Sedaqa and Torah in Postexilic Discourse
Gillmayr-Bucher, Susanne and Maria Häusl, editors
London: Bloomsbury, 2017 pp. xiii + 178. $114.00
Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies, 640
Description: The chapters in this volume clarify crucial aspects of Torah by exploring its relationship to sedaqa (righteousness). Observing the Torah is often considered to be the main identity-marker of Israel in the post-exilic period. However, sedaqa is also widely used as a force of group cohesion and as a resource for ethics without references to torah. The contributors to this volume explore these crucial themes for the post-exilic period, and show how they are related in the key texts that feature them. Though torah and sedaqa can have some aspects in common, especially when they are amended by aspects of creation, both terms are rarely linked to each other explicitly in the Old Testament, and if so, different relations are expressed. These are examined in this book. The opening of the book of Isaiah is shown to integrate torah-learning into a life of righteousness (sedaqa). In Deuteronomy sedaqa is shown to refer to torah-dictacticism, and in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah torah can be understood as symbol of sedaqa meaning the disposition of each individual to accept torah as prescriptive law. However, the chapters also show that these relationships are not exclusive and that sedaqa is not always linked to torah, for in late texts of Isaiah sedaqa is not realized by torah-observance, but by observing the Sabbath.
Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Pentateuch, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, History of Israel
Review by Gert Kwakkel
Citation: Gert Kwakkel, review of Susanne Gillmayr-Bucher and Maria Häusl, eds., Ṣedaqa and Torah in Postexilic Discourse, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2018).
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