Authors:    A-E     F-J     K-O     P-T     U-Z


Achenbach, Reinhard, Die Torot über die Reinheit in Leviticus 10–15 und die Sakralisierung des Gesetzes, in: Eckhardt, Benedikt; Leonhard, Clemens; Zimmermann, Klaus (Hg.), Reinheit und Autorität in den Kulturen des antiken Mittelmeerraumes (Religion und Politik, 21), Baden-Baden: Ergon, 2020, 55–82.

Adler, Yonatan, The Hellenistic Origins of Jewish Ritual Immersion, in: Journal of Jewish Studies 69, 2018, 1–29.   Show MorePublished abstract: The present study explores the origins of Jewish ritual immersion – inquiring when immersion first appeared as a rite of purification and what the reasons may have been for this development specifically at this time. Textual and archaeological evidence suggest that immersion emerged at some point during or perhaps slightly prior to the first half of the first century BCE. It is suggested here that the practice grew out of contemporary bathing practices involving the Hellenistic hip bath. Through a process of ritualization, full-body immersion emerged as a method of purificatory washing clearly differentiated from profane bathing. By way of a subsequent process of ‘hyper-ritualization’, some ventured further to distinguish purificatory ablutions from profane bathing by restricting use of ‘drawn water’ for purification and by assigning impurity to anyone who bathed in such water. Before us is an enlightening example of one of the many ways wherein Jewish religious practices evolved and adapted in response to Hellenistic cultural innovations.

Albertz, Rainer, Die Abschlüsse der ersten und zweiten priesterlichen Kompositionen in Lev 16 und 26, in: Albertz, Rainer; Wöhrle, Jakob; Neumann, Friederike (Hg.), Pentateuchstudien (FAT 117), Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2018, 297–326.

Altmann, Peter; Spiciarich, Abra, Chickens, Partridges, and the /tor/ of Ancient Israel and the Hebrew Bible, in: Die Welt des Orients 50, 2020, 2–30.  Show MorePublished abstract: Traditionally translated as “turtledove,” several scholars have recently argued for alternative renderings for the term /tor/ in the sacrificial ordinances of Gen 15:9; Num 6: 10; and frequently in Leviticus. The importance of the identification of /tor/ lies in its impact on our understanding of biblical sacrificial practices, anthropological understandings of lsraelite cult, and their relationship to Israelite meal practices. Specifically, hinging on the nature of the /tor/ is the question of whether all sacrificial animals were domesticated, and to what degree, which has ramifications for the understanding of the connection between the boundaries of Israelite household and Israelite altar. In a first step, this paper will incorporate data concerning the identification of archaeological remains of birds throughout the Southern Levant, allowing material culture to weigh in on the discussion. A second step will bring together the zooarcheological data and biblical reflections on possible identifications for this bird in ancient Israel.

Averbeck, Richard E., Reading the Ritual Law in Leviticus Theologically, in: Abernethy, Andrew T. (ed.), Interpreting the Old Testament Theologically. Essays in Honor of Willem A. VanGemeren, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2018, 135–149.  Show MoreAbstract from OTA: The theology we find in Leviticus has important implications for many Christian doctrines, including Christology, soteriology, sanctification, and ecclesiology. A.’s essay focuses on (1) the presence of God in the tabernacle, and (2) the ritual offerings and sacrifices carried out in the tabernacle, especially those having to do with the sin offering. After Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai, the Lord gave him instructions for building the tabernacle. This tent was a “moveable” Mt. Sinai, signifying that God would always be with the Hebrews, walking with them on their journey. According to Exodus 34, God was present with them in a cloud of glory, and he did not depart from them until the fall of Jerusalem and the exile to Babylon (Ezekiel 8, 10, 11). However, God promised to return to his people in a New Temple. This New Temple is described in Ephesians 2 and 3, where it is not in a place, but God’s invisible presence among his people. The sacrificial system in Leviticus remains relevant for New Covenant believers and their understanding of salvation. The Day of Atonement (see Leviticus 16), when transgressions are forgiven, finds its true fulfillment in Jesus’s cross and resurrection. For further study of the offerings in Leviticus, see Roy Gane, Cult and Character: Purification Offerings, Day of Atonement, and Theodicy (2005). – F.W.G.

Awabdy, Mark A., Immigrants and Innovative Law. Deuteronomy’s Theological and Social Vision for the גר (FAT 2. Reihe 67), Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014.  Show MorePublished abstract: Mark A. Awabdy provides a nuanced and extensive understanding of the noun גר (gēr , engl. immigrant) in the book of Deuteronomy (D). He argues that a precise reconstruction of the historical referents of D’s gēr is impossible and has led scholars to misread or overlook literary, theological, and sociological determinants. By analyzing D’s gēr texts and contexts, evidence emerges for: the non-Israelite and non-Judahite origins of D’s gēr; the distinction between the gēr in D’s prologue-epilogue and legal core; and the different meanings and origins of D’s “gēr-in-Egypt” and “ʿebed-in-Egypt” formulae. Awabdy further contends that D’s revision of Exodus’ Decalogue and Covenant Code and independence from H reveal D’s tendencies to accommodate the gēr and interface the gēr with YHWH’s redemption of Israel. He concludes by defining how D integrates the gēr into the community of YHWH’s people.

Awabdy, Mark A., Leviticus. A Commentary on Leueitikon in Codex Vaticanus (Septuagint Commentary Series), Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2019.  Show MorePublished abstract: In Leviticus Awabdy offers the first commentary on the Greek version of Leviticus according to Codex Vaticanus (4th century CE), which binds the Old and New Testaments into a single volume as Christian scripture. Distinct from other LXX Leviticus commentaries that employ a critical edition and focus on translation technique, Greco-Roman context and reception, this study interprets a single Greek manuscript on its own terms in solidarity with its early Byzantine users unversed in Hebrew. With a formal-equivalence English translation of a new, uncorrected edition, Awabdy illuminates Leueitikon in B as an aesthetic composition that not only exhibits inherited Hebraic syntax and Koine lexical forms, but its own structure and theology, paragraph (outdented) divisions, syntax and pragmatics, intertextuality, solecisms and textual variants.

Bande García, José Antonio, La protección hacia el extranjero en los principales códigos legales del Pentateucho, in: Studium Oventense 47, 2019, 247–260.  Show MoreAbstract from OTA: The centerpiece of B’s essay is his survey of the three major pentateuchal legal codes, i.e., the Covenant Code of Exodus 21-23; the Deuteronomic Code of Deuteronomy 12-26; and the Holiness Code of Leviticus 17-26 and their respective laws concerning Israel’s dealings with foreigners with whom it comes in contact against the background of the given code’s historical context. This central portion of his study is preceded by remarks on lsrael’s own experience of living in a land not its own and of Yhwh’s accompaniment of its ancestors on their way toward the land allotted them by Yhwh as a motivation for all the pentateuchal laws enjoining respect for strangers, as well as a consideration of the Hebrew terms (zār, nokrî, and gēr) which the laws use in reference to various categories of non-Israelites. The essay concludes with a synthesis of the pentateuchal laws’ message concerning the required treatment of the stranger and its ongoing relevance for contemporary Christians living in a highly mobile and globalizing world.-C.T.B.

Barmash, Pamela (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Law, online November 2019, DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199392667.001.0001 . See especially the following articles: Lipka, Hilary, Women, Children, Slaves, and Foreigners; Amihay, Aryeh, Ritual Law: Sacrifice and Holy Days; Feder, Yitzhaq, Purity and Sancta Desecration in Ritual Law; Achenbach, Reinhard, Priestly Law.

Baumann, Gerlinde, Das Opfer nach der Sintflut für die Gottheit(en) des Alten Testaments und des Alten Orients: Eine neue Deutung, in: Verbum et Ecclesia 34, 2013, 1–7. Online verfügbar unter http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/.   Show MorePublished abstract: The Sacrifice for (the) God(s) after the Flood in Ancient Israel and the Ancient Near East: A New Interpretation. The experience of a large, devastating flood is part of the cultural heritage of mankind. The famous ‘texts of the deluge’ come from Mesopotamia. Here, the flood tradition dates back to the 3rd Millennium. The longest and most traditional of these texts, which – amongst other things – deal with the interpretation of these events, is the Atramḫasis myth. The literary-dependent text is the Gilgamesh epic, and the Old Testament version is the story of the Flood that is found in Genesis 6–9. For a long time the similarities and differences between these three texts have been known. However, so far little attention was given to a passage that all three texts share: the sacrifice of the surviving humans after the Flood. The reaction of the deity(ies) differs in these three texts. In this article I would like to consider the similarities and differences between the texts in order to evaluate the significance of the Old Testament text. This is against the background of recent insights in the field of ancient Israelite sacrifice, related to cultural anthropology. These three passages are first considered in their context and then compared to the relevant aspects of each other before a conclusion is drawn.

Ben Dov, Jonathan, The History of Pentecontad Time Units (I), in: Mason, Eric F. (ed.), A Teacher For All Generations. Essays in Honor of James C. VanderKam (JSJ.S 153,2), Leiden: Brill, 2012, 93–111.  Show MoreAbstract from OTA: B.D. seeks for the origins of the fiftieth day and fiftieth year motif in the laws governing the Festival of Weeks and the Jubilee Year in Lev 23:15-16 and Lev 25:8-55 respectively. He first examines the evidence that Hildegard and Julius Lewy presented over seventy years ago to support their thesis that the calculation of time in Leviticus 23 and 25 was based on a calendar of fifty temporal units (a “pentecontad”), which originated in Amorite circles of the second millennium B.C.E. His evaluation of the Old Assyrian and Babylonian material yields no evidence of a pentecontad calendar and thereby eviscerates the possibility of its Amorite origins. B.D., for his part, argues that the highlighting of the fiftieth day and year in the Holiness Code represents a development of earlier Israelite observances. The fifty-day festival of weeks in the Deuteronomic and Priestly traditions represents a shift regarding the agricultural Festival of Weeks with its original undefined duration (Deut 16:9; Lev 23:15; cf. Exod 34:22; Jer 5:24). Priestly writers conceptualized the Jubilee in the fiftieth year as a sevenfold extension of an earlier mandate that prescribed a Sabbath rest for the land every seventh year (Lev 25:8-55; cf. 25:2-7; Exod 23:10-11).-M.W.D.

Bibb, Bryan D., Blood, Death, and the Holy in the Leviticus Narrative, in: Fewell, Danna Nolan (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Narrative (Oxford Handbooks), New York: Oxford University Press, 2016, 137–146.

Bibb, Bryan D., Blood, Death, and the Holy in the Leviticus Narrative, in: Fewell, Danna Nolan (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Narrative, online May 2015, DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199967728.013.10 Show More Published Abstract: After briefly discussing the final literary structure of Leviticus, this chapter considers three parts of the book in light of particular themes: blood ritual and mythic drama in chapters 1–7 and 11–15; life, death, and ambiguity in chapters 8–10 and 16; and holiness and God’s people in chapters 17–27. By embedding ritual instructions within a mythical- narrative frame, the authors/editors of Leviticus created a sacred timeless and authoritative world that resists challenge from dissent and doubt. However, narratives interspersed within the ritual texts expose ambiguities within the system and raise questions about the ability of the law to accomplish its purposes. In the second half of Leviticus, the world of “holiness” is expanded and reframed in order to apply to the whole community, a recognition that priestly ritual is a cosmic reality that is broader and more transformative than what happens only in the tabernacle.

Botner, Max; Duff, Justin Harrison; Dürr, Simon (Hg.), Atonement. Jewish and Christian Origins, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2020.

Boyd, Samuel L., Applied Ritual. The Application of the Blood and Oil on Bodies in the Pentateuchal Sources, in: Biblical Interpretation 29, 2021, 120–147.  Show MoreAbstract from OTA: Source critical analyses of the Pentateuch have focused primarily on literary indicators for detecting distinct literary voices, and in some recent publications, on the historical aspects of the P source in particular. In this article, I formulate a distinct approach to source criticism that supports this resurgence of documentary analysis, with special attention to the ritual of daubing blood and oil on bodies cited in Exodus 19-24; Leviticus 8 and 14. After summarizing the main point at issue in these texts, i.e., access to the divine, I offer a documentary approach to these texts based on a use of ritual theory. Finally, I highlight the manner in which the ritual study of the texts in question is consistent with both key  historical and more recent arguments in the documentary approach to the composition of the Pentateuch. [Adapted from published abstract – C.T.B.]

Brenner, Athalya/Lee, Archie Chi Chung (ed.), Leviticus and Numbers (Texts@Contexts), Minneapolis 2013. Show MorePublished abstract: Leviticus and Numbers focus attention on practices and ideals of behavior in community, from mourning and diet to marriages licit and transgressive. The contributions to this collection of essays examine all of these from a variety of global perspectives and postcolonial and feminist methods. The authors ask, “How do we deal with the apparent cultural distances between ourselves and these ancient writings; what can we learn from their visions of human dwelling on the earth?” The essays come with an identification of the contributors, a preface by A. Brenner introducing the articles, a common bibliography (pp. 227-251), an author index, and a scripture index.

Brett, Mark G., Natives and Immigrants in the Social Imagination of the Holiness School, in: Ben Zvi, Ehud; Edelman, Diana Vikander (Hg.), Imagining the Other and Constructing Israelite Identity in the Early Second Temple Period (Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies 456), London 2013, 89–104. Show MoreAbstract from OTA 38, 2015, 671, #2216: B. surmises that the policy on the “native” in the Holiness Code (H), which introduces a new vocabulary on the topic, must stem from a need to articulate a new understanding of the relationship between land and identity that was not present in earlier, Deuteronomistic theology, in view of a new set of problems about the legitimacy of land possession. The phrase “people of the land” must already have taken on negative connotations that prevented it from expressing a sense of equity between native and immigrant. The H editors of the Persian period were imagining new ways to express religious and economic integration via permeable boundaries that would allow a reconciliation of the peoples of the land who never went into exile with the “children of the gôlâ,” while at the same time opening possibilities for including the surrounding gôyîm as both land-owners and participants in the Jewish cult. [Adapted from published abstract—C.T.B.]

Büchner, Dirk, A Cultic Term (ἁμαρτία) in the Septuagint: Its Meaning and Use from the Third Century b.c.e. until the New Testament: BIOSCS 42, 2009, 1–17.

Büchner, Dirk, Writing a Commentary on the Septuagint, in: Peters, Melvin K.H. (Hg.), XIV Congress of the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies, Helsinki, 2010 (SCS 59), Atlanta 2013, 525–537. Show MorePublished abstract: This paper highlights some issues encountered in commenting on Leuitikon 5–7. In these chapters in NETS some tricky moves were made to accommodate the translator’s response to Hebrew idiom. I intend to present a procedure for how one deals with syntactical and lexical difficulties in the body of a commentary such as the SBLCS. Tribute will be paid to Karl Huber’s Untersuchungen über den Sprachkarakter des griechischen Leviticus, published in 1916. In addition, these chapters begin giving attention to the matter of impurity, and some remarks will be made about this topic, with reference to Theodor Wächter’s Reinheitsvorschriften im griechischen Kult, published in 1910.

Büchner, Dirk, Brief Remarks on the Occurrence and Value of Blood in Greek Sources from Epic to Early Christianity, in: Kraus, Wolfgang; Kreuzer, Siegfried; Meiser, Martin; Sigismund, Marcus (Hg.), Die Septuaginta – Text, Wirkung, Rezeption. 4. Internationale Fachtagung veranstaltet von Septuaginta Deutsch (LXX.D), Wuppertal 19.-22. Juli 2012 (WUNT 325), Tübingen 2014, 255–271.
Show MoreB. presents brief observations about the scant significance that blood appears to have in Greek ritual and poses the question whether blood can be viewed as playing a purificatory role in Greek ritual. B. discusses several occurrences in Greek ritual descriptions and concludes that Greeks did not regard blood as a significant substance in θυσία, and that it was not considered a widespread cathartic medium outside of murder pollution. After that he presents the rather contrastive prominence given to blood in the Septuagint, Jewish-Hellenistic writings, the New Testament and Early Christianity.

Büchner, Dirk, Interpretive Intent and the Legal Material of the Septuagint Pentateuch, in: Cook, Johann; Rösel, Martin (Hg.), Toward a Theology of the Septuagint. Stellenbosch Congress on the Septuagint, 2018 (Septuagint and Cognate Studies, 74), Atlanta, GA: SBL Press, 2020, 115–139.  Show MoreAbstract from OTA: A language such as Greek, with a much larger vocabulary and set of syntactical structures than Hebrew, is able to be more precise than the latter, which often appears ambiguous. The question then is whether, like the Targums, the LXX should be regarded as closer to the Hebrew style than to the meaning of the Hebrew texts it translates, to borrow a formulation of David J. Lane. If the former is the case, the task of one seeking for a hermeneutical purpose in the translation is to determine whether one finds more than simply isolated attempts to create new meanings in the Greek. This paper presents a number of passages drawn from LXX Leviticus where interpretation is clearly operative, but also, as a control sample, other cases in which the material does not appear to display the kind of meaning associated with a liturgical text. If, in a book like Leviticus, containing sacred laws and precepts, we encounter variations with regard to the clarity of the translator(s)’ purpose, one is forced to raise the question of what sort of expectations the translation was intended to meet. Such expectations, I argue, exist in the receptor community, rather than in the mind of the translator. Nevertheless, the question is one that can enrich the profile of what one might call a diaspora “theology.” [Adapted from published abstract—C.T.B.]

