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Between Law and Narrative


The Method and Function of Abstraction


Aside from being the content of speeches by characters in narrative, how do passages of laws in the Pentateuch interact with the surrounding narratives? This book proposes that certain