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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel
Hepner, Gershon

New York: Lang, 2010 pp. xx + 1110. $165.95

Series Information
Studies in Biblical Literature, 78


Description: Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel tracks the mystery of narratives in the Hebrew Bible and their allusions to Sinai laws by highlighting intertextual allusions created by verbal resonances. While the second and the third parts of the volume illustrate allusions to Sinai narratives made by some narratives occurring in the post-Sinaitic era, twenty-three Genesis narratives are analyzed to show that the protagonists were bound by Sinai Laws before God supposedly gave them to Moses, anticipating the Book of Jubilees. Legal Friction suggests that most of Genesis was composed during or after the Babylonian exile, after the codification of most Sinai laws, which Genesis protagonists consistently violate. The fact that they are not punished for these violations implies to the exiles that the Sinai Covenant was unconditional. In addition, the author proposes that Genesis contains a hidden polemic, encouraging the Judean exiles to follow the revisions of laws of the Covenant Code by the Holiness Code and Deuteronomy. Genesis narratives, like those describing post-Sinai events, often cannot be understood properly without our recognition of their allusions to biblical laws.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Pentateuch, Literature

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Review by Dustin Nash
Published 3/9/2016
Citation: Dustin Nash, review of Gershon Hepner, Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2016).


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