Chavel, Simeon, Oracular Law and Priestly Historiography in the Torah (FAT II, 71), Tübingen 2014. Show MoreAbstract from OTA 38, 2015, 800, #2621: This volume began as C.’s dissertation at Hebrew University under Israel Knohl. In it, C. argues that four texts from the Priestly strand of the Torah—Lev 24:10-23, Num 9:1‑14, 15:32-36; and 27:1-11—are best considered together as exemplars of the same genre, which he terms “oracular novella.” The four texts each have the same incidental character, essential plot, and structure; employ a specialized diction; portray in an unusually specific manner Moses’ precise role in the legislative and judicial process; straddle the fence between law and narrative; demonstrate a distinct method for generating law and establishing it thereafter; and give distinctive expression to certain elements that stand at the base of communal identity” (p. 1). Even so, the four texts are to be differentiated into two subtypes—an “action” type (Lev 24:10-23; Num 15:32-36) and a “situation” type (Num 9:1-14; 27:1-11). In addition to genre considerations, C. draws on sociological insights on how texts can be used by a community “to refresh itself” (p. 15). After his introduction, C. offers lengthy chapters on each of the four texts. In each case, the text is examined with regard to “(1) its internal coherence and poetics … compositional history … and tradition history; (2) its specific location within the Priestly history; and (3) its relationship with other texts in the Priestly history and elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible and lore outside them” (p. 257). A summary and conclusion round out the study. A combined bibliography and list of abbreviations and indexes of sources and subjects are also included.—B.A.S.

Choi, Baesick, Leviticus and Its Reception in the Dead Sea Scrolls from Qumran, Eugene, Or.: Pickwick Publications, 2020.  Published abstractPublished abstract: A large amount of Leviticus material has been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. Yet there is surprisingly little secondary scholarly analysis of the role of Leviticus in this corpus. The book of Leviticus survives in several manuscripts; it also features in quotations and allusions, so that it seems to be a foundational source for the ideology behind the composition of some of the nonscriptural texts. Indeed this volume argues that the ideology of the Holiness Code persisted in the communities that collected the manuscripts and placed them in the Qumran Caves.    Abstract from OTAAbstract from OTA: In this reworking of his University of Manchester dissertation directed by George J. Brooke, C. sets out to show that the Book of Leviticus, chaps. 16-27 in particular, was a major influence on the movement whose adherents resided at Qumran and other nearby sites in the late Second Temple period, both in its earlier (“pre-sectarian”) and later (“sectarian”) stages. In making his case, C. first notes that the caves at Qumran and its environs have yielded no less than 25 manuscripts of Leviticus in varying formats and states of preservation. From this basis, C. proceeds to examine in some detail 4 DSS texts in which the influence of Leviticus on the given’s document’s structure, themes, and ideological emphases proves significant. Of these, the first two, i.e., Jubilees and the Temple Scroll, are likely earlier/pre-sectarian in origin, while the remaining two, i.e., the Damascus Document and MMT, are later/“sectarian” productions. Prior to his synthesizing conclusion, C. summarily surveys a number of other DSS, both earlier and later, i.e., the Aramaic Levi Document, the Genesis Apocryphon, the Apocryphon of Jeremiah, as well as 4Q274; 4Q251; and 1QS, all of which evidence the influence of Leviticus on their content and respective ideologies. Overall, C. concludes that the writers of the above texts in their utilization of Leviticus typically did so in ways that, e.g., elaborated on the source text, clarified its meaning, and made its provisions more stringent in accordance with the cultic and educational purposes that inform their compositions.—C.T.B.

Cranz, Isabel, Priests, Pollution and the Demonic: Evaluating Impurity in the Hebrew Bible in Light of Assyro-Babylonian Texts: JANER (Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions) 14, 2014, 68–86.    Show MorePublished abstract: The Priestly Source makes no explicit reference to the demonic when describing pollution which supposedly sets it apart from non-biblical conceptualizations of impurity. Most scholars explain the Priestly disregard for demons by referring to the advance of monotheism and the subsequent eradication of supernatural forces other than God. Depending on whether monotheism is viewed as gradual process or as the foundation of Israelite religion, commentators either detect a weakened demonic quality in Priestly pollution or claim that the Priestly Source has always been of a non-demonic nature. However, in recent years the idea that monotheism pervades most books of the Hebrew Bible has been increasingly called into question. At the same time, the extensive publication of Assyro-Babylonian ritual texts allows for better understanding of Assyro-Babylonian conceptualizations of impurity. These developments necessitate the reevaluation of the current views on Priestly pollution by examining Assyro-Babylonian texts pertaining to impurity and the demonic. Special attention is given to context and dating of the cuneiform sources used to exemplify the non-demonic nature of Priestly impurity. This renewed comparison of Priestly and Assyro-Babylonian impurity highlights how the Priestly writer frames the concepts of pollution within the context of the sanctuary and its maintenance. The Assyro-Babylonian texts dealing with impurity and demons, by contrast, focus on the individual and his/her relationship to the personal god rather than temple maintenance. Likewise, cuneiform texts that deal with pollution and temple maintenance do not concern themselves with demonic affliction. Consequently, it can be argued that the non-demonic nature of impurity in the Priestly Source is the result of the Priestly focus on the sanctuary and does not give witness to an underlying theological ideal.

Crouch, Carly L., What Makes a Thing Abominable? Observations on the Language of Boundaries and Identity Formation from a Social Scientific Perspective: VT 65, 2015, 516–541.Show MorePublished abstract: Previous attempts to synthesise biblical texts’ usage of twʿbh have associated the language with cultic concerns in Deuteronomy and Ezekiel or with ethical concerns in Proverbs. The reconciliation of these interests, especially in conjunction with a number of additional outlier texts, has proved problematic. This investigation suggests that the texts which use twʿbh and tʿb exhibit a persistent focus on issues of identity, on the transgression of boundaries and on perceptions of the compatibility and incompatibility of fundamental social, theological and ideological categories. This understanding goes some way towards providing an explanation of the diverse appearances of these terms across the biblical texts.

Darshan, Guy, The Casuistic Law in Leviticus, the New Marmarini Inscription, and the Eloulaia and Nisanaia Festivals, in: ZAW 134, 2022, 483–499.Show MorePublished abstract: This paper aims to highlight a series of similarities between Leviticus and an extraordinary Greek inscription that was discovered in Marmarini (Greece) and published during the recent decade (CGRN 225 = SEG 65–376). As this inscription contains instructions and regulations for ritual conduct, as well as reflects many unique Near Eastern features, it serves in this paper as the basis for a new comparative study that has significant ramifications on our understanding of the casuistic law in Leviticus, and the formation of the Priestly material in the Pentateuch.

Dennis, J., The Function of the חטאת Sacrifice in the Priestly Literature. An Evaluation of the View of Jacob Milgrom: EThL 78, 2002, 108–123.

Dietrich, Jan, Listenweisheit im Buch Levitikus. Überlegungen zu den Taxonomien der Priesterschrift, in: Körting, Corinna; Kratz, Reinhard Gregor (Hg.), Fromme und Frevler. Studien zu Psalmen und Weisheit. Festschrift für Hermann Spieckermann zum 70. Geburtstag, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck 2020, 371–387.

Dietrich, Jan, Formen der Resilienz im Buch Levitikus, in: Gärtner, Judith; Schmitz, Barbara (Hg.), Resilienznarrative im Alten Testament (FAT 156), Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2022, 69–86.

Eberhart, Christian A., Blut des Bundes. Das Opferverständnis im Buch Levitikus und in der Eucharistie: BiKi 69, 2014, 69–73. Show MoreAbstract: The Eucharist is the fundamental form of worship for all Christian denominations and confessions. The article examines the roots of Christ’s word about the cup and his blood. These roots lie at the heart of the prescriptions of the Book of Leviticus about sacrifices and atonement. The sacrifices in Leviticus invite to a joyful communication with the deity; the blood rituals clean humans and items used for the cult (the altars, the sanctuary) and thus achieve atonement. These traditional Jewish ideas form the basis for Christian soteriological concepts in the New Testament, especially for the Eucharist. To drink the wine as “blood of the covenant” is a process of consecration transmitting God’s peace and grace to human beings.

Eberhart, Christian A., Beobachtungen zu Opfer, Kult und Sühne in der Septuaginta, in: Kraus, Wolfgang; Kreuzer, Siegfried; Meiser, Martin; Sigismund, Marcus (Hg.), Die Septuaginta – Text, Wirkung, Rezeption. 4. Internationale Fachtagung veranstaltet von Septuaginta Deutsch (LXX.D), Wuppertal 19.-22. Juli 2012 (WUNT 325), Tübingen 2014, 297–314. Show MoreAbstract: E. examines a selection of texts that are essential and revealing for the topics of sacrifice, cult, and atonement in the Septuagint. He first focuses on the narrative of the Sinai covenant in Exod 24:1-11. Here, the LXX follows the Hebrew text faithfully, with one exception: The LXX avoids the notion that the elders of the Israelites “saw” God directly and rather reads “and they appeared in the place of God.” This has to do with the general tendency of the LXX to avoid anthropomorphisms. Another example would be the fact that the LXX in the Torah translates lḥm (“bread”) when it is used for sacrifices never verbatim, but rather as τὰ δῶρα, “the offerings.” E. also discusses the longer text of the LXX in Lev 17:4a: This plus stresses the necessity to bring the animals as offerings to the sanctuary. Finally, E. demonstrates that the LXX equivalents for Hebrew kipper (ἐξιλάσκομαι and ἱλάσκομαι) confirm the wide semantic spectrum of this concept that ranges between purification and consecration. Hence, the LXX in major areas appears as a faithful interpretation of the cultic concepts of the Hebrew text.

Eberhart, Christian A., Introduction: Constituents and Critique of Sacrifice, Cult, and Atonement in Early Judaism and Christianity, in: Wiley, Henrietta L.; Eberhart, Christian A. (eds.), Sacrifice, Cult, and Atonement in Early Judaism and Christianity. Constituents and Critique (Resources for Biblical Study 85), Atlanta: SBL Press, 2017, 1–29.

Eberhart, Christian A.; Hieke, Thomas (ed.), Writing a Commentary on Leviticus: Hermeneutics–Methodology–Themes (FRLANT 276), Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019. (Informationen und LeseprobeShow MoreAbstract: Writing a commentary on a biblical book is not limited to the scholar’s study and desk. Hence, several experts in the field of Hebrew Bible currently writing a larger commentary on the book of Leviticus followed the invitation of Christian Eberhart and Thomas Hieke to meet between 2014 and 2016 at the Annual SBL Conference. They shared their experiences, discussed hermeneutical and methodological considerations, and presented their ideas about particular themes and issues in the third book of the Torah. The results of these consultative panels had significant impact on the production of the commentaries. – The first part of this volume features essays reflecting on the process of writing a Leviticus commentary, including boosts and obstacles, while suggesting innovative insights on particular problems of the book. The second part identifies certain themes of Leviticus, especially sacrifices and rituals (“the cult”), the notion of unintentional and deliberate sins and purity/impurity (“the bad”) and how to eliminate them, and the relationship to the sphere of God (“the holy”). This section demonstrates how commenting a biblical book highly depends on the perspective a scholar takes, and how different commentaries on the same biblical text come to different conclusions because of a diversity of methodological and hermeneutical approaches. These are issues innate in the subject matter; in the end the variety of approaches bears witness to the complexity, intricacy, and richness of the biblical text. This volume, therefore, offers a fascinating inside view into the studies and onto the desks of several prolific biblical experts who share their reflections and concepts about their commentaries on Leviticus with an interested audience.

Eberhart, Christian A., Sacrifice? Holy Smokes! Reflections on Cult Terminology for Understanding Sacrifice in the Hebrew Bible, in: Christian A. Eberhart/Thomas Hieke (eds.), Writing a Commentary on Leviticus: Hermeneutics–Methodology–Themes (FRLANT 276), Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019, 77-99.Show MoreIn his contribution “Sacrifice? Holy Smokes! Reflections on Cult Terminology for Understanding Sacrifice in the Hebrew Bible,” Christian A. Eberhart explores interpretive aspects of sacrificial rituals that are manifest in both Hebrew and Greek technical terms for sacrifices and selected ritual aspects or components. The individual profile and common implications of this terminology offer insights into perceptions of early communities, tradents, and translators of the texts, who understood sacrifices as dynamic processes of approaching God and as tokens of reverence and reconciliation. Eberhart concludes that this terminology conveys the importance of the burning rite as a ritual component; this methodological approach allows the incorporation of both animal sacrifices and sacrifices from vegetal substances into modern scholarly theorizing. This understanding is corroborated by a brief investigation of rituals that do not count as sacrifices in the Hebrew Bible.

Ederer, Matthias, Identitätsstiftende Begegnung. Die theologische Deutung des regelmäßigen Kultes Israels in der Tora (FAT 121), Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2018.    Show MoreAbstract: ln his study of the so-called tāmîd texts of the Pentateuch. E. demonstrates that these materials concerning regular communal ritual acts are of particular importance among the ritual and sacrificial texts of the Torah. After a clarification of methods and terms, he turns to a detailed examination of all relevant passages: the tôrâ for the sanctuary (Exodus 25-31), the role of the tāmîd in the inauguration of the cult (Exodus 40; Leviticus 9; Numbers 8), the new context and halakhic expansion in Leviticus 24 and Numbers 28 and the regular sacrificial procedures in Leviticus 1-7. A final chapter summarizes and systematizes E.’s observations. While the texts seem designed as instructions at the first glance, they do not, in fact, focus on the procedures of the regular cult performances but rather develop theological interpretations of these. All recurrent ritual acts handled in the Pentateuch serve to invoke a regular encounter of Israel with Yhwh and of Yhwh with Israel as a reminder of what Israel is or should be before Yhwh. Thus, these ritual texts preserve Israel’s identity in its theological depth dimension. This identity comes to the fore at the sanctuary, Israel’s center, according to a regular rhythm.-T.H.  Show Even MorePublished abstract: Within the Torah’s cultic texts, the instructions to carry out communal ritual acts are of major importance. Matthias Ederer’s minute examination of these ‘Tamid texts’ shows that though they appear to be set out as regulations, they barely address the how and what of performance and instead develop detailed theological interpretations. All that the regular cultic acts dealt with in the Torah have in common is that they outline and commemorate – by initiating a periodical interaction between Israel and YHWH and vice versa – what Israel is, or ought to be, before YHWH. The texts are shaped as a reservoir of a theologically founded identity of Israel, which is presented in a regular rhythm at the center of Israel, the Temple, and thus creates a specific time of Israel.

Ellens, Deborah L., Fundamental Structure as Methodological Control for Evaluating Introverted Literary Structures in Leviticus, in: Gane, Roy E.; Taggar-Cohen, Ada (ed.), Current Issues in Priestly and Related Literature. The Legacy of Jacob Milgrom and Beyond (Resources for Biblical Study 82), Atlanta 2015, 265–297.

Erbele-Küster, Dorothea, Menstruation and the Sacred in (Post) Biblical Discourse, in: Berlis, Angela; Biezeveld, Kune; Korte, Anne-Marie (Hg.), Everyday Life and the Sacred. Reconfiguring Gender Studies in Religion (Studies in Theology and Religion 23), Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2017, 101–113. Show MoreAbstract from OTA: E.-K.’s essay explores the concept of the female body during menstruation as this is presented in the so-called purity laws of Leviticus 11-15. These texts, she points out, connect the human body, both male and female, to the divine sanctuary and hence to the sacred. The segment in question has strongly influenced the perception and experience, especially, of the female body within Western Judeo-Christian culture and has had an ambiguous reception history. In a re-reading of these texts that sees living bodies as a model of the space of the temple inhabited by God, one can, in fact, find a “democratization” of the sacred that extends to both women and men and connects their bodies directly to the sphere of the sacred.

Erbele-Küster, Dorothea, Body, Gender and Purity in Leviticus 12 and 15 (Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies 539), New York, Oxford, London, New Delhi, Sydney: Bloomsbury, 2017. Show MoreThe so-called purity laws in Leviticus 11-15 reflect a cultic and social view on the male and female body. These texts do not give detailed physiological descriptions. Instead, they prescribe what to do in the cases of skin disease, delivery and wo/man’s genital discharges, but the particular way of dealing with the body and the language used in Leviticus 12 and 15 ask for clarification: How do these texts construct the male and female body? Which roles does gender play within this language? By means of themes like menstruation and circumcision, the author unfolds the language used for the body in Leviticus and its interpretation history. The study provides material for a contemporary anthropology of bodies, which relates the human sexed body to God’s holiness.

Erbele-Küster, Dorothea, The Ritual Texts of Leviticus and the Creation of Ritualized Bodies, in: Nihan, Christophe; Rhyder, Julia (eds.), Text and Ritual in the Pentateuch. A Systematic and Comparative Approach, University Park, PA: Eisenbrauns, 2021, 240–254.


Feder, Yitzhaq, The Semantics of Purity in the Ancient Near East. Lexical Meaning as a Projection of Embodied Experience: JANER (Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions) 14, 2014, 87–113. Show MorePublished abstract: This article analyzes the primary terms for purity in Biblical Hebrew, Ugaritic, Sumerian, Akkadian and Hittite. Building from insights from cognitive linguistics and embodiment theory, this study develops the premise that semantic structure—even of seemingly abstract concepts—is grounded in real-world bodily experience. An examination of purity terms reveals that all of them can be related to a concrete sense pertaining to radiance (brilliance, brightness, shininess). The article then traces the semantic development of purity terms in distinct experiential context and shows how semantic analysis can elucidate the inner logic of fundamental religious concepts.

Feder, Yitzhaq, The Wilderness Camp Paradigm in the Holiness Source and the Tempel Scroll. From Purity Laws to Cult Politics: Journal of Ancient Judaism 5, 2014, 290–310. Show MoreAbstract from OTA 38, 2015, 670, #2215: F.’s  paper explores the socio-historical implications of the levitical purity laws as these are understood in the Holiness Code (H) and the Temple Scroll (TS). Though the rhetoric of these sources is similar, closer examination reveals fundamental differences between them. In particular, F. focuses on the manner in which these sources understand the wilderness camp model, which serves as the primary framework for their respective applications of the biblical purity laws. In H, we find a repeated emphasis on the danger of polluting the Tabernacle (see, e.g., Lev 15:31; Num 5:4, 19:13, 20). From a strictly philological analysis of these H verses, it becomes clear that they have as their focus the purity of the centralized sanctuary. Interestingly, this stance finds echoes in the rabbinic view, which restricted the application of the purity laws almost exclusively to Jerusalem. In contrast, the interpretation of these same verses in TS construes them as requiring purity on other cities throughout the land as well. The comparison of the above source and the relationship between purity and the cultic establishment implied by them can serve as a basis for contextualizing H and TS historically. Such analysis can also enable us to trace the development of attitudes towards purity in Israel in the periods before and after cult centralization. [Adapted from published abstract—C.T.B.]

