Legal Revision and Religious Renewal in Ancient Israel

Legal Revision and Religious Renewal in Ancient Israel

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Bernard M. Levinson
Cambridge University Press, 10/16/2008
EAN 9780521513449, ISBN10: 0521513448

Hardcover, 236 pages, 21.6 x 14 x 1.7 cm
Language: English

This book examines the doctrine of transgenerational punishment found in the Decalogue – the idea that God punishes sinners vicariously, extending the punishment due them to three or four generations of their progeny. Although a 'God-given' law, the unfairness of punishing innocent people in this way was clearly recognized in ancient Israel. A series of inner-biblical and post-biblical responses to the rule demonstrates that later writers were able to criticize, reject, and replace this doctrine with the notion of individual retribution. Supporting further study, it includes a valuable bibliographical essay on the distinctive approach of inner-biblical exegesis, showing the contributions of European, Israeli, and North American scholars. This Cambridge release represents a major revision and expansion of the French edition, L'Herméneutique de l'innovation: Canon et exégèse dans l'Israël biblique, nearly doubling its length with extensive content and offering alternative perspectives on debates about canonicity, textual authority, and authorship.

1. Biblical studies as the meeting point of the humanities
2. Rethinking the relation between 'canon' and 'exegesis'
3. The problem of innovation within the formative canon
4. The reworking of the principle of transgenerational punishment
four case studies
5. The canon as sponsor of innovation
6. The phenomenon of rewriting within the Hebrew Bible
a bibliographic essay on 'inner-biblical exegesis' in the history of scholarship.