Berit Olam - Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy (Hardcover)

Berit Olam - Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy (Hardcover)


Berit Olam - Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy (Hardcover)

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Berit Olam - Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy (Hardcover)

This work treats the books of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy as stories and asks the question, "How does the storyteller tell the story?" In these books we hear the voices of the narrator, the Lord, Moses, Aaron, the Israelites, Balaam and Barak, and others. We also witness the actions of the characters in the story.

In examining the voice of the narrator, we look especially at how the narrator manipulates knowledge (what knowledge he shares with us and what knowledge he chooses to withhold from us) and ask whether the narrator gives us any hint as to how we should evaluate the various characters and their actions.

In treating the characters in the story (including the Lord), this study asks what we can learn about these characters from their words and actions. For example, what does YHWH's way of talking tell us about him? What does he talk about most? What's "on his mind"?

Each of these three books has its own characteristics as part of a larger story.

The book of Leviticus focuses on divine speech, which comes to the reader through a series of layers in which the narrator tells us what God told Moses to tell someone else. Thus, this study looks at the narrator, the Lord, Moses, and other characters in the story separately to see how each is "characterized" by their words and actions. There is also the puzzling story of the death of Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu, who brought "strange fire" into the Tent.

The book of Numbers also contains divine speech but proportionally less than Leviticus. We hear much more of the voice of the narrator as well as that of Moses. There is more narrative tension in Numbers, with the rebellion of Aaron and Miriam, and that of Kohath and Dathan, the story of the spies and that of Balaam.

The book of Deuteronomy is presented in the form of a farewell speech of Moses before his death. Our interest and sympathy are captured by the poignant image of the great liberator looking across the Jordan to see the promised land that he himself will never enter. We now hear the story retold from Moses' point of view (rather than that of the narrator), with different emphases and even some changes.

"Incline your ear, and come to me;
listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant."
-Isaiah 55:3

As they have for centuries, people still turn to the Hebrew Bible to hear afresh the life-giving words of God's everlasting covenant. Berit Olam ("The Everlasting Covenant"): Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry brings to all interested in the Bible, be they lay people, professional biblical scholars, students, or religious educators, the latest developments in the literary analysis of these ancient texts.

This multi-volume commentary reflects a relatively new development in biblical studies. The readings of the books of the Hebrew Bible offered here all focus on the final form of the texts, approaching them as literary works, recognizing that the craft of poetry and storytelling that the ancient Hebrew world provided can be found in them and that their truth can be better appreciated with a fuller understanding of that art.

The authors reflect a variety of religious traditions, professional backgrounds, and theoretical approaches. Yet they share a common desire to make available to all of God's people the words of the everlasting covenant in all of their beauty.

 

Cover: Hardcover
Font Size: Standard Print
Size: 6" x 9"
Pages: 328

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