Feder, Yitzhaq, The Textualization of Priestly Ritual in Light of Hittite Sources, in: Nihan, Christophe; Rhyder, Julia (eds.), Text and Ritual in the Pentateuch. A Systematic and Comparative Approach, University Park, PA: Eisenbrauns, 2021, 121–150.

Feder, Yitzhaq, Purity and Pollution in the Hebrew Bible: From Embodied Experience to Moral Metaphor, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022.

Feldman, Liane M., The idea and study of sacrifice in ancient Israel, in: Religion Compass 2020;e12380, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/rec3.12380 Show MorePublished Abstract: This article offers an introduction to the idea of sacrifice in Israel across the first millennium BCE, and presents data from both the first and second temple periods. In the first part of the article, I discuss three different types of evidence available for the study of sacrifice—archeological, comparative, and literary—the strengths and limitations of each form of evidence, and highlight recent trends in this area of study. In the second part of the article, I turn to a more direct discussion of the what, where, who, why, and how of sacrifice in ancient Israel.

Feldman, Liane M., The Story of Sacrifice. Ritual and Narrative in the Priestly Source (Forschungen zum Alten Testament 141), Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2020.  Show MoreAbstract from OTA: This is a significantly revised version of F.’s dissertation that was submitted in 2018 to the University of Chicago. Its six chapters look closely at the relationship between the detailed ritual instructions in Leviticus and the broader Priestly narrative in the Pentateuch. F. argues that the two are deeply interdependent and that the P ritual material can and should be read as literature. Chap. 1 offers an introduction and concise history of scholarship on ritual and narrative in the Pentateuch and also provides an orientation to the method used in F.’s study. Chap. 2 focuses on the construction of space in the segment Exodus 40-Leviticus 7, considering the literary function and the structuring of the sacrificial instructions. Chap. 3 discusses the creation of the cult and its public performance in Lev 8:1-10:7. Chap. 4 treats the delineation of boundaries separating the ordinary and the sacred in Israel’s cult, with special attention to Lev 10:8-15:33 and Num 7:1-8:4. Chap. 5 studies Leviticus 16-17 regarding the possibility of ritual “decontamination,” while chap. 6 is F.’s brief conclusion. The volume contains six charts, a bibliography, and indexes. F.’s literary reading offers an intriguing new conversation with pentateuchal ritual texts without jettisoning the historical value of those texts.-G.A.K.

Feldman, Liane M., Challenging a Priestly Credit Theology: A New Translation of Niphal חשב, in: The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 84, 2022, 183–201.  Show MorePublished Abstract: This article argues for a new translation of the niphal of חשב in the Priestly Narrative. This verb has typically been translated as “credited” and has been used as the foundation for arguing that the Priestly sacrificial system utilizes a divine ledger that tracks credits and debits of individual Israelites. I demonstrate that the concept of this kind of “credit theology” is foreign to the Priestly Narrative, and that the mistranslation of this verb has enabled a fundamental misunderstanding of the sacrificial system. Instead, I suggest that the use of this verb is limited to a very specific legal scenario related to the inappropriate possession of sacrificial material, is best understood in the context of property law, and should be translated as “to bail.”

Ferch, John G., The Story of Torah: The Role of Narrative in Leviticus’ Legal Discourse: Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament 2, 2013, 41–60.

Friedl, Johanna, Ein brüderliches Volk. Das ‚Bruder‘-Konzept im Heiligkeitsgesetz und Deuteronomischen Gesetz (Österreichische Biblische Studien 52), Berlin: Peter Lang, 2021.  Show MoreAbstract from OTA: This is a slightly revised version of F.’s dissertation submitted to the Catholic Theological Faculty at the University of Vienna in 2018. In it, F. discusses the social construct of the term “brother” within the law code of Deuteronomy 12-26 and the Holiness Code (Leviticus 17-26) with attention to the political and economic aspects of the term in the two corpora. The monograph comprises eight chapters, followed by a concise conclusion, four appendixes, a bibliography, and index of biblical references. Chap. 1 discusses the Hebrew term for “brother,” while chap. 2 focuses on its occurrences within Deuteronomy 12-46 and Leviticus 17-26. Chap. 3 offers a discussion of the use of the term “brother” in other ANE legal corpora (including Hittite, Neo-Assyrian, and Aramaic texts) and also suggests a relative dating for the “brother”-texts within the Deuteronomic law code and the Holiness Code. Chap. 4 looks at the larger context of the social legislation in the Deuteronomic law code, including debt release, laws governing the manumission of slaves, the prohibition of charging, etc. Chap. 5 discusses the collection of laws regulating offices and statuses in Deuteronomy (including priestly laws, prophetic laws, laws about judges, and the institution of the Levirate). Chap. 6 reviews laws invoking “brother” principles in the Holiness Code, while chap. 7 suggests a theological foundation for the Deuteronomic “brother“ ethos. Chap. 8 offers a quick review of the political, economic, and social influence of the above laws in later epochs, including antiquity, Scholasticism, Italian humanism. German classicism, and the early twentieth century. F. concludes that a comprehensive understanding of the OT “brother” ethos requires a synthesis of the three perspectives on the “brother” featured in the Pentateuch, i.e., the brother as poor and needy, as a potential leader (or office holder), and as a compatriot.-G.A.K.

Gane, Roy E., Didactic Logic and the Authorship of Leviticus, in: Gane, Roy E.; Taggar-Cohen, Ada (ed.), Current Issues in Priestly and Related Literature. The Legacy of Jacob Milgrom and Beyond (Resources for Biblical Study 82), Atlanta 2015, 197–221. Show MoreAbstract from OTA: G.’s starting point in this discussion of the Book of Leviticus is the question formulated by James Watts concerning Leviticus 1-16: who is trying to persuade whom of what by writing these texts? (Watts’s answer is that Leviticus 1-16 is the work of priests— whether preexilic, exilic, or postexilic—whose purpose was to persuade the Israelite community to accept the cultic monopoly of the Aaronide priesthood). In engaging with Watts’s claim, G. focuses on the book’s (his study extends to the whole of Leviticus 1-27) various didactic strategies (e.g., organizing items of information in recognizable progressions; providing perspective through logical hierarchy; reinforcing by repetition, simplifying by abbreviating) as well as its backgrounding or foregrounding concepts and practices and what this suggests about what its hearers/readers are presumed to know already (e.g, the basic notion of physical impurity) or, conversely, to require more detailed instruction about (e.g., the holy Yhwh’s ethical requirements for his holy people). On the basis of his findings regarding the above matters, G. concludes, contra Watts, that the book’s prevailing concern is to promote a communal ideal of ritual and ethical holiness to which all Israelites—both priests and lay—are subject. Moreover, the book’s invocation of the authority of the non-priest Moses (behind whom stands Yhwh himself) could suggest that its authors were not priests themselves (so Watts), but (possibly) prophetic figures.—C.T.B.

Gane, Roy E.; Taggar-Cohen, Ada (ed.), Current Issues in Priestly and Related Literature. The Legacy of Jacob Milgrom and Beyond (Resources for Biblical Study 82), Atlanta 2015.

Gane, Roy E., Purification Offerings and Paradoxical Pollution of the Holy, in: Christian A. Eberhart/Thomas Hieke (eds.), Writing a Commentary on Leviticus: Hermeneutics–Methodology–Themes (FRLANT 276), Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019, 115-125.Show MoreGane answers objections to his proposal regarding a challenging question that any serious commentator on Leviticus must face. How do physical ritual impurities (ṭumʾôt) and sins (ḥaṭṭāʾôt) pollute the sanctuary so that they must be purged from there on the Day of Atonement (Lev 16:16, 19)? In his book Cult and Character (2005), Gane concluded that these evils affect the sanctuary through purification offerings during the course of the year, as indicated by Leviticus 6:20–21. Here blood of a most holy purification offering that spatters on a garment must be washed off in a holy place because it paradoxically carries some pollution, and a vessel in which purification offering flesh is boiled must be broken or scoured and rinsed in water for the same reason. The pollution comes from the offerer when the sacrifice removes the evil from that person. So when a priest applies some of the blood to part of the sanctuary, the sanctuary receives the pollution.—Christophe Nihan has countered Gane’s interpretation in part of his essay titled “The Templization of Israel in Leviticus: Some Remarks on Blood Disposal and Kipper in Leviticus.” Nihan finds the idea that purification offerings transfer pollution from offerers to the sanctuary to be problematic because ancient Near Eastern people were afraid of defiling sacred places, and he rejects the inference from Leviticus 6:20–21 that most holy purification offerings carry pollution, preferring the view that verse 20 requires the washing of priestly vestments to remove contagious holiness.—In the present essay, Gane responds to these and other objections through exegetical analysis of the relevant biblical passages, reference to ancient Near Eastern texts, and clarification of his interpretation. It is especially significant that the rules in Leviticus 6:20–21 apply only to the purification offering, which removes sins (Lev 4:1–5:13) and physical impurities (e.g., 12:6–8).

Gilders, William K., חטאת as “Sin Offering”. A Reconsideration, in: Hodge, Caroline E. Johnson; Olyan, Saul M.; Ullucci, Daniel; Wasserman, Emma (Hg.), “The One Who Sows Bountifully”. Essays in Honor of Stanley K. Stowers (Brown Judaic Studies 356), Providence 2013, 119–128. Show MoreGilders befasst sich mit dem Entsündigungsopfer und der Schwierigkeit, den hebräischen Opferbegriff חטאת, ḥaṭṭāʾt, angemessen zu übersetzen. Er schlussfolgert: „Thus, for the Priestly tradents, the חטאת, a specific ritual complex with clearly defined technical elements, was a ‚purification offering‘ that dealt with ‚sin,‘ as well as a ‚sin offering‘ that dealt with impurity. We may assume that this reality made sense to the Priestly tradents.“

Gilders, William K., Commentary as Ethnography, in: Christian A. Eberhart/Thomas Hieke (eds.), Writing a Commentary on Leviticus: Hermeneutics–Methodology–Themes (FRLANT 276), Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019, 35-47.Show MoreGilders focuses on the role played in his forthcoming commentary on Leviticus by anthropology and ritual theory, which Gilders believes to be the most important element in that work. In drawing on the work of anthropologists, he takes the risk of characterizing the commentary as a work of ethnography in which he acts as a “professional stranger” (the anthropologist M.H. Agar’s designation for the ethnographer). This approach is exemplified through discussion of Leviticus 2, the basic legislation for the קרבן מנחה (“tribute offering”), in order to highlight the desire to disengage treatment of the offerings in Leviticus from the idea that “sacrifice” necessarily involves the killing of animal victims. Gilders explains how his commentary will constitute an ethnography of the ways in which Aaronide priests represent and interpret Israelite cultural practices through the medium of the texts they composed and edited. Gilders intends for the commentary to do justice to what his ancient Israelite informants tell him and to provide a cultural translation for its presumed audience of twenty-first century readers. He sets out a multi-layered interpretation of the cultural data on the basis of the theoretical models he finds most compelling and productive. Specifically, while he largely avoids offering symbolic-communicative explanations of ritual performances, Gilders explicates the indexical force of such practices in terms of Peircian semiotics. His goal is to strike a balance between providing sufficient interpretation and providing too much.

Goldstein, Elizabeth W., Women and the Purification Offering. What Jacob Milgrom Contributed to the Intersection of Women’s Studies and Biblical Studies, in: Gane, Roy E.; Taggar-Cohen, Ada (ed.), Current Issues in Priestly and Related Literature. The Legacy of Jacob Milgrom and Beyond (Resources for Biblical Study 82), Atlanta 2015, 47–65. Show MoreAbstract from OTA: Truly, the glass is either half full or half empty with regard to P and women. G.’s essay shows that Jacob Milgrom espoused the former view. He demonstrated the parturient’s utter lack of sin, re-read Lev 15:32 in favor of gender parity, and asserted that both men and women washed in their purification process. On the parturient (Lev 12:7-8), Milgrom pointed out: “This distinction makes it crystal clear that the parturient and all others who suffer physical impurity have committed no moral wrong that requires divine forgiveness.” This insight, among many others relevant to women’s studies, is one of Milgrom’s lasting legacies. G. herself finds that the Priestly writer of Leviticus 15 portrays male and female bodily impurities in basically parallel fashion, even though the differences between them are significant. Why does the writer do this? Perhaps the answer lies in the difference between those who led, operated, and performed the rituals and the one who wrote down their instructions. Officiating priests were always men, although not all men served as officiating priests. Despite the references to female functionaries at the sanctuary or temple, equal roles for women of priestly descent did not exist as they did for men. Nevertheless, it appears that the one who transcribed the rituals, the Priestly writer, intended to indicate the parallel and equally inferior status of potentially impure male and female bodies in relationship to the deity. [Adapted from author’s conclusion—C.T.B.]

Goldstein, Elizabeth W., Impurity and Gender in the Hebrew Bible, Lanham, Boulder, New York, London: Lexington Books, 2015.

Golinets, Viktor, Orthographical, Grammatical and Lexical Peculiarities in the Hebrew Texts of Leviticus. onsiderations about Hebrew Bible Editing in the Light of the Linguistic Development of Hebrew, in: Himbaza, Innocent (ed.), The Text of Leviticus. Proceedings of the Third International Colloquium of the Dominique Barthélemy Institute, held in Fribourg (October 2015) (OBO 292), Leuven: Peeters, 2020, 149–177.

González, Eusebio, Santidad sacerdotl y santidad de Israel. Dos ideas relacionadas en el libro Levitico, in: Annales Theologici 33, 2019, 489–501.  Show MoreAbstract from OTA: G.’s paper examines the concept of “holiness” in the Bible, with a focus on the relationship between priestly holiness and the holiness of Israel in the Book of Leviticus. ln particular, G. seeks to show that the two parts of the book generally distinguished by scholars, i.e. the Priestly Code of chaps. 1-16 and the Holiness Code of chaps. 17-26, can be seen as highlighting two core components of the biblical concept of holiness: the former segment directs attention to God who sanctifies in virtue of his intrinsic, primordial purity and holiness, while the latter focuses on Israel, which is sanctified according to a process in which a people that is not holy to start with is guided toward their becoming such by the holy God. [Adapted from published abstract – C.T.B.]

Greer, Jonathan S., The “Priestly Portion” in the Hebrew Bible: Its Ancient Near Eastern Context and Its Implications for the Composition of P, in: Journal of Biblical Literature 138, 2019, 263–284. Show MorePublished Abstract: The Hebrew Bible contains a variety of traditions concerning which meat cuts from animal sacrifices comprised the “priestly portion.” The variant textual traditions invite questions related to the historical situations that gave rise to these traditions and fostered their incorporation in the present form of the Pentateuch. This article identifies these traditions and explores questions of priority and provenance, first, from text-critical and source-critical perspectives, and, second, by considering the traditions in light of textual, iconographic, and zooarchaeological data from the broader ancient Near Eastern world. Text-critical and source-critical approaches highlight the complexity of the issue and affirm two dominant systems: one assigning the hindlimb to the priests and another the forelimb, presumably from the right side of the animal in both cases. Ancient Near Eastern texts, iconography, and archaeology suggest that the origins of both traditions stretch deep into the Late Bronze and Iron Ages, the forelimb tradition perhaps the earlier of the two and rooted in southern regions, and the hindlimb tradition rooted in northern regions. A point of coalescence is identified geographically in the southern Levant and chronologically in the Iron Age II, concomitant with the rise of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. In this light, any assumption that Priestly cultic literature is a unified, postexilic, Jerusalem-centered corpus may need to be reexamined.

Hanneken, Todd R., The Origin and Development of the Prohibition of Eating Blood, in: CBQ 85, 2023, 595–617.   Show MorePublished abstract: Previous scholarship has generally assumed that all prohibitions of eating blood in the Hebrew Bible have the same basic meaning and refer to the same real practice in ancient society. This essay calls attention to the substantial differences in phrasing (blood as a direct object or with four different prepositions). There are also differences in the reasons to and not to eat blood (decorum, local altars, divine property, life force, ransom, divination, and idolatry). The consequences also differ substantially (scolding, forfeited blessing, excision, exile). In this essay, I suggest a model for how the variation could have resulted from well-studied processes of adaptation of received traditions to new theological and social contexts. Finally, it may be suggested that the reception and adaptation could have occurred entirely within the abstract tradition of legal revision. There may have been no contemporary practical social concern motivating the adaptation of the prohibition.

Harper, G. Geoffrey, Endangered or Dangerous? YHWH’s Presence and Impurity in Levitical Perspective, in: Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 46, 2022, 480–494. DOI: 10.1177/03090892211061175 .    Show MorePublished abstract: The working assumption in much secondary literature on Leviticus is that unchecked sin and impurity threaten, even endanger, YHWH’s earthly presence. Accordingly, purgation within the Israelite cult is primarily viewed as a means of securing and safeguarding divine immanence. Support is drawn from ANE concepts of sanctuary desecration, the exit of YHWH’s kbwd from the temple in Ezekiel 8–11 and tannaitic formulations. Nevertheless, this article contends that Leviticus nowhere indicates or assumes the departure of YHWH’s presence from the sanctuary. On the contrary, Leviticus asserts the permanence of divine presence and the resulting danger posed to impurity and its sources. This dynamic better coheres with the wider texture of the Pentateuch. In fact, importing motifs from ANE, Ezekielian and rabbinic sources arguably distorts the rhetorical force of Leviticus in its literary setting.

