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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Memory and Covenant: The Role of Israel's and God's Memory in Sustaining the Deuteronomic and Priestly Covenants
Ellman, Barat

Minneapolis: Fortress, 2013 pp. xv + 222. $49.00

Series Information
Emerging Scholars


Description: Memory and Covenant combines a close reading of texts in the deuteronomic, priestly, and holiness traditions with analysis of ritual and scrutiny of the different terminology used in each tradition regarding memory. Ellman demonstrates that the exploration of the concept of memory is critical to understanding the overall cosmologies, theologies, and religious programs of these distinct traditions. All three regard memory as a vital element of religious practice and as the principal instrument of covenant fidelityóbut in very different ways. Ellman shows that for the deuteronomic tradition, memory is an epistemological and pedagogical means for keeping Israel faithful to its God and Godís commandments, even when Israelites are far from the temple and its worship. The priestly tradition, however, understands that the covenant depends on Godís memory, which must be aroused by the sensory stimuli of the temple cult. The holiness school incorporates the priestly idea of sensory memory but places responsibility for remembering on Israel. A subsequent layer of priestly tradition revives the centrality of Godís memory within a thorough-going theology uniting temple worship with creation.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, Social-Scientific Approaches

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Review by Rachelle Gilmour
Published 8/4/2016
Citation: Rachelle Gilmour, review of Barat Ellman, Memory and Covenant: The Role of Israelís and Godís Memory in Sustaining the Deuteronomic and Priestly Covenants, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2016).


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