Artus, Olivier, Sabbath Year and Jubilee in Lev 25, in: Indian Theological Studies 50, 2013, 233–252.
Abstract from OTA 40, 2017, #1655: A.’s article features a wide-ranging overview of the many questions posed by Leviticus 25. Topics addressed by him include: the diachronic relationship of the “Holiness Code” (Leviticus 17-26, HC) to the other major compositional complexes in the Pentateuch (D and P in particular); the placement of Leviticus 25 within the HC; the structure of Leviticus 25; the laws of Leviticus 25 vis-a-vis those of Exod 21:2-11 and Deut 15:12-18 as well as Old Babylonian and Nee-Babylonian royal edicts concerning release of slaves and remission of debts; and the conception of the jubilee in Leviticus 25. This last topic is discussed by A. under the general heading “jubilee and logic of the gift,” that is itself further specified with the subheadings: “Vocabulary of gift in Lev 25: Can we talk of Social Ethics in Lev 25?” and “The Jubilee: A Utopia? Norm and Metanorm.“ Here, A. points out that while it remains unclear whether the jubilee legislation of Leviticus 25, with its insistence that no Israelite is to be the “slave” of another Israelite and that Yahweh’s gift of the land to his people calls them to respond by “redeeming” the land at the jubilee, was ever put into effect during the Second Temple period, the text’s vision did get picked up in subsequent messianic and eschatological discourse (see Isa 61:1-2 and Luke 4:18-19).
Kessler, Rainer, Utopie und Grenzen. Schabbatjahr und Jobeljahr in Lev 25: BiKi 69, 2014, 86–91.
Abstract: K. reads Leviticus 25 as a visionary concept to overcome debt overload and impoverishment. The basic rhythm is marked by the sequence of six years plus one. The sabbatical year (every seventh year) is a “Sabbath for Yahweh,” i.e., rest for the land (a fallow year) and rest for God. While the sabbatical year was practiced at certain times in the history of Israel and Judah, the Jubilee year (the year after seven times seven years) is a literary construct providing liberation for people fallen in debt slavery and for property sold to pay debts off. After 49 years all property (real estate) which was sold shall return to its original owner. People who had to sell their workforce and fell into debt slavery shall be released and return to their own family. While the Jubilee was never set into practice, its theological idea was influential even for Christianity.
Mayshar, Joram, Who Was the Toshav?: JBL 133, 2014, 225–246.
Published abstract: The term תושב (tôšāb; toshav) appears in the Bible fourteen times, mostly in passages associated with the Holiness Code (H). It is typically interpreted as referring to an alien who resides in a foreign country on a long-term basis. I propose, instead, that it had an economic meaning, referring to “a rent-paying (farming) tenant,” that is, someone who cultivates land that he does not own and pays rent to the landlord. In the course of supporting this interpretation, I offer a framework for understanding the social structure envisioned by H and for appreciating H’s innovative social aspirations.
Meyer, Esias E., Returning to an Empty Land: Revisiting my Old Argument about the Jubilee: OTE 27, 2014, 502–519.
Published abstract: In this article, M. engages with his 2003 monograph on the biblical Jubilee, with a focus on Leviticus 25 and 26. In 2003, M. argued that Leviticus is a text concerning the Judean elite who are about to return from exile and who wanted their land back, an argument in support of which he adduced the “myth of the empty land” as featured in Leviticus 26, where the land is represented as lying empty during exile and waiting for the exiles to repopulate it. On historical-critical grounds, M. now rejects the first part of his earlier claim about Leviticus 25. At the same time, he adduces additional support for the “myth of the empty land” part of his earlier argument by reference to current historical-critical debates about the portrayal of the land in the P materials and the Holiness Code.
Meyer, Esias E., People and Land in the Holiness Code. Who is Yhwh’s Favourite?: OTE 28, 2015, 433–450.
Adapted from published abstract: M.’s article focuses on how the land (ʾereṣ) is personified in the Holiness Code. It starts by describing the various “countries” portrayed in the Code and then discusses all It instances in the Code where land functions as the subject of a verb (Lev 18:25, 27, 28; 19:29; 20:22; 25:2, 19; 26:4, 20, 34, 38, 40). The land at times seems close to being a human character in its “becoming defiled,” “vomiting,” “acting like a prostitute,” “observing the Sabbath,” “giving,” and “enjoying”—all verbs which are usually associated with human actions. In light of these texts, M. then attempts to describe the relationship among the land, Yhwh, and the Code’s addressees. In his analysis, it becomes clear that in the Code there is a closer relationship between Yhwh and the land than there is between Yhwh and the addressees. Finally, M. seeks to engage with N. Habel’s ecojustice principles, showing that the authors of the Code may have been familiar with certain of these.
Mthiselwa, Ndikho, Mind the Working-Class People! An African Reading of Leviticus 25:8-55 with Latino/a Critical Tools: OTE 29, 2016, 133–150.
Adapted from published abstract: It is generally accepted by Latino/a biblical scholars, namely, Fernando F. Segovia and Alejandro F. Botta, among others, that both the historical-critical methods and the contextual approaches are equally important in the reading of the HB. First, this paper argues that Lev 25:8-55 contains verses (cf. Lev 25:10, 39-40 and 54-55) which are ascribed to the Deuteronomistic writers (D) but which were re-used by the authors of the Holiness Code (H). Second, because the absolute noun, śākīr (“hired labourer”) and the qal verb, ʿbd (“to work”) in Lev 25:40 refer to the working-class people, the context(s) from which the text of Lev 25:8-55 emerged will be investigated in relation to the working-class people. Third, the paper probes the relevance of Lev 25:8-55 to Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s discourse of the experiences of the working-class people and Segovia’s reading of the HB in the light of such experiences. It is argued in this paper that H’s concern for social justice for the workingclass people can throw light on the reading of the ancient texts, particularly from the perspective of the Latino/a biblical criticism, and more importantly, that such a reading could also have implications for the working-class people of South Africa.