Harrington, Hannah K., The Use of Leviticus in Ezra-Nehemiah, in: Journal of Hebrew Scriptures 13, 2013, Article 3, 1–20.  Show MorePublished abstract: The significant dependence of Ezra-Nehemiah on Deuteronomic traditions is indisputable, but the relationship between Ezra-Nehemiah and Leviticus is less clear. Recently, scholarship has focused attention on social-political contexts recorded in Ezra-Nehemiah which may have given rise to the writing of Leviticus, or parts of it. However, with the current wide disparity of views along this line of inquiry, it seems appropriate to revisit particular traditions found in these books in order to gain a sense of logical progression of thought. The analysis below examines significant cultic traditions from Leviticus along with their counterparts in Ezra-Nehemiah and asks which version of the law is primary. … In conclusion, it appears most logical that many cultic traditions from various parts of Leviticus preceded the composition of Ezra-Nehemiah.

Harrington, Hannah K., Accessing Holiness via Ritual Ablutions in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature, in: Wiley, Henrietta L.; Eberhart, Christian A. (eds.), Sacrifice, Cult, and Atonement in Early Judaism and Christianity. Constituents and Critique (Resources for Biblical Study 85), Atlanta: SBL Press, 2017, 71–95.

Harrington, Hannah K., The Purity and Sanctuary of the Body in Second Temple Judaism (JAJ.S 33), Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019.

Harrington, Hannah K., The Role of Second Temple Texts in a Commentary on Leviticus, in: Christian A. Eberhart/Thomas Hieke (eds.), Writing a Commentary on Leviticus: Hermeneutics–Methodology–Themes (FRLANT 276), Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019, 49-66. Show MoreIn her contribution “The Role of Second Temple Texts in a Commentary on Leviticus,” Harrington takes a Second Temple perspective to Leviticus. She asks how the book was read by Second Temple priests and sages. She finds special value among these sources for: 1) determining the state of the text of Leviticus; 2) clarifying ambiguity in Leviticus; and 3) fixing the chronological development of specific Levitical traditions while bringing into relief Second Temple issues. Her contribution focuses on Ezra-Nehemiah and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Ezra-Nehemiah may have been redacted around the same time as the textus receptus of Leviticus and thus the data and issues of both texts are relevant to each other. The earliest witnesses to the actual text of Leviticus, the Dead Sea Scrolls, also supply important textual variants. They also disclose issues in interpretation. Harrington demonstrates how the Scrolls bring into relief ambiguity in the text of Leviticus and provide clarity for complex laws (e.g. purity regulations). Harrington urges commentators to grapple with the development of various Levitical traditions throughout the Second Temple period. With four examples, she illustrates the necessity of examining single traditions in light of Second Temple literature: a) tithing; b) holy days; c) the resident alien; and d) intermarriage.

Hieke, Thomas, Opfer und Liebe Gottes im Buch Levitikus, in: Oeming, Manfred (Hg.), AHAVA – Die Liebe Gottes im Alten Testament (ABG 55), Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2018, 133–142.  Show MoreH. shows how God’s love can be a key to the minute regulation of offerings in Lev. He explains that the institution of offerings is a divine response to a human need for confirmation in the communication with God. Hence, most offerings are voluntary. Offering is a way for humans to come to terms with uncertainty in their relationship with God. As God provides this way of communication, the institution of the cult is a sign of God’s love. H. supports this thesis by several observations: No one is excluded from reconciliation; even the poorest people get a possibility to offer some kind of “sin offering” (or purgation offering). Certain actions express the personal dimension of the offering (e.g., the hand-leaning ritual). Even for the case of someone doubting whether he or she has trespassed, the divine orders provide an offering.

Hieke, Thomas, Writing a Commentary as a Research Achievement, in: Christian A. Eberhart/Thomas Hieke (eds.), Writing a Commentary on Leviticus: Hermeneutics–Methodology–Themes (FRLANT 276), Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019, 19-24. Show MoreHieke demonstrates that writing a commentary on a biblical book is a research achievement. Society usually associates “research” with other activities (expensive experiments in laboratories etc.). In search for an official definition of “research,” Hieke points to the Frascati Manual of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In his essay, he demonstrates that writing a commentary on a biblical book increases the stock of knowledge, devises new applications of available knowledge, and is novel, creative, uncertain, systematic, transferable and/or reproducible. Hence, the scholarly endeavor of commenting on a biblical book meets the OECD definition of “research.”

Hieke, Thomas, Writing on Leviticus for the HThKAT Series: Some Key Issues on Sacrificial Rituals, in: Christian A. Eberhart/Thomas Hieke (eds.), Writing a Commentary on Leviticus: Hermeneutics–Methodology–Themes (FRLANT 276), Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019, 67-76. Show MoreThe title “Writing on Leviticus for the HThKAT Series: Some Key Issues on Sacrificial Rituals” conveys that Hieke reflects on central problems that emerged during his work on the Leviticus commentary for the series “Herders Theologischer Kommentar zum Alten Testament” (HThKAT). (1) Especially the first chapters of Leviticus use a very stereotypical or standardized language. The sacrifices and the various components of the respective rituals are tagged with a certain technical language and terminology. Hence, he elaborated a glossary explaining this general vocabulary and placed it after the introduction and before the commentary proper. (2) The introductory formulas (e.g., Lev 1:1–2; 4:1; 6:1; 8:1 etc.) are theologically crucial for the way the text wants to be understood: The rituals are – according to the biblical text – not invented by humans but revealed by God. (3) The meaning of the hand-leaning rite (e.g., Lev 1:4) is still a disputed issue. The contribution and the commentary present a new solution for interpreting this necessary part of the ritual. (4) Finally, the essay discusses problems of the nomenclature of the sacrifices, especially the so-called “sin offering”.

Hieke, Thomas, Tenufa – Emporhebungsgabe statt Schwingopfer, in: Wimmer, Stefan Jakob; Gafus, Georg (Hg.), „Vom Leben umfangen“. Ägypten, das Alte Testament und das Gespräch der Religionen. Gedenkschrift für Manfred Görg (ÄAT 80), Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2014, 83–89.

Hieke, Thomas, Ritual Experts and Participants in the Ancient Near East and the Hebrew Bible, in: Balentine, Samuel E. (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Ritual and Worship in the Hebrew Bible, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020, 179–194, DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190222116.013.10

Himbaza, Innocent, What Are the Consequences if 4QLXXLeva Contains the Earliest Formulation of the Septuagint?, in: Kreuzer, Siegfried; Meiser, Martin; Sigismund, Marcus; Karrer, Martin; Kraus, Wolfgang (Hg.), Die Septuaginta – Orte und Intentionen. 5. internationale Fachtagung veranstaltet von Septuaginta Deutsch (LXX.D), Wuppertal, 24.-27. Juli 2014 (WUNT 361), Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2016, 294–308.  Show More Abstract from OTA: Whereas the Old Greek of Leviticus and 4QLXXLeva are connected within the textual history of the Greek version of Leviticus, scholars disagree as to which version is the earlier and which is secondary. H.’s comparison of 4QLXXLeva, the Old Greek, and the MT for Lev 26:3-15 indicates that, in most cases, 4QLXXLeva represents the lectio difficilior, while the Old Greek is closer to the Hebrew. Thus, 4QLXXLeva is probably earlier and less literal while the Old Greek represents a revision toward a text like MT.

Himbaza, Innocent, Quelle est la Septante du Lévitique?, in: Journal of Septuagint and Cognate Studies 49, 2016, 22–33.  Show MoreAbstract from OTA: H. focuses on two Leviticus manuscripts from Qumran—4QLXXLeva (late 2nd, early 1st cent. B.C.E.) and 4QpapLXXLevb (1st cent. B.C.E.), the latter in particular. The two manuscripts are similar in style and display a freer translation technique than the major codices that lie behind the standard LXX editions of A. Rahlfs and J.W. Wevers. It is likely that the Qumran manuscripts also represent a more ancient version of LXX than what one finds in the standard editions, which need to be revised accordingly. Moreover, H. contends that the usage of the two manuscripts reflects broader developments in translation techniques related to the LXX; in other words, the earliest translators did not feel tied to a literal (word for word) translation.

Himbaza, Innocent, The Text of Leviticus. Proceedings of the Third International Colloquium of the Dominique Barthélemy Institute, Held in Fribourg (October 2015) (Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 292), Leuven: Peeters, 2020.  Show MoreAbstract: The book of Leviticus is by far the most quoted in rabbinic literature such as the Mishna or the Talmud, while it has been marginalized in the Christian tradition. Nevertheless, scholars of both traditions have again become highly interested in it for some decades now. As shown by many recent publications, the book is thoroughly studied for textual, literary, historical and reception aspects. It has often been said and written that the text of Leviticus is stable in comparison to many other books of the Hebrew Bible, and that its Greek translation is quite literal. Yet, the text of Leviticus continues to raise questions, not only regarding its content and textual witnesses, but also its interpretation, history and reception. The third international colloquium of the Dominique Barthélemy Institute, held in Fribourg in October 2015, aimed to bring together some specialists of the text of Leviticus in order to advance research on its textual witnesses and the aforementioned topics. – The articles collected in this book reflect the width of current research. They deal with the witnesses to the text of Leviticus in the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Masoretic Text, the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Septuagint. They also study the book’s Hebrew editing; its relation to other books such as Joshua, Luke-Acts and Flavius Josephus; and the challenge of its translation, with a case study in French.

Himbaza, Innocent, Leviticus (Biblia Hebraica Quinta 3), Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2020.

Holmstedt, Robert D., The Nexus between Textual Criticism and Linguistics: A Case Study from Leviticus: JBL 132, 2013, 473–494. Show MorePublished abstract: Forty-five years after James Barr’s Comparative Philology and the Text of the Old Testament appeared, it is time to reiterate his call for a balanced approach to philology and textual criticism. Though the essential issues are the same as when Barr wrote, the amount of textual data from the Dead Sea Scrolls as well as methodological challenges to the standard view of the linguistic history of ancient Hebrew have produced a significantly more complex situation. As scholars move forward in both subdisciplines of Hebrew studies—textual criticism and historical linguistics—it is more critical than ever to keep in mind that the history of the text and the history of the language are inextricably bound to each other. Using two variants in Leviticus, I will illustrate what a reasonably balanced approach looks like from the perspective of a Hebrew linguist, with the hope that textual critics and Hebrew linguists will see the need to work more closely with each other.

Hopf, Matthias, Heiligkeit und Ehre. Die Aufforderung zur imitatio Dei im Heiligkeitsgesetz im Verhältnis zu honor/shame, in: van Oorschot, Jürgen; Wagner, Andreas (Hg.), Gott und Mensch im Alten Testament. Zum Verhältnis von Gottes- und Menschenbild (VWGTh, 52), Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2018, 139–153.

Hopf, Matthias R., Is the Holiness Code Law? An Assessment Based on Semantic Observations, Form Critical Observations, and a Criteriology from the Anthropology of Law, in: ZAR 28, 2022, 97–110.  Show MorePublished abstract (adapted): It is far from clear that the Holiness Code (Leviticus 17–26) is in fact a law, in spite of its labeling as that by August Klostermann in the 19th century. There are indeed some aspects of the collection that are indicative of its character as law, but there are also others speaking against such a classification. In discussing the questions surrounding the nature of the HC, Hopf uses a multi-pronged approach, that draws on both emic and etic perspectives. Specifically, his study draws on methodological and hermeneutical insights from the anthropology of law as advanced especially by L. Pospíšil, while also revisiting semantic and form critical arguments. In addition, Hopf introduces two levels of distinction in seeking to establish a more nuanced approach to my title question, i.e., a differentiation between ius (i.e., historically applied provisions), and leges (oral or written provisions) and a further differentiation between the macro- and the micro-level. In this way, the HC is seen to be a kind of “artificial law,” i.e., an intentionally shaped composition incorporating cultic, legal, ethical, and still other elements, which presents itself under the guise of law.

Hopf, Matthias, Heilige Perfektion. Einige Beobachtungen zu den Aspekten der „Perfektibilität“ und der „Korruptibilität“ im Heiligkeitsgesetz, in: van Oorschot, Jürgen; Wagner, Andreas (Hg.), Perfektion und Perfektibilität in den Literaturen des Alten Testaments (VWGTh 63), Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2020, 91–104.

Hosle, Paul K., Understanding Imitatio Dei in the Holiness Source, in: VT 73, 2023, 622–644. Online: https://doi.org/10.1163/15685330-bja10106.  Show MorePublished abstract: This essay concerns the vexed question of imitatio Dei in the Holiness Code (Lev 17–26) and, to a minor degree, other Holiness (H) traditions in the Pentateuch. I argue that H possesses a robust theology of imitatio Dei, but that the specific form that this imitation takes requires further clarification. Conceptually, I distinguish between the imitandum (i.e., that which is to be imitated) and the imitatio (i.e., the act of imitating). I argue that the imitandum is holiness understood as a quality proper to the deity that is irreducible to a code of conduct, but that this does not vitiate the applicability of the concept of imitatio Dei. On the level of the imitatio, I emphasize the irreducibly social nature of the imitatio, as well as its theocentric logic of justification. Within a typology of imitational structures, H represents an interesting case where both the imitandum and imitatio are heteronomously determined by the external demand of the deity and where the impulse of private, subjective moral growth plays a negligible role.

Huber, Karl, Untersuchungen über den Sprachcharakter des griechischen Leviticus, Gießen 1916. Show MoreDie „Untersuchungen“ beruhen auf folgender Septuagintaausgabe: Brooke, A.E.; McLean, N., The Old Testament in Greek, Vol. I. The Octateuch; part I: Genesis 1906; part II: Exodus and Leviticus, Cambridge 1909. Es handelt sich um sehr detaillierte philologische Analysen des griechischen Levitikustextes. Der Band wird durch ein griechisches und hebräisches Wortregister erschlossen; ein Stellenregister fehlt. Mit Schlussfolgerungen über die Arbeit und Tendenz des Übersetzers hält sich Huber sehr zurück. Manche Ergebnisse müssen gegebenenfalls an neueren textkritischen Ausgaben der Levitikus-Septuaginta (Göttinger Ausgabe, Rahlfs) verifiziert werden.

Hundley, Michael B., Sacred Spaces, Objects, Offerings, and People in the Priestly Texts: A Reappraisal: JBL 132, 2013, 749–767. Show MorePublished abstract: In the Priestly texts, holiness is understood both as an absolute and as a relative term to demarcate the hierarchy within the holy sphere. Rather than primarily redefining the term “holy,” the present work aims to determine the term’s function in describing spaces, objects, offerings, and people in the Priestly account. While there are several different levels of holiness for people, places, objects, and offerings, the Priestly writers have only two terms at their disposal, “holy” and “most holy,” which they use in a dizzying combination to situate elements hierarchically. Nonetheless, once the Priestly language is clarified, elements in the holy sphere fit into a fairly consistent hierarchy. Within this taxonomic system, people have access to spaces and objects of one level of holiness higher than they themselves possess. While accessing one degree higher is acceptable, two degrees proves fatal. The Priestly labels “holy” and “most holy” mediate access, express the privilege and unnaturalness of access, and indicate the consequences of improper contact, thereby safeguarding the divine abode from improper encroachment and humanity from the corresponding punishment.

Hundley, Michael B., Tabernacle or Tent of Meeting? The Dual Nature of the Sacred Tent in the Priestly Texts, in: Gane, Roy E.; Taggar-Cohen, Ada (ed.), Current Issues in Priestly and Related Literature. The Legacy of Jacob Milgrom and Beyond (Resources for Biblical Study 82), Atlanta 2015, 3–18.

Hundley, Michael B., Is There Magic in the Text? Ritual in the Priestly Pentateuch and Other Ancient Near Eastern Literature, in: The Journal of Hebrew Scriptures 22, 2022, 1–41. Show More Published abstract: “Magic” is a term that continues to feature in popular and scholarly circles, yet scholars continue to disagree vehemently about its definition and utility. This article uses the various definitions of magic as lenses through which to compare the ritual texts of the Priestly Pentateuch, ancient Egypt, and ancient Mesopotamia. The results offered illumine both the texts and the scholars who interpret them. Regardless of the definition employed, the biblical and other ANE ritual texts are quite similar, leading to the conclusion that magic should not be used as a dividing line between biblical Priestly and other ANE ritual texts.

Janzen, David, Sin and Expiation, in: Balentine, Samuel E. (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Ritual and Worship in the Hebrew Bible, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020, 289–301, DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190222116.013.17

Jenson, Philip Peter, Leviticus: An Introduction and Study Guide (T&T Clark Study Guides to the Old Testament), London: T&T Clark, 2021.   Show MorePublished abstract: In this guide, Philip Peter Jenson provides an introduction to Leviticus, examining its structure, character, and content. In particular, he focuses on explaining the basic concepts that inform the rituals and ethics of Leviticus. This is especially the case for the pervasive and complex category of holiness, along with its antithesis, impurity. Overall, Jenson’s emphasis is on the overarching coherence of the book and how it reached its present canonical form. – Leviticus is a difficult book for most readers, describing rituals that are no longer practiced and reflecting a culture that is vastly different from that of the modern West. Yet it is the central book of the first section of the Bible of both Jews and Christians, and it is at the heart of the law revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai. It includes the foundational texts on matters such as sacrifice or love for one’s neighbour. In this comprehensive introduction, Jenson offers extensive analysis, and concludes each chapter with reflections on the contemporary significance of the texts being discussed.


Kamionkowski, S. Tamar, Leviticus (Wisdom Commentary 3), Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 2018. Show MoreAbstract from OTA: In this contribution to a new commentary series applying feminist interpretation to each book in the Bible, K. focuses on four goals in evaluating the value and compelling messages communicated in the Book of Leviticus. Of these, the first is to pay attention to ignored, overlooked aspects of the text and ask unasked questions of the text. The second is to name the problematic and oppressive aspects of the text, while the third is to uncover the ideologies and practices that undermine assumptions about what one might expect to find in a patriarchal system. K.’s final goal is to fill in the gaps and silences and exercise “informed imagination” without reliance on patriarchal assumptions, an endeavor that includes trying to understand what messages are conveyed by the book’s description of ritual practice, not just the actions the text is prescribing.-V.H.M.

Kaplan, Jonathan, Leviticus and the Rewriting of the Torah in 1QWords of Moses (1Q22), in: Feldman, Ariel; Sandoval, Timothy J. (eds.), Torah in Early Jewish Imaginations (FAT 171), Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2023, 111–123.   Show MorePublished abstract: K. explores the ways the composition dubbed Words of Moses recasts select pericopae from the Torah, focusing on this scroll’s treatment of the book of Leviticus. Noting the prominence of the rewritten Leviticus material in the extant remains of the scroll, K. argues that the scroll is better described as a rewriting of Deuteronomy and Leviticus, rather than of Deuteronomy alone. Taking a close look at the Leviticus material in 1Q22, K. ventures a hypothesis according to which this scroll deals not only with the laws of the Sabbatical Year from Leviticus 25, but also with those pertaining to the Jubilee year as laid out in the same chapter. K. supports this claim by pointing out certain thematic links in the extant text of 1Q22 to other materials found in Leviticus 26, such as a mention of the atonement for the land. He also notes a tradition attested to in contemporary and later Jewish sources suggesting that Jubilee laws were revealed as the first commandments given to Moses at Sinai. An indirect support for this hypothesis comes from the fact that 1Q22 presents Moses’s rehearsing the laws to Israel in Deuteronomy as modeled on the Sinai revelation (adapted from editors’ introduction).

Kazen, Thomas, Purity and Persia, in: Gane, Roy E.; Taggar-Cohen, Ada (ed.), Current Issues in Priestly and Related Literature. The Legacy of Jacob Milgrom and Beyond (Resources for Biblical Study 82), Atlanta 2015, 435–462.

Kazen, Thomas, Disgust in Body, Mind, and Language. The Case of Impurity in the Hebrew Bible, in: Spencer, F. Scott (Hg.), Mixed Feelings and Vexed Passions. Exploring Emotions in Biblical Literature (Resources for Biblical Study, 90), Atlanta, GA: SBL Press, 2017, 97–115.

Kazen, Thomas, Impurity and Purification in Early Judaism and the Jesus Tradition, Atlanta, GA: SBL Press, 2021.

Kilchör, Benjamin, Mosetora und Jahwetora. Das Verhältnis von Deuteronomium 12–26 zu Exodus, Levitikus und Numeri (Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für altorientalische und biblische Rechtsgeschichte 21), Wiesbaden 2015.

Kilchör, Benjamin, Did H Influence D on an Early or a Late Stage of the Redaction of D?, in: Old Testament Essays 29, 2016, 502–512. Show MoreAbstract from OTA: Although D (the Deuteronomic Code) is generally regarded as older than H (the Holiness Code), it has often been observed that H also seems to have influenced D. While this influence of H on D has usually been viewed as having occurred in connection with a late redaction of D, K. argues, on the basis of various examples drawn from his 2015 dissertation (see OTA 39 [2016] #2190), that the influence in question took place at an early stage in the redaction of D. K.’s short paper, which was presented as the 2016 lOSOT  conference in Stellenbosch, concludes with a postscript in which he responds to some of the points raised in the discussion following his presentation. [Adapted from published abstract—C.T.B.]

Kiraz, George A.; Bali, Joseph (eds.); Moore, James D. (English translator), Leviticus (The The Syriac Peshiṭta Bible with English Translation), Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2015.

Klawans, Jonathan, Purity in the Dead Sea Scrolls, in: Collins, John J.; Lim, Timothy H. (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010, 377–402, DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199207237.003.0017 .

Kline, Moshe, Structure Is Theology. The Composition of Leviticus, in: Gane, Roy E.; Taggar-Cohen, Ada (ed.), Current Issues in Priestly and Related Literature. The Legacy of Jacob Milgrom and Beyond (Resources for Biblical Study 82), Atlanta 2015, 225–264. Show MoreAbstract from OTA: The Torah is composed of non-linear, two-dimensional units that can be viewed as tabular, or woven. The identification of these building blocks makes it possible to discern the compositional structure of Leviticus. In this essay, K. presents examples of the Units, a detailed reading of Leviticus according to its three-concentric-ring structure, and a comparison between this structure and that of Genesis. Thematically, K. suggests that the structure of Leviticus leads to an experiential reading that involves a two-step process of individualization and socialization, pivoting on a core experience of imitatio Dei. The structural context of Leviticus, within two concentric rings created by Exodus and Numbers, indicates that the three central books of the Torah were constructed as five concentric rings, these reflecting the structure of the Israelite encampment in the desert. The historical narrative in the first half of Exodus, which is resumed in Num 10:11, parallels the Israelite camp; the second half of Exodus and Num 1:1-10:10 represent the Levitical camp; and the three concentric rings of Leviticus represent the court, the sanctuary, and the inner sanctum. This structure is reinforced by the structure of the Book of Numbers, which is itself formatted to reflect the structure of the camp … The present essay, with its detailed examination of Leviticus (and of Genesis and Numbers to some extent) gives credence to the view that the Torah was composed by “one major author.” The essay also resoundingly affirms Jacob Milgrom’s affirmation that “structure is theology.” [Adapted from published abstract—C.T.B.]

Krause, Joachim J., Die Bedingungen des Bundes. Studien zur konditionalen Struktur alttestamentlicher Bundeskonzeptionen (FAT 140), Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2020. Rezension

Laffey, Alice L., Leviticus, in: Gossai, Hemchand (Hg.), Postcolonial Commentary and the Old Testament, London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2018, 27–56.  Show MoreAbstract from OTA: Many scholars consider Leviticus 19 to be the core of the book’s ethical teaching. “Justice and peace come when you love your neighbor.” The description of the Jubilee Year, in Leviticus 25 is also of great significance for postcolonial ethics. The redistribution of the land means that it is God’s land and should not be owned by colonial powers. But texts can be read as both liberating or oppressing. We cannot take for granted that Leviticus is a wholly liberating text, a text that provides a welcoming order. Lev 18:18, for example, is an oppressive text, condemning homosexuality. The birth of a female child differs from that of a male child (Lev 12:1-5), an ideological construct that supports patriarchy. This essay tries to suggest ways people whose ancestors were colonized might read Leviticus through a lens that includes skepticism and resistance, but ultimately is focused on liberation and hope —F.W.G.

Lasserre, Guy, Les sacrifices dans l’Ancien Testament (Essais bibliques 58), Genève: Labor et Fides, 2022. Show More Abstract from OTA: L. is a senior Swiss pastor and biblical scholar. His work aims to provide interested Francophone readers with a greater understanding of the “alien world” of sacrifice(s) in the OT. His presentation consists of a total of eight chapters. Of these, the first and the last have a more general character, chap. 1 being titled “definition and diversity” and chap. 8 “from the OT until today: words and practices in evolution.” The intervening six chapters, by contrast, focus on an individual OT chapter that serves to highlight one or other aspect of the OT’s sacrificial system. These are: (chap. 2) “giving everything” (Leviticus 1); (chap. 3) “a directive for each day” (Num 28:1-8); (chap. 4) “celebrate the covenant” (Exod 24:1-11); (chap. 5) “festive meals” (Deut 12:2-28); (chap. 6) “living reconciliation” (Lev 16:1-28); and chap. 7 “evolving rites” (2 Chr 35:1-19). Each of these chapters follows a common, four-part format: introductory remarks, the chapter’s line of thought, “openings” (reflections suggested by the content of the chapter), and bibliographical indications. In his final chapter, L. poses the question: What might be retained of the OT’s texts concerning sacrifice?, and organizes his response under three headings: celebrate God with one’s whole being; integrate work and the economy into one’s spirituality; and make a place for animals and plants.—C.T.B.

Lawrence, Jonathan D., Clean/Unclean, Pure/Impure, Holy/Profane, in: Balentine, Samuel E. (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Ritual and Worship in the Hebrew Bible, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020, 301–311, DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190222116.013.18 .

Luciani, Didier, Des arrangements numériques en Lévitique?, in: EThL 95, 2019, 615–627.  Show MoreAbstract from OTA: Is it possible that certain biblical texts were composed on the basis of techniques involving the counting of words and letters? L.’s note, taking the Book of Leviticus as a test case, seeks to provide a partial answer to this question with regards to the books of the Hebrew Bible. L. also proposes various methodological criteria for evaluating such a gematrical approach. [Adapted from published abstract-C.T.B.]

Luciani, Didier, La Torah d’Israël, chemin de sagesse écologique, in: Religious Studies Review 110, 2022, 461–477.  Show MoreAbstract from OTA: Biblical resources for eco-theology and more specifically for conceptualizing “ecological conversion” are not limited to the “classical” theological loci for the topic, i.e. Genesis 1–9; Job 37–38; Romans 8, etc. Rather, other less frequently cited biblical texts, particularly those found in the Torah, can be of significant assistance in addressing the ecological challenges of our time. By way of illustration of this claim, I focus on two passages in the Book of Leviticus, i.e. chaps. 23 and 25–26. [Adapted from published abstract-C.T.B.]

MacDonald, Nathan, Scribalism and Ritual Innovation, in: HeBAI 7, 2018, 415–429.  Show MorePublished abstract: The ritual texts of the Pentateuch do not always reflect actual cultic procedures of the Second Temple. Two examples are examined where this is probably the case: first, the confusion of tǝnûpâ and tǝrûmâ and, second, the blood manipulation of Exodus 24. A careful examination of these two examples can lead to a better appreciation of the historical cult of Israel and the effects of textualization of rituals.

Marwil, David J., A Soothing Savor: JBQ 42, 2014, 169-172.

Meshel, Naphtali S., The Form and Function of a Biblical Blood Ritual, in: Vetus Testamentum 63, 2013, 276–289. Show MoreThere is a consensus in current research that Levitical law never requires blood to be tossed upon the upper surface of the altar. This conception has reinforced—and has been reinforced by—an understanding that YHWH is never to be offered blood. However, it appears that according to several priestly texts, the blood of many sacrifices, including wellbeing, whole-burnt and reparation offerings, is to be tossed upon the upper surface of the altar.

Meshel, Naphtali S., The ‚Grammar‘ of Sacrifice. A Generativist Study of the Israelite Sacrificial System in the Priestly Writings With the ‚Grammar‘ of Σ, Oxford 2014.

Meshel, Naphtali S., What Is a Zoeme? The Priestly Inventory of Sacrificial Animals, in: Gane, Roy E.; Taggar-Cohen, Ada (ed.), Current Issues in Priestly and Related Literature. The Legacy of Jacob Milgrom and Beyond (Resources for Biblical Study 82), Atlanta 2015, 19–45.

Meshel, Naphtali S., The Form and Function of a Biblical Blood Ritual, in: Christian A. Eberhart/Thomas Hieke (eds.), Writing a Commentary on Leviticus: Hermeneutics–Methodology–Themes (FRLANT 276), Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019, 101-114. Show MoreMeshel investigates “The Form and Function of a Biblical Blood Ritual.” He scrutinizes the consensus in current exegetical research that Levitical law never requires blood to be tossed upon the upper surface of the altar. He posits that this conception has reinforced – and has been reinforced by – an understanding that Yhwh is never to be offered blood. He argues that, according to several priestly texts, the blood of many sacrifices, including wellbeing, whole-burnt and reparation offerings, is to be tossed upon the upper surface of the altar. Based on these observations, the claim that the ritual indicates that Yhwh, like the Israelites, refrains from the consumption of blood, is being reassessed.

Meshel, Naphtali S., Some New Questions in the Fundamental Science of P, in: Christian A. Eberhart/Thomas Hieke (eds.), Writing a Commentary on Leviticus: Hermeneutics–Methodology–Themes (FRLANT 276), Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019, 127-138. Show MoreScholarship on the Priestly system of pollution and purification tends to view the diverse sources of ritual pollution as if they were located on a one-dimensional scale, from most severe to least severe – to some extent under the influence of rabbinic literature. With the title “Some New Questions in the Fundamental Science of P,” Meshel’s contribution offers an alternative model in which each impurity comprises several factors – including duration (how long the impurity lasts), tenacity (how difficult it is to eliminate the impurity), and contagion (how easily it is transmitted from one object to another). There is not always a direct correlation between the various factors, as one type of pollution may last a long time without being highly contagious, and another may be highly contagious but of relatively short duration. This alternative, multidimensional model leads to several new questions, for example: If one becomes defiled by one type of impurity, then later by another, are the waiting periods counted as overlapping periods of time or successive periods of time (does “time served” count)? Does it matter if the impurities are of the same type (e.g., contact with two different corpses) or of different types (e.g., menstruation and contact with a corpse)? While P does not explicitly address these questions, several post-Biblical sources discuss them explicitly, suggesting that a full understanding of the Priestly ritual system entails careful consideration of these scenarios – some of which are outlandish, but others quite commonplace.

Meshel, Naphtali S., Hadar, Adiv, Jesselsohn, Yedidya, Leokumovich, Yael, Shapira, Hananel, Shareth, Omri, Snoek, Doren G., Tuliakov, Julia, and Zohar, Daniel, “Cross-Reference and ‘Borgesian’ Slippage in Leviticus 1–5,” in: Baden Joel S.; Stackert, Jeffrey (eds.), The Pentateuch and Its Readers (FAT 170), Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2023, 207–236. Show More Abstract: The authors do not address issues of grammatical style but styles of logical and chronological organization in P’s law and narration. Specifically, they identify cross-referencing as a basic feature of P’s laws on sacrifice and purity and what they term the “elephant-in-the-car effect,” namely, a slippage or confusion between the temporalities and organizing logic of a social world of cultic-legal practice beyond P’s narrative and the sequence of P’s narrative presentation itself (adapted from editors’ preface). The authors conclude: “on occasion, P is so immensely absorbed in its own narrative that the elephant-in-the-car effect allows elements of one ritual to perdure and meet those of another. P relates how the deity narrates legal scenarios to Moses, who is then to relay them to the Israelites. In the course of this narration, one seems to forget that these passages, though embedded in a narrative, do not create a narrative sequence but rather constitute discrete legal scenarios. In other words, P is so absorbed in its hybrid ‘as-if’ world of textual rituals that it seems not to notice – or, plausibly, plays at not noticing – the elephant in the room: that law is law, and narrative – narrative” (p. 235).

Metso, Sarianna, Leviticus Outside the Legal Genre, in: Mason, Eric F. (ed.), A Teacher For All Generations. Essays in Honor of James C. VanderKam (JSJ.S 153,2), Leiden: Brill, 2012, 379–388.  Show MoreAbstract from OTA: M. examines three texts to illustrate how the scribes at Qumran quote Leviticus in a manner that transposed legal texts into an apocalyptic horizon that served to enhance the dualistic contrasts between the respective destinies of the righteous and the wicked. (l) In quoting Lev 18:5, the Damascus Document accentuates the eschatological thrust of the verse by use of life-and-death language, while also extending the scope of offensive behaviors beyond those pertaining to sexual ethics (CD 3:12-20). (2) The Damascus Document also quotes Lev 20:27 in declaring that apostates merit the penalty of death by stoning, which applies only to mediums and necromancers in the biblical text itself (CD 12:2-3). The apostasy in question may have consisted in embracing the Hellenizing initiatives of Jason the high priest (2 Macc 4:13-I7). (3) In 11QMelchizedek, quotations of Isa 61:1; Deut 15:2; and Lev 25:9 are related to the proclamation of the Jubilee, which is dramatically refashioned in the Scrolls’ texts via its portrayal of Melchizedek, the transcendent high priest, definitively freeing the righteous from the tyranny of Belial on the final Day of Atonement.—M.W.D.

Meyer, Esias E., Sacrifices in Chronicles: How Priestly Are They?, in: Jeon, Jaeyoung; Jonker, Louis C. (Hg.), Chronicles and the Priestly Literature of the Hebrew Bible (BZAW 528), Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter, 2021, 173–195. Show More Abstract from OTA: In his essay, M. examines the language of purity and cleansing, specifically the terms ṭhr and ṭm’ (both in the piel) in connection with the sin offering and reparation offering featured in the Chronicler’s account of the temple cleansings by Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 29) and Josiah (2 Chronicles 34). Compared with the usage of the above terms in Leviticus, M. observes that their usage by the Chronicler in the two texts of Chronicles is not so clear about the kind of “impurity” at stake and thus appears imprecise and inadequate from the perspective of Leviticus. He concludes that, while there may be some overlap in the notions of purity and cleansing in Leviticus and Chronicles, there are also some significant differences between them with regard to these notions. [Adapted from editors’ introduction, p. 6—C.T.B.]

Miller, William T., A Compact Study of Leviticus, Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2016. Show MoreAbstract from OTA: Leviticus is probably not the first book that comes to mind for purposes of adult Bible study. M.’s handbook provides a guide for those who, nonetheless, might venture to investigate the book in systematic fashion in company with other interested persons. His volume begins with a general introduction to Leviticus (in which M. notes that his own primary scholarly resource throughout is the three-volume AB commentary of Jacob Milgrom) and instructions for study groups. Thereafter, M. proceeds to divide Leviticus up into 22 sections, for each of which he provides an outline, summary verse-by-verse comments, study questions designed to elicit understanding of and reflection on the various features of Leviticus‘ often obscure provisions and a summary conclusion concerning the segment. The volume concludes with a final overview, in which M. seeks to synthesize Leviticus‘ message about God, his people, and their relationship; an answer key to the preceding questions; and a brief bibliography. This volume complements M.’s previous similar treatments of Genesis (2006); Exodus (2009); and Numbers (2013).—C.T.B.

Müller, Reinhard, The Sanctifying Divine Voice. The אני יהוה-Formular in the Holiness Code, in: Landy, Francis; Trevaskis, Leigh M.; Bibb, Bryan D. (Hg.), Text, Time, and Temple. Literary, Historical and Ritual Studies in Leviticus (Hebrew Bible Monographs 64), Sheffield 2015, 70–84. Show MoreAbstract from OTA: M.’s essay explores the question of how Yhwh “speaks” to the people in the Holi­ness Code (H). He begins with the problem that Yhwh’s voice is not physically audible. So how do the people in fact hear that voice? Through an interior dialogue? A mediator? In either of these ways, the validity of divine communication would be fragile. As it is, however, the voice of Yhwh is mediated through the scriptural text and given voice in com­munal reading. M. argues that, in H, the repetition of the ʾni yhwh formula serves the rhe­torical function of sanctifying the people through the voice of the priests who read the text. In making his case, M. examines variations on the phrase and their distribution throughout H, and draws on ANE parallels in suggesting that the voicing of the formula makes Yhwh present in the midst of the people through—although distinct from—the voice of the priest. In fact, the repetition of the formula is a constant reminder that the speaker has no importance relative to the divine voice, an affirmation one finds in prophetic texts as well. M. goes on to suggest that this rhetorical purpose presumes a liturgical setting for oral delivery for H, a setting that would have been particularly important in local settings far from the divine presence residing in the central sanctuary. By addressing the people directly through the priests, Yhwh communicates the commandments by means of which the people are to sanctify themselves, and by which Yhwh will himself be sanctified in reciprocal fashion. The special place of the priests in this communicative process explains the requirement for their own sanctification in the midst of the community. [Adapted from published abstract— C.T.B.]

Niditch, Susan, Good Blood, Bad Blood: Multivocality, Metonymy, and Mediation in Zechariah 9: VT 61, 2011, 629–645. Show MorePublished abstract: A number of scholars have pointed to the ways in which Zechariah 9 convincingly functions as a literary and conceptual whole. Approaching Zechariah 9 as a unity, however, raises important questions concerning a recurring motif in the chapter that has especially deep cultural connotations: blood.Blood is forbidden as food and unclean-rendering in Zech 9:7, blood is intimately involved in the covenantal relationship between Yahweh and Israel in 9:11 and it is part of the Israelites’ post-victory feast in several important Septuagintal traditions in 9:15. A study of the blood motif in Zechariah 9 through the lenses of a variety of anthropological and literary approaches reveals the ways in which blood operates as a symbolically rich, multivalent motif not only in this chapter but in the larger Israelite tradition.

Nihan, Christophe, The Priestly Laws of Numbers, the Holiness Legislation, and the Pentateuch, in: Frevel, Christian; Pola, Thomas; Schart, Aaron (Hg.), Torah and the Book of Numbers (FAT 2.62), Tübingen 2013, 109–137 (see OTA 37, 2014, 581–582 [no. 1936]).

Nihan, Christophe, Das Buch Levitikus. Entstehung und sozial-historische Bedeutung: BiKi 69, 2014, 64–68. Show MoreAbstract: N. sketches a proposal for the history of origin of the Book of Leviticus. The central position of Leviticus within the Torah can be explained by its history of composition. Leviticus 1-16 marks the culmination of Priestly Narrative insofar as the presence of God within the cult is restituted. This concept corresponds to Israel’s new self-understanding as a community of the temple that replaces the king as patron of the cult. In the course of the emerging Pentateuch, Leviticus 17-26 continues the temple-oriented cosmic restitution of God’s presence within Israel: The cultic category of “holiness” becomes the basic concept of Israel’s entire existence.

Nihan, Christophe, Das Sabbatgesetz Exodus 31,12-17, die Priesterschrift und das Heiligkeitsgesetz. Eine Auseinandersetzung mit neueren Interpretationen, in: Achenbach, Reinhard; Ebach, Ruth; Wöhrle, Jakob (Hg.), Wege der Freiheit. Zur Entstehung und Theologie des Exodusbuches. Beiträge eines Symposions zum 70. Geburtstag von Rainer Albertz (AThANT 104), Zürich 2014, 131–149. Show MoreSchlussfolgerung (S. 146): „In Ex 31,12–17 liegt eine nachpriesterschriftliche Komposition vor, die vor allem auf dem Hintergrund von Lev 17–26 zu verstehen ist, zugleich aber nicht auf einer Linie mit dem HG [Heiligkeitsgesetz] steht. Die Bedeutung dieser Einheit liegt in der Ergänzung des am Exodus orientierten Korrespondenzverhaltens Israels in Lev 17–26 um ein an der Schöpfung orientiertes Korrespondenzverhalten, bei welchem der Sabbat jetzt als privilegiertes Heiligungsmedium neben dem Tempel hervorgehoben wird, so dass beide Institutionen (Sabbat und Tempel) sich ergänzen und zusammen die beiden «Pole» der Sakralität für die nachexilischen israelitischen Gemeinden definieren. Die Komposition ist weder einer «Pentateuchredaktion» noch einer «Heiligkeitsredaktion» zuzuordnen, sondern geht auf eine spätere, das HG zugleich weiterführende und revidierende Bearbeitung des Pentateuch zurück, die priesterlichen Kreisen der spätachämenidischen Zeit in Judäa und Samaria entstammt.“

Nihan, Christophe, The Templization of Israel in Levitcus. Some Remarks on Blood Disposal and Kipper in Leviticus 4, in: Landy, Francis; Trevaskis, Leigh M.; Bibb, Bryan D. (Hg.), Text, Time, and Temple. Literary, Historical and Ritual Studies in Leviticus (Hebrew Bible Monographs, 64), Sheffield 2015, 94–130. Show MoreAbstract from OTA: N. offers a detailed study of the connection between blood disposal and the functioning of the kipper ritual for inadvertent sin in Leviticus 4. He evaluates the major theories that have attempted to explain the purpose of the blood ritual, concluding that these are based on inferences prompted by gaps in the text and are dependent on unprovable parallels with other texts and ancient practices. Thus, e.g., N. discusses J. Milgrom’s theory that Leviticus 4 and 16 are companion rituals for the cleansing of sancta from impurity by inadvertent sins (chap. 4) and other offenses (chap. 16). However, for N., there is no evidence that the blood ritual must be consistent across P texts, such that Milgrom’s theory requires him to make several questionable harmonizing moves. N. further rejects Milgrom’s proposal that the function of the ḥṭʾt in Leviticus 4 is to purify the sanctuary rather than the offerer. He then considers several additional proposals inspired by Milgrom’s work, in particular the idea that the ḥṭʾt in Leviticus 4 has two functions, i.e., the purification of the altar as well as the worshiper. In the end, N. argues that what is needed is an interpretation of the blood rite in the kipper ritual that does not require a coherent, uniform meaning for the blood or its use. His own proposal is that the blood ritual of the ḥṭʾt functions to „index“ the „templization“ of the group identified as „Israel“ in the text. An „index,“ as distinct from a „symbol,“ is based not on social convention but rather on an existential connection with the object to which it refers. The manner in which the blood is handled is what sets the ḥṭʾt apart from other sacrifices, and the application of the blood to the sancta creates a de facto connection between the offerer and the inaccessible deity, and thus „indexes“ the role played by the sanctuary in the community. In addition, the blood ritual demarcates the basic ritual, social, political and legal-ethical hierarchies within „Israel.“ Thereby, the ḥṭʾt ritual becomes the site in which Israel establishes a relationship with its deity and also creates a coherent whole out of its component parts. [Adapted from published abstract—C.T.B.]

Nihan, Christophe, Supplementing Leviticus in the Second Temple Period. The Case of the Wood Offering in 4Q365 Fragment 23, in: Olyan, Saul M.; Wright, Jacob L. (Hg.), Supplementation and the Study of the Hebrew Bible (Brown Judaic Studies 361), Providence: Brown Judaic Studies, 2018, 183–204.Show MoreAbstract (excerpts from pp. 202-204): In short, attempts to identify a reference to the law of 4Q365 23 in Neh 10 or, alternatively, to derive 4Q365 23 from Neh 10, are problematic and unconvincing. While both texts refer to a Mosaic law concerning the offering of wood to the temple, they do not appear to be directly related. This point is consistent, in particular, with the absence of any significant connection between these texts. If this reconstruction of the evidence is correct, Neh 10:35 arguably represents the earliest known witness to an expansionist version of the Pentateuch that included provisions for the wood offering. 4Q365 23, for its part, appears to represent a separate version of this same legal tradition, which was not (yet) known to the author of Neh 10:31-40. Furthermore, the connections noted above between the wood offering in 4Q365 and in the Temple Scroll suggest that the version of the law of the wood offering known to the author of Temple Scroll was similar to (albeit not identical with) the one preserved in 4Q365. lt is difficult to be more precise about the origins of the legal tradition underlying the wood offering in the Second Temple period, not the least because we cannot know with certainty when Neh 10:35 was composed. As various scholars have argued, the unit comprising Neh 10:31-40 is unlikely to have been part of Nehemiah’s memoir; more likely, it represents a later supplement to the Nehemiah tradition, possibly from the late Persian or early Hellenistic period (fourth or third century BCE).60 This date, according to the reconstruction proposed here, would then represent the tenninus ad quem for the creation of an expansionist Version of Leviticus in which the ritual legislation of this book was supplemented with an instruction for the offering of wood. As for 4Q365, the manuscript itself can be dated to the mid-first century BC E.61 However, the parallels between 4Q365 23 and the Temple Scroll suggest that this version of the law of the wood offering may actually go back to the second century BCE, if not somewhat earlier. … Contrary to other supplements in the Reworked Pentateuch manuscripts, the law of the wood offering in 4Q365 23 cannot be explained merely as an inner-scriptural development. More likely, this supplement reflects the growing importance of the wood offering during the Second Temple period, which is independently documented by other contemporaneous sources. lt is clear from the law’s content that it does not purport to describe or prescribe an actual practice; this is suggested, in particular, by the reference in lines 9-11 of the fragment to the Israelite tribes bringing their offering of wood to the temple. Rather, the instruction for the wood offering in 4Q365 is a legal fiction, seeking to provide a scriptural basis for an offering that was deemed important enough by some scribes to be appended to the festal legislation of Leviticus. … Nevertheless, … this scribal development is intriguing, as it challenges some of our current assumptions regarding the textual stability achieved by this book during the Second Temple period. In effect, 4Q365 23 points to the existence of an expansionist version of Leviticus that included provisions for the wood offering-and presumably for other festivals as well, especially the festival of new oil, and was circulated alongside the main copies of the book until the first century BCE (the date of the manuscript of 4Q365). The parallels between the wood offering in 4Q365 and in the Temple Scroll suggest that this supplement was part of a broader legal tradition that gradually developed during the Second Temple period and may be reflected for the first time in a late addition to the book of Nehemiah (Neh 10:35). At any rate, 4Q365 23 documents the fact that even relatively stable scriptures such as Leviticus were susceptible of being revised and amplified during most of the Second Temple period in order to reflect new legal and ritual traditions such as the wood offering. … Second, the case of the wood offering in 4Q365 is significant also for the way in which it sheds light on the scribal techniques used in the composition of a legal supplement such as this. While the wood offering in 4Q365 23 is a new topic, the language used in this fragment to describe this offering is not. Specifically, the examination of this material shows that the law of the wood offering draws on several scriptural traditions, arguably more so than has been previously acknowledged. The introduction to the law (lines 4-5) takes up Lev 24:1-2a and combines it with various passages from Lev 23-25 (23:10 and 25:2, 18-19) as well as with Deut 26:1. The references to Lev 23-25 suggest a concern to highlight the continuity between the law of the wood offering and its scriptural context (the festal legislation of Leviticus), whereas the conflation of Lev 23:10 and 25:2 with Deut 26:1 arguably reflects a broader scribal trend in the pre-Samaritan versions of the Pentateuch to align Leviticus and Numbers with Deuteronomy wherever possible. The description of the law itself, from line 5 onward, also presents some substantial parallels with other passages of the Pentateuch, such as Exod 35-40 and Num 7. For ancient readers, the presence of such scriptural parallels would have significantly facilitated the recognition of the wood offering as a Mosaic law. In addition, as we have seen, the selection of scriptural materials in the composition of 4Q365 23 simultaneously points to significant associations between the wood offering and other key offerings in the Torah, especially the firstfruits (Lev 23:10 and Deut 26:1), the community’s contribution to the building of the tabernacle (Exod 35-40), and the offerings for the dedication of the tabernacle (Num 7). These remarks suggest that the scriptural phraseology used in the composition of this legal supplement serves a twofold function: it authorizes the introduction of a new offering in the Torah, while simultaneously positioning this material within the Mosaic traditions about the Israelite cult.

Nihan, Christophe, Narrative and Exegesis in Leviticus. On Lv 10 and 24,10-23, in: Bührer, Walter (Hg.), Schriftgelehrte Fortschreibungs- und Auslegungsprozesse. Textarbeit im Pentateuch, in Qumran, Ägypten und Mesopotamien (FAT II/108), Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2019, 207–242.    Show MoreAbstract from OTA: In this contribution, N. investigates two passages in the Book of Leviticus that are clearly distinguished by their fully narrative formulation from the rest of the material making up the book. In both instances, a situation is related in which, in response to a ritual misdeed (the incense offering that has not been commanded in Leviticus 10 and the profanation of the divine name in Leviticus 24), already existing laws are creatively transformed. Narrative exegesis and legislative exegesis go hand in hand in these two cases. Lev 24:10-23 utilizes several passages of the Book of the Covenant by means of “lemmatic transformation” in order, ultimately, to reinterpret the qualitative prescriptions regarding talion in Exod 21:22-25 in a quantitative sense wherein the “eye for an eye” principle is to be understood literally. Leviticus 10, for its part, uses the ritual legislation of the Book of Leviticus (as well as Exod 44:10-31) in order, ultimately, to emphasize the primacy of the priestly exegesis of the law vis-à-vis (the silent) Moses. Their specific narrative form of legislative exegesis as well as the texts to which they refer show both passages to be late components in the formation-history of the Book of Leviticus, which, in addition to their clearly scribal reference to existing texts, are clearly motivated by considerations external to the text. “… the narrative exegesis reflected in Leviticus 10 and 24:10-23 appears to be informed by a distinctly priestly outlook. Leviticus 10 establishes the Aaronite priests as the main authorized interpreters of the Law, while Lev 24:10-23 redefines, or reclassifies, lethal and non-lethal injuries as forms of sacrilege, thereby subsuming criminal matters under the authority of the temple and the prerogatives of the priests” (p. 239). [Translated and adapted from published abstract-C.T.B.]

Nihan, Christophe; Rhyder, Julia (eds.), Text and Ritual in the Pentateuch. A Systematic and Comparative Approach, University Park, PA: Eisenbrauns, 2021.

Noonan, Benjamin J., On the Efficacy of the Atoning Sacrifices: A Biblical Theology of Sacrifice from Leviticus, in: BBR 31, 2021, 285–318.Show MorePublished abstract: The topic of the atoning sacrifices’s efficacy has received insufficient treatment in scholarship. Interpreters only sporadically treat this topic, and when they discuss it all, their presentations are far from systematic and largely based on portions of the Bible other than Leviticus. This article remedies this unfortunate gap by examining the efficacy of the atoning sacrifices–the purification (ḥaṭṭāʾt) and reparation (ʾāšām) offerings–from the perspective of the Pentateuch, focusing especially on the book of Leviticus. It shows that the atoning sacrifices effect atonement and remove sin and cultic impurity for all nondefiant, but not defiant, offenses. It demonstrates, furthermore, that the atoning sacrifices ultimately find their efficacy in God but do not work ex opere operato in that the book of Leviticus presumes the offerer’s sincerity and penitence. Thus, the atoning sacrifices can be described sacramentally: they function as external rituals by which God seals a promised efficacy regarding atonement, forgiveness, and cleansing.

Olyan, Saul M., Defects, Holiness, and Pollution in Biblical Cultic Texts, in: Baden, Joel S.; Najman, Hindy; Tigchelaar, Eibert J.C. (Hg.), Sibyls, Scriptures, and Scrolls. John Collins at Seventy (Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism, 175), Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2017, 1018–1028. Show MoreAbstract from OTA: Defects have a complex relationship to profanation of holiness and pollution, a relationship that varies by source, and one should thus avoid easy generalization of the relationship of defects to the cult as represented in biblical texts. Thus, while Malachi 1 and the Temple Scroll construct defects as polluting, the Holiness Code, Deuteronomy, and Isaiah 56 do not. The priest, e.g., with a defect may continue to stay in the sanctuary and eat holy and most holy foods (Lev 21:22); the defective sacrificial animal with limbs of uneven length may be sacrificed as a free-will offering (Lev 22:23); the defective firstling is classed with clean game animals rather than unclean animals and may be eaten in a manner similar to game (Deut 15:22-23); the eunuch of Isa 56:3-5 is welcome in Yhwh’s temple. Conversely, a defective animal is called an “abomination of Yhwh” in Deut 17:1, suggesting that it was unacceptable under all circumstances, not unlike the unclean animal, which is an “abomination” and not to be eaten according to Deut 14:3.

Otto, Eckart, Priesterschrift und Deuteronomium im Buch Levitikus. Zur Integration des Deuteronomiums in den Pentateuch, in: Hartenstein, Friedhelm; Schmid, Konrad (Hg.), Abschied von der Priesterschrift? Zum Stand der Pentateuchdebatte, Leipzig 2015, 161–185. (englische Übersetzung s. nächster Eintrag)

Otto, Eckart, The Priestly Writing and Deuteronomy in the Book of Leviticus: On the Integration of Deuteronomy in the Pentateuch, in: Hartenstein, Friedhelm; Schmid, Konrad (eds.), Farewell to the Priestly Writing? The Current State of the Debate (Ancient Israel and Its Literature, 38), Atlanta, GA: SBL Press, 2022, 165–192.Show MoreReview by Reinhard Achenbach (in: Review of Biblical Literature 04/2023): Eckart Otto’s “The Priestly Writing and Deuteronomy in the Book of Leviticus: On the Integration of Deuteronomy in the Pentateuch” (165–92) broadens the perspective of scholarly discussion beyond the German horizon, when he refers to works of B. M. Levinson, J. Stackert, J. Baden, F. Garçía López, I. Knohl, and others. In his contribution he investigates the Fortschreibung of the Priestly writing in the book of Leviticus and its receptions in the postexilic Fortschreibung of Deuteronomy. The core of the Priestly Grundschrift (PG), according to his analysis, ends in Exod 24:15b–18; 25:8–9; 26:1–27:19*; 28:1–29:46*. It “narrates the history of the constitution of Israel from the creation of the world to the promise of the establishment of the sanctuary for the indwelling of God among the Israelites and the service of the Aaronides in this sanctuary” (170). It was extended in two blocks in the postexilic era, PS (= P supplements) in Exod 30–31; 35–40*; Lev 8–9*. The introduction of the Holiness Code in Lev 17–26 presupposes PG as well as the postexilic Deuteronomistic Deuteronomy. It is a revision of the Covenant Code as well as of Deuteronomy (cf., e.g., Lev 17 and Deut 12; Lev 19 and Deut 5; Exod 20; Lev 23 and Deut 16; Lev 25 and  the social legislation of Deuteronomy; Lev 26 and Deut 28); this stage has a formative function for the redaction of the Pentateuch. The chapters Lev 10*.(11–15).16 and 1–4.(5–7) presuppose the “post-Priestly Holiness Code” and are considered the result of “postpentateuchal redaction” (“theocratic redaction”) in the book of Leviticus. In Deut 10:12–11:32 can be found references to the Holiness Code (cf., e.g., Lev 19:33–34 and Deut 10:18–19; Lev 26:3–4 and Deut 11:13–15), “in order to mark the connection to Lev 26 and therefore to identify Moses as a scribal interpreter of the Sinai torah” (182). Moses’s speeches are given the character of prophecies (see Deut 4:23–31; 29:21–28; 30:1–10); the texts correspond to scribal discourses in the postexilic prophetic tradition (see Ezek 36:24–28; Jer 31:31–34). Deuteronomy 32 is “a collage of allusions and citations from the books of the Prophets, the Psalms, and Wisdom literature” (191).


Pakala, James C., A Librarian’s Comments on Commentaries 36 (Leviticus and Also Some Problems for Commentaries): Presbyterion 40, 2014, 47–52. Show MorePublished abstract: P. briefly surveys and evaluates six, English-language commentaries on the Book of Leviticus of the last 35+ years. In each instance, he devotes particular attention to how the given commentator deals with two long-standing problems posed by the book, i.e., the rationale for the requirement that the purification process for the mother of a female infant be twice as long as that for a male (see Lev 12:5) and the meaning of the term “Azazel” in Leviticus 16.

Paximadi, Giorgio, Levitico. Introduzione, traduzione e commento, Cinisello Balsamo: San Paolo Edizioni, 2017.

Paximadi, Giorgio, Entre variantes et interprétations. Corruption textuelle ou exégèse dans le texte de la Septante du Lévitique?, in: Himbaza, Innocent (ed.), The Text of Leviticus. Proceedings of the Third International Colloquium of the Dominique Barthélemy Institute, held in Fribourg (October 2015) (OBO 292), Leuven: Peeters, 2020, 133–148.

Paximadi, Giorgio, Levitico. Traduzione e commentario in sinossi des Testo Massoretico e della Septuaginta (ISCAB Serie filologia 1), Lugano; Siena: Eupress FTL – Edizioni Cantagalli, 2022.  Show MorePublished abstract (translated): The book of Leviticus is the literary and theological center of the Pentateuch. The author presents in this work a new Italian translation from the Hebrew (Massoretic text) and Greek (Septuagint). The Italian translation follows the original Hebrew and Greek text. The text is accompanied by explanatory notes and a commentary by the author.

Paximadi, Giorgio, Hexaplaric Readings or Assimilations with a Hebrew Text in Göttingen’s Edition of Leviticus, in: Textus 32, 2023, 107–128. DOI: 10.1163/2589255X-bja10036.  Show MorePublished abstract: The article takes into consideration a certain number of readings contained in the Göttingen critical edition of the book of Leviticus published by J.W. Wevers in 1986. Whilst maintaining the importance of this edition, it is possible to note that in numerous points the readings chosen seem to be the most harmonized with the Hebrew text, thereby risking the loss of some particular characteristics of the LXX text that may contain interpretative elements of a theological or legislative nature. In this contribution I shall review some examples that seem significant to me in which, with differing degrees of certainty, we might suspect that such a harmonizing tendency has influenced the readings chosen by Wevers, even in some cases including the tendency to introduce Hexaplaric readings.

Quick, Laura; Ramos, Melissa D. (eds.), New Perspectives on Ritual in the Biblical World (LHB/OTS 702), London: T&T Clark, 2022.  Show MorePublished Abstract: This volume presents a range of methodologically innovative treatments on ritual action in the Hebrew Bible. They treat a diverse range of ritual phenomena, including space, blessings and oath-taking, from the world of ancient Israel and Judah. – The introduction engages with the dominant scholarly models drawn from ritual theory, and the volume explores their applicability to ancient textual material such as the Hebrew Bible. The chapters reflect high-level specialized engagement with specific ritual phenomena through the lens of appropriate theoretical and methodological approaches. – Contributors: Ekaterina E. Kozlova, Cat Quine, Nicole Ruane, Laura Quick, Isabel Cranz, Kerry Sonia, Lindsay Askin, Timothy Hogue, Alice Mandell, Liane Feldman, Nathan MacDonald, Melissa Ramos, Jeremy Smoak.

Rhyder, Julia, Holiness Language in II Kings 23? A Note on a Recent Proposal: ZAW 127, 2015, 497–501.

Rhyder, Julia, Space and Memory in the Book of Leviticus, in: Keady, Jessica M.; Klutz, Todd E.; Strine, Casey A. (Hg.), Scripture as Social Discourse. Social-Scientific Perspectives on Early Jewish and Christian Writings, New York: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2018, 83–96.   Show MoreAbstract from OTA: The initial supposition of R.’s essay is the increasingly accepted distinction in scholarship on the Book of Leviticus between ritual text and ritual praxis. Recent scholarship based on that distinction is, however, evaluated by R. as evidencing inadequate awareness of important differences between „actual“ or empirical spaces on the one hand, and cultic spaces located in a mythic and thus distant past such as that described in Leviticus on the other. Even the best of recent scholarly treatments of social and ritual space in Leviticus, R. argues, presuppose that the conceptualization of space in the text of Leviticus directly mirrors either existing or desired cultic space. Against this background, R. suggests that in order to provide a better account of the role of Leviticus in constructing a socially relevant memory of Israel’s cultic past, a methodology is required that integrates a blend of social-scientific studies of memory and interdisciplinary research on ritual space; for that purpose, recent anthropological and other appropriations of philosopher Henri Lefebvre’s model of space as the product of an interaction among physical, mental, and symbolic fields is used by R. to analyze space in Leviticus as not merely a matter of spaces as places, i.e., as relatively stable or even static phenomena, but more subtly as dynamic environments in, around, and through which participants in ritual events move with a rich variety of meanings. Of the various noteworthy results produced by R.’s application of her methodological synthesis, the three most illuminating might be (1) her reading of Leviticus 16, the Yom Kippur text, as designed to help nonpriestly Israelites to imagine the processes of movement in all the spaces required for the ritual; (2) her proposal that the many differences between the wilderness referential context in Leviticus and a Jerusalemite context of its early textual reception would have required any practice of ritual imitation to be imaginative and contextually adapted; (3) and finally, her interpretation of the absence of reference to either a king or royal patronage for the cult in Leviticus is indicative of an authorial interest in constructing a paradigmatic memory for a people living under foreign rule in which all that is needed for their meaningful participation in the cult are priests, the law, and the people themselves. [Adapted from published abstract – C.T. B.]

Rhyder, Julia, Sabbath and Sanctuary Cult in the Holiness Legislation: A Reassessment, in: Journal of Biblical Literature 138, 2019, 721–740.  Show MorePublished abstract: This article examines the innovative focus on Sabbath observance that characterizes the Holiness legislation (H). By comparing H’s conception of the Sabbath with what is known about this sacred time from other biblical and extrabiblical sources, I demonstrate that H creatively blends two aspects of the Sabbath that were not always connected: (1) the idea, already present in the Decalogue and Gen 2:2–3, that the Sabbath is a time of cessation held every seventh day; and (2) the more traditional associations of the Sabbath with sacrificial rites at the shrine. I conclude by assessing the implications of H’s dual requirements of Sabbath observance—that is, both the cessation of labor and the accompanying sanctuary rituals—for contextualizing the H materials in the history of ancient Israel. I suggest that the prominence of the Sabbath in Lev 17–26 may not reflect H’s origins in the “templeless” situation of the Babylonian exile, as is often argued. H’s distinctive concept of the Sabbath may rather reflect a Persian-period context, when collective obligations to the cult were renegotiated to ensure the success of the Second Temple.

Rhyder, Julia, Centralizing the Cult. The Holiness Legislation in Lev 17–26 (FAT 134), Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2019.  Published abstractPublished abstract: Julia Rhyder untersucht in dieser Arbeit das Heiligkeitsgesetz (Lev 17–26) und die Frage nach der Kultzentralisation in der Perserzeit. Sie zeigt, dass Lev 17–26 die Vorstellung der Kultzentralisation nicht als etablierte Norm voraussetzt, sondern ein eigenständiges Verständnis von einem Zentralheiligtum, standardisierten Ritualen und einem hegemonialen Priestertum entwickelt.Abstract from OTAAbstract from OTA: In this work, a revision of her 2018 Lausanne dissertation directed by Christophe Nihan, R. provides new insights into the relationship between the Holiness legislation in Leviticus 17-26 and the processes of cultic centralization in the Persian period. In her work, R. proposes an alternative to the classical theory that Leviticus 17-26 merely presumes, with minor modifications, the conception of cultic centralization articulated in the Book of Deuteronomy. In particular, she makes the case that Leviticus 17-26 uses ritual legislation to make a new and distinctive case as to why the Israelites must adhere to a central sanctuary, standardized ritual processes, and a hegemonic priesthood. These chapters’ centralization discourse reflects the historical challenges that faced priests in Jerusalem during the Persian era, specifically the need to compensate for the loss of a royal sponsor, to pool communal resources in order to meet socioeconomic pressures, and to find new ways of negotiating with the sanctuary on Mount Gerizim and a growing Jewish diaspora. [Adapted from published abstract] — Following an introduction that lays out key concepts for the study that follows, R.’s chap. 2 examines the current state of research on the Holiness Code (H) … Chap. 3 goes on to review current scholarly research on the importance of the Persian period in the negotiation of cultic centralization, the relationship between the central sanctuaries at Jerusalem and on Mount Gerizim, and the evidence for continued cultic diversity, both within Yehud and Samaria and in the diaspora … — Chap. 4 contextualizes R.’s following study of H by considering the question of centralization in P … The core of her study comprises chaps. 5, 6, 7, each of which considers one aspect of H’s discourse of centralization. Chap. 5 offers a close reading of the laws of Leviticus 17 dealing with the proper disposal of blood. … Chap. 6 discusses the contribution to H’s centralization discourse made by its calendar in Leviticus 23 and its laws regarding regular rites at the shrine in Lev 24:1-9. … Chap. 7 broadens the scope to address the significance of the concept of holiness for H’s centralizing discourse. Unlike P, which restricts holiness to the sanctuary, its paraphernalia, and priesthood, H extends holiness to the community as a whole, and even to its activities outside the sanctuary precinct. The chapter argues that this extension reflects H’s attempt to align everyday practice with central norms associated with the sanctuary. It thus explores how holiness reinforces a hegemonic discourse of centralization aimed at normalizing the reach of the temple into extra-sanctuary domains through the aid of the law, and soliciting the Israelites’ conformity with the law, not just through coercion, but also through consent. This chapter also explores how H’s interest in the sabbath and the Israelites’ life on the land furthers this attempt to construct all activities—in social, agricultural, and economic domains—as integral to the Israelites’ shared obligations to defer to central sanctuary authorities. It concludes by assessing how this program might have bolstered the claims of temple authorities to economic centrality in the Persian period in light of their demands, not only for ongoing material support in the form of offerings and donations, but also for recognition as authoritative in the agricultural and socioeconomic domains. [Adapted from outline of the study, pp. 22-24—C.T.B.]

Röhrig, Meike J., Innerbiblische Auslegung und priesterliche Fortschreibung in Lev 8–10, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2021.

Rogan, Wil, Purity in Early Judaism. Current Issues and Questions, in: Currents in Biblical Research 16, 2018, 309–339.   Show MorePublished abstract: The study of purity has become a crucial undertaking in the scholarly quest to understand the social and theological dimensions of early Judaism and the texts that early Jews both formed and were formed by. This article surveys scholarly literature on purity in ancient and early Judaism, in order to identify and address four areas of critical inquiry that ought to be taken into consideration when questions about purity arise in the study of early Jewish writings: (l) the conceptualization of purity as a symbolic system; (2) the distinction between kinds of purity (ritual, moral, and genealogical); (3) the relation of purity to the temple and, more broadly, to space; and (4) the function of purity to construct and maintain social identity. Attention to these critical issues premises to give clarity, direction and depth to scholarship on purity in early Judaism.

Rogerson, John W. (ed.), Leviticus in Practice, Dorset: Deo Publishing, 2014 (not available in Germany).

Rooke, Deborah W., Leviticus from a Gendered Perspective: Making and Maintaining Priests, in: Spronk, Klaas; Barstad, Hans (Hg.), Torah and Tradition. Papers Read at the Sixteenth Joint Meeting of the Society for Old Testament Study and the Oudtestamentisch Werkgezelschap, Edinburgh, 2015 (Oudtestamentische Studiën, 70), Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2017, 201–222. Show MoreAbstract from OTA 40, 2017, #1649: R. makes the opening observation that in both the making and maintaining of cult and priesthood in the Book of Leviticus, there is a clear masculine gender bias. In the book’s overwhelmingly androcentric conception, women provide some of the raw materials for the cultic apparatus and are required for purposes of reproducing the priestly line. But they are excluded from the sphere of the holy and any holiness that they may appear to have as a result of either birth from or marriage to a priest disappears when their connection or proximity to the priest either ends or is superseded. Indeed far being holy, women can threaten priestly holiness, specifically by virtue of their sexuality, as is evidenced by the book’s restrictions on priests’ marriage partners, the severe punishment of a priest’s daughter who becomes a prostitute, and the ban on priests’ mourning—alone among their close relatives—their wives and married sisters. Priests who fail to observe these restrictions risk profaning themselves and/or their offspring, thereby losing their priestly status. At the same time, the cult as envisaged in Exodus and Leviticus could not exist without women. R. accordingly concludes that the nature of cultic holiness in the material studied by her is clear—it is constructed, performative, and provisional, as are the notions of gender that underlie it.

Rooke, Deborah W., Sin, Sacrifice, but No Salvation, in: Botner, Max; Duff, Justin Harrison; Dürr, Simon (Hg.), Atonement. Jewish and Christian Origins, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2020, 21–39.  Show MoreAbstract from OTA: R.’s essay surveys instances in P where atonement becomes impossible, resulting in the offender’s being “cutoff” from the community. While there has been much debate about the nature of the so-called karet penalty, R. argues that the rhetorical function of the formula itself was equally significant to the tradents of P in order to “inculcate the values of the Priestly legislators into the minds of the community for whom they were writing.” Subtle distinctions in the ways in which the karet penalty is articulated in P may evince a concern to order hierarchically even the most heinous offenses. [Adapted from published abstract] There is more to understanding the karet penalty … than working out what karet represents. The overall point of the penalty is that to benefit from the Priestly system of holiness and sacrifice one must be part of it and abide by its values, and there are certain actions that put perpetrators outside of the system and therefore render them ineligible for its benefits. But in the wording of the penalty there is a sense of the level at which the offense operates—in other words, just how serious an offense it is—and equally significant, an attempt to inculcate the values of the Priestly legislators into the minds of the community for whom they were writing. Indeed, these penalties that indicate what is beyond the bounds of permissibility in the hierarchically structured holy society constructed by P are essential to maintaining its stability. … [Adapted from author’s conclusion, p. 39 – C.T.B.]

Roth-Mouthon, Mary-Gabrielle, Le Lévitique dans le Pentateuque Samaritain. Étude comparée des manuscrits 6 (C) de Sichem, CBL 751 (Dublin) et BCU L2057 (Fribourg), in: Himbaza, Innocent (ed.), The Text of Leviticus. Proceedings of the Third International Colloquium of the Dominique Barthélemy Institute, held in Fribourg (October 2015) (OBO 292), Leuven: Peeters, 2020, 83–106.

Rudnig, Thilo Alexander, Art. Heilig / profan / Heiligkeit: Das wissenschaftliche Bibellexikon im Internet: www.wibilex.de (April 2014). Link WiBiLex

Samuel, Michael Leo, Torah from Alexandria. Philo as a Biblical Commentator: Volume 3: Leviticus, New York 2015. Show MoreEditor’s abstract: The third volume of Torah from Alexandria sets on display how Philo interpreted the role of the Temple, offerings, festivals, dietary practices, marital laws, and laws of purity. While Philo always remains firmly committed to the importance of the actual religious act, he consistently derives ethical lessons from these ritual practices, thus putting him alongside the great Jewish philosophers of history. Reading Philo alongside Rabbinic wisdom, Greek philosophy, Patristic writers, as well as Medieval and modern authors, breathes new life into the complexities of Leviticus and reinstates Philo’s importance as a biblical exegete. Reclaiming Philo as a Jewish exegete puts him in company with the great luminaries of Jewish history—a position that Philo richly deserves. Philo remains as one of Jewish history’s most articulate spokespersons for ethical monotheism. Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel has meticulously culled from all of Philo’s exegetical comments, and arranged them according to the biblical verses. He provides extensive parallels from rabbinic literature, Greek philosophy, and Christian theology, to present Philo’s writing in the context of his time, while also demonstrating Philo’s unique method of interpretation.

Scarlata, Mark William, A Journey Through the World of Leviticus. Holiness, Sacrifice, and the Rock Badger, Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2021. Show More Abstract from OTA: Leviticus may seem like an uninviting book. Who wants to read about blood sacrifice, infectious diseases, or ancient dietary restrictions? Aren’t the dramatic events of Exodus more interesting, more exciting? But the rituals and commands God gave to Israel seek to make time and space holy. This desire for holiness is very different from our experiences of the modern world. Our “disenchanted” world is dominated by agribusiness and supermarkets (as opposed to growing our own food and giving thanks to God for a good harvest), impersonal global economic institutions (rather than neighborly expressions of solidarity) and advanced medical technology (rather than participating in rituals of healing). Leviticus calls us to be holy “as God is holy,” to be a “kingdom of priests” rather than individuals who hold privatized beliefs. Leviticus knows something about the seriousness of alienation and sin, and it knows something about the possibility of atonement and forgiveness, too. The priests of Leviticus are teachers, and what they teach is love for God and his Creation, and love for our neighbors. What Jesus teaches in Matt 22:39 about the love command is drawn from this tradition. What John’s gospel teaches about Jesus being “The Lamb of God” is drawn from Leviticus. What Hebrews teaches about Jesus being both a High Priest and a sacrificial victim would make little sense without Leviticus as background. Nor can we fully understand the significance of Peter’s vision in Acts 10 about Jews and Gentiles eating together in the Kingdom of God without some prior knowledge of Leviticus. And as for the idea the idea of a “liturgical calendar” with special times set aside, where does that come from? This comes from Leviticus, too, with its descriptions of Passover, Pentecost, Sabbath, and the Jubilee year. See also Philip Jenson, Graded Holiness: A Key to the Priestly Conception of the World (Sheffield, 1992) and Dru Johnson, Human Rites:The Power of Rituals, Habits, and Sacraments (Eerdmans, 2019).—F.W.G.

Schellenberg, Annette, More Than Spirit. On the Physical Dimension in the Priestly Understanding of Holiness: ZAW 126, 2014, 163–179. Show MoreAgain and again, the Priestly text emphasizes bodily issues – in addition to the reference to male and female in Gen 1,27 and the emphasis on circumcision as the sign of the covenant in Gen 17, this is demonstrated most clearly in regulations for impurity, sin, sacrifices, and rituals and in the special requirements for priests. This article maintains that this focus on bodily issues is a reflection of an understanding of holiness that comprises a physical dimension – even when it comes to God.

Schellenberg, Annette, „Ein beschwichtigender Geruch für JHWH“. Zur Rolle der Sinne im Kult (nach den priesterlichen Texten), in: van Oorschot, Jürgen; Wagner, Andreas (Hg.), Anthropologie(n) des Alten Testaments (Veröffentlichungen der Wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft für Theologie 42), Leipzig 2015, 132–158.

Schenker, Adrian, Unreinheit, Sünde und Sündopfer. Kritische Untersuchung zweier verbreiteter Thesen: befleckende Sünden (moral impurity) und Sündopfer chaṭṭaʾt als Reinigungsopfer für das Heiligtum: BZ 59, 2015, 1–16.

Schmitt, Rüdiger, Diversity and Centralization of the Temple Cult in the Archeological Record from the Iron II C to the Persian and Hellenistic Periods in Judah, in: Nihan, Christophe; Rhyder, Julia (eds.), Text and Ritual in the Pentateuch. A Systematic and Comparative Approach, University Park, PA: Eisenbrauns, 2021, 151–171.

Schorch, Stefan (ed.), Leviticus (The Samaritan Pentateuch. A Critical Editio Maior. Volume 3), Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter, 2018.  Show MorePublished abstract: A critical edition of the Samaritan Pentateuch is one of the most urgent desiderata of Hebrew Bible research. The present volume on Leviticus is the first out of a series of five meant to fill this gap. It provides a diplomatic edition of the five books of the Samaritan Torah, based on the oldest preserved Samaritan manuscripts. Throughout the entire work, the Samaritan Hebrew text as gathered from 30 different manuscripts is compared with further Samaritan witnesses (esp. the Samaritan Targum, the Samaritan Arabic translation, and the oral Samaritan reading tradition) as well as with non-Samaritan witnesses of the Pentateuch, especially the Masoretic text, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Septuagint, creating an indispensable resource and tool not only for those working with the Samaritan Pentateuch, but for any scholar interested in textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible in general, and particularly the Pentateuch. For more information see the excerpt on academia.edu.

Saysell, Csilla, The Blood Manipulation of the Sin Offering and the Logic of Defilement, in: de Jong, John; Saysell, Csilla (eds.), Holding Forth the Word of Life: Essays in Honor of Tim Meadowcroft, Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2020, 44–57 (also published in: Pacific Journal of Baptist Research 13/2, 2018).

Stendebach, Franz-Josef, Das Opfer in den Religionen der Menschheit, 2015, http://lev.thomashieke.de/stendebach-opfer/.

Tigchelaar, Eibert J.C., 4Q26b (4QLeviticusg) Frag. 2, in: Textus: A Journal on Criticism of the Hebrew Bible 29, 2020, 53–56.

Tov, Emanuel, Textual Harmonization in Leviticus, in: Himbaza, Innocent (ed.), The Text of Leviticus. Proceedings of the Third International Colloquium of the Dominique Barthélemy Institute, held in Fribourg (October 2015) (OBO 292), Leuven: Peeters, 2020, 13–37.

Tucker, Paavo N., The Holiness Composition in the Book of Exodus (FAT II/98), Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2017. Show MorePublished abstract: In this study, Paavo N. Tucker considers the different models of formation for the Priestly literature of the Pentateuch through an analysis of the Priestly texts in Exodus and how they relate to the Holiness Code in Lev 17–26. The texts in Exodus that are traditionally assigned to the Priestly Grundschrift are not concerned with the priestly matters of Exod 25-Lev 16, but are better understood as relating to the language, theology, and concerns of Lev 17–26, and should be assigned to the same strata of H with Lev 17–26. The same applies to the Priestly narratives beginning in Gen 1. The Priestly literature in Gen 1-Lev 26 form a composition that develops the themes of creation, Sabbath, sanctuary, and covenant to their climactic expression and culmination in the legal promulgation and ethical paraenesis of H in Lev 17–26. The author shows that, rather than being a “Priestly composition” as Erhard Blum argues, it is more fitting to see this literature as an “H composition,” which weaves narrative and law together in order to motivate obedience to the laws of Lev 17–26.

Tucker, Paavo N., Why Love Matters for Justice. Political Emotions between Narrative and Law in the Holiness Code, in: Zehnder, Markus; Wick, Peter (Hg.), Biblical Ethics. Tensions between Justice and Mercy, Law and Love (Gorgias Biblical Studies 70), Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2019, 83–104.    Show MoreAbstract from OTA: The command to the Israelites to love their neighbors and sojourners as themselves in Lev 19:18, 34 has usually been interpreted to signify behaving in loving ways toward these groups of persons, because it is presumed that the emotional commitment of love cannot be commanded. The context of Leviticus 19, however, does not differentiate between internal attitudes and external behaviors, in that the text is concerned with commanding both internal attitudes and emotions flowing from such love, which, in turn, lead to external loving actions. Martha Nussbaum, in her 2013 work Political Emotions: Why Love Matters for Justice, has shown that it is important for communities to secure the emotional commitment of their citizens toward the values of the society, and that this commitment can be developed through narrative strategies that celebrate the shared history and values of the given community. The same argument can be made regarding Leviticus 19, where the authors of the Holiness Code (Leviticus 17-26) build a case for emotional and behavioral commitments grounded in the shared journey of the people of Israel among the nations of the world that is traced in the P materials of the Pentateuch from Genesis 1 to the moment of Israel’s stay at Sinai in Leviticus. [Adapted from published abstract-C.T.B.]


van Steenbergen, Gerrit J., Sacrifice in Leviticus 1–7 and Pökot Culture: Implications for Bible Translation, in: Kotzé, Gideon; Locatell, Christian S.; Messarra, John A. (eds.), Ancient Texts and Modern Readers. Studies in Ancient Hebrew Linguistics and Bible Translation (Studia Semitica Neerlandica 71), Leiden: Brill, 2019, 300–318.

Varenhorst, Martin, Levitikon / Levitikus / Das dritte Buch Mose, in: Kreuzer, Siegfried (Hg.), Einleitung in die Septuaginta (Handbuch zur Septuaginta LXX.H 1), Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 2016, 137–145.

Vogels, Walter, Célébration et sainteté. Le Lévitique (Lectio divina, 207), Paris 2015. Show MoreAbstract from OTA 38, 2015, 800, #2620: For many readers, both scholarly and non-scholarly, Leviticus is an off-putting and thus understandably neglected book. In this volume directed to non-specialist, but potentially interested readers, V. begins with an introduction which comments on Leviticus’ centrality within the Pentateuch and salvation history overall, as well as diachronic and synchronic approaches to the book. He then proceeds to survey the book’s four main sections (chaps. 1-7, 8-10, 11-16, and 17-27) and their component sub-sections in turn. In each instance, V. devotes particular attention to the internal organization of the given unit, the principles underlying its often arcane laws, and the enduring values those laws seek to promote, e.g., solidarity, mutual respect, and personal responsibility, and the interweaving of religious and social concerns (whence V.’s title “celebration and holiness” for his study of the book). The volume concludes with a brief list of recent French and English-language commentaries on Leviticus.-C.T.B.

Wachowski, Johannes, Lernen am Leviticus, in: Zeitschrift für Pädagogik und Theologie 67, 2015, 134–144.

Warner, Megan, The Holiness School in Genesis, in: Gane, Roy E.; Taggar-Cohen, Ada (ed.), Current Issues in Priestly and Related Literature. The Legacy of Jacob Milgrom and Beyond (Resources for Biblical Study 82), Atlanta 2015, 155–174.

Watts, James W., Unperformed Rituals in an Unread Book, in: Christian A. Eberhart/Thomas Hieke (eds.), Writing a Commentary on Leviticus: Hermeneutics–Methodology–Themes (FRLANT 276), Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019, 25-33. Show MoreWatts highlights the unusual challenge posed to commentators by the fact that many of Leviticus’s ritual instructions have not been performed for almost 2,000 years and that Christians, at least, tend not to read it at all. Since commentary is supposed to explain the meaning of the text, he asks: What is the significance of an unperformed ritual? What is the meaning of an unread text? His reflections, excerpted and expanded from the Introduction to his commentary, explore the nature of textual rhetoric, of ritual rhetoric, of theological symbolism, and of priestly interpretive authority. He concludes that Leviticus’s status as scripture pushes commentators to consider the whole range of the text’s uses, not just as an authoritative text but also as a performative text and as religious icon.

Watts, James W., Drawing Lines. A Suggestion for Addressing the Moral Problem of Reproducing Immoral Biblical Texts in Commentaries and Bibles, in: Christian A. Eberhart/Thomas Hieke (eds.), Writing a Commentary on Leviticus: Hermeneutics–Methodology–Themes (FRLANT 276), Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019, 235-252. Show MoreSome texts in Leviticus and in many other biblical books explicitly support genocide, indiscriminate capital punishment, patriarchy, and slavery. In “Drawing Lines: A Suggestion for Addressing the Moral Problem of Reproducing Immoral Biblical Texts in Commentaries and Bibles,” James W. Watts observes that these verses pose a moral challenge for commentators and Bible publishers because they conflict with the legal and ethical teachings of Jewish and Christian traditions, and also with the laws of modern nations. By publishing Bibles and commentaries that reproduce these texts, translators and commentators continue to promulgate a document that claims divine endorsement for immoral and illegal behavior. Though long-standing traditions of halakhah, preaching, canon law and commentary have restrained the social force of these texts, the iconic status of biblical texts has often overridden interpretive traditions. These restraints have become easier to ignore as revolutions in printing and, now, digitization have made biblical texts ever more accessible. Anyone can cite a verse of Leviticus with the accurate preamble, “the Bible says,” and can do so to justify harming other people. Interpretations of biblical texts, their social contexts, and their reception history remain essential to countering malevolent uses of the Bible, but they are not enough. Watts suggests that commentaries and mass-market Bible translations should strike through immoral normative texts to indicate typographically that Jewish and Christian traditions have long-standing objections to reading them as representing the divine will.

Watts, James W., Texts Are Not Rituals, and Rituals Are Not Texts, with an Example from Leviticus 12, in: Nihan, Christophe; Rhyder, Julia (eds.), Text and Ritual in the Pentateuch. A Systematic and Comparative Approach, University Park, PA: Eisenbrauns, 2021, 172–187.

Watts, James W., Leviticus 11–20 (HCOT), Leuven: Peeters, 2023.

Watts, James W., Pollution in the Bible and in Cognitive Science. A Review of Recent Works by Thomas Kazen and Yitzhaq Feder, in: VT 73, 2023, 793–798. Online: https://doi.org/10.1163/15685330-00001158.  Show MorePublished abstract: This essay constitutes a thematic review of two recent publications that utilize cognitive science to illuminate biblical concepts of pollution and purity. The review, adapted and expanded from James W. Watts, Leviticus 11–20 (HCOT; Leuven: Peeters, 2023), 31–34, sets these works in the broader context of each author’s work and juxtaposes their insights with other major publications on purity and pollution in the Bible.

Whitekettle, Richard, A Study in Scarlet. The Physiology and Treatment of Blood, Breath, and Fish in Ancient Israel, in: JBL 135, 2016, 685–704.  Show MorePublished abstract: Leviticus 7:26 and 17:10–14 state that the blood of land animals and aerial animals must not be consumed. These verses say nothing, however, about the blood of fish, implying that the consumption of fish blood is permitted. This difference in the treatment of land/aerial animal blood and fish blood is based on a belief that the blood of land/aerial animals is a breath/blood amalgam, while the blood of fish is simply blood. Thus, what Lev 7:26 and 17:10–14 prohibited was the consumption of a land/aerial animal’s breath/blood amalgam. And, since it was breath that set this amalgam apart from the blood of a fish, it was really the consumption of a land/aerial animal’s breath that was being prohibited. It was believed that the breath of a land/aerial animal was the essence of its life and that God had complete sovereignty over a land/aerial animal’s breath. Consequently, by prohibiting its consumption, the Levitical/Priestly tradents hallowed the breath of a land/aerial animal and acknowledged that sovereignty over it belonged exclusively to God.

Wiley, Henrietta L.; Eberhart, Christian A. (eds.), Sacrifice, Cult, and Atonement in Early Judaism and Christianity. Constituents and Critique (Resources for Biblical Study 85), Atlanta: SBL Press, 2017.

Wright, David P., Law and Creation in the Priestly-Holiness Writings of the Pentateuch, in: Christian A. Eberhart/Thomas Hieke (eds.), Writing a Commentary on Leviticus: Hermeneutics–Methodology–Themes (FRLANT 276), Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019, 201-233. Show MoreIn his essay “Law and Creation in the Priestly-Holiness Writings of the Pentateuch,” Wright argues that a chief goal of the Priestly-Holiness (PH) corpus of the Pentateuch is to explain Yahweh’s election of Israel and associated obligations of cultic practice. Wright looks specifically at PH’s portrayal of the development of various cultic practices and phenomena (sacrifice, use of the divine name, the calendar, purity and holiness practices, the divine glory [kavod]), as well as PH’s portrayal of the genealogical evolution of Israel and its use of creation language in narrative. The PH corpus tells a story in which the culmination of creation, as described in Gen 1:1–2:4, is the establishment of the nation Israel with accompanying obligations of cultic service. This set the stage for then describing how the nation acquired its land.

Wright, David P., Atonement beyond lsrael. The Holiness School’s Amendment to Priestly Legislation on the Sin Sacrifice (ḥaṭṭāʾt), in: Botner, Max; Duff, Justin Harrison; Dürr, Simon (Hg.), Atonement. Jewish and Christian Origins, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2020, 40–63.  Show MoreAbstract from OTA: W.’s essay seeks to trace the Holiness [H] School’s expansion of P’s regulations on the “sin” or “purification” offering (ḥaṭṭāʾt). Via careful textual analysis, W. shows that H amends pre-existing regulations on the ḥaṭṭāʾt to include the immigrant (gēr) living in the land of Israel. In contrast to the ethical concerns of Deuteronomy and the Covenant Code, however, H is strictly concerned with the gēr as the representative of a legal category. If the sins of the gēr can pollute the land, as H maintains, then it is vital that the principal source of atonement, the ḥaṭṭāʾt sacrifice, be made available for the gēr as well. [Adapted from published abstract C.T.B.]

Yoder, Perry B., Leviticus (Believers Church Bible Commentary), Harrisonburg: Herald Press, 2017.

Yoo, Yohan; Watts, James W., Cosmologies of Pure Realms and the Rhetoric of Pollution, New York: Routledge, 2021.

Zipor, Moshe A., The Nature of the Septuagint Version of the Book of Leviticus, in: Himbaza, Innocent (ed.), The Text of Leviticus. Proceedings of the Third International Colloquium of the Dominique Barthélemy Institute, held in Fribourg (October 2015) (OBO 292), Leuven: Peeters, 2020, 121–132.

Zuckier, Shlomo, Nothing to sniff at: Odorless Reah Nihoach in early biblical interpretation, in: Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha 31, 2022, 184–214.Show MorePublished abstract: Within the Hebrew Bible, the phrase reah nihoah (ריח ניחוח), “a pleasing smell,” appears frequently throughout accounts of sacrifice, referring in a most literal sense to the smell of an offering burnt on the altar and offered up “to the Lord.” Throughout multiple Second Temple Jewish texts, both the incidence and meaning of this term shift considerably. Some texts essentially erase the term from sacrificial discourse; others “spiritualize” it, employing reah nihoah in contexts other than physical sacrifices; yet others conflate the “pleasing smell” language with other sacrificial technical terms such as “acceptability” and “atonement.” This article examines the manifold shifts in meaning of reah nihoah in Ancient Jewish texts, considering various biblical translations, Hellenistic works, materials from Qumran, and New Testament texts. After considering how these texts interpret the biblical reah nihoah, it considers possible impetuses for this shift as well as its ramifications.

HThKAT – fortgeführt …