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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Illuminating Leviticus: A Study of Its Laws and Institutions in the Light of Biblical Narratives
Carmichael, Calum

Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006 pp. x + 212. $55.00


Description: The origin of law in the Hebrew Bible has long been the subject of scholarly debate. Until recently, the historico-critical methodologies of the academy have yielded unsatisfactory conclusions concerning the source of these laws which are woven through biblical narratives. In this original and provocative study, Calum Carmichael -- a leading scholar of biblical law and rhetoric -- suggests that Hebrew law was inspired by the study of the narratives in Genesis through 2 Kings. Discussing particular laws found in the book of Leviticus -- addressing issues such as the Day of Atonement, consumption of meat that still has blood, the Jubilee year, sexual and bodily contamination, and the treatment of slaves -- Carmichael links each to a narrative. He contends that biblical laws did not emerge from social imperatives in ancient Israel, but instead from the careful, retrospective study of the nation's history and identity.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Pentateuch, Leviticus, Literature, Methods, Literary Approaches, Narrative Criticism

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Review by Reinhard Achenbach
Published 4/5/2008
Citation: Reinhard Achenbach, review of Calum Carmichael, Illuminating Leviticus: A Study of Its Laws and Institutions in the Light of Biblical Narratives, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2008).


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