because of torture or war), for example animals without legs;
• Do not eat animals that look like new-born beings (such as fish without fins)
Moral laws

Judicial laws

Ceremonial laws
Leviticus 19
1-4: mini 10 commandments (honouring parents, keeping Sabbath, not worshipping idols)

5-8: sacrificial rules

9-18: social/ethical rules

19-37: miscellaneous rules
1) How could you divide up the chapter? What is its structure?
2) Which commandments are applicable for today? Which are not? How can such a differentiation be justified?
3) Does the context of 19:18b inform/modify the interpretation of that sentence? (‘…you shall love your neighbour as yourself’)
Full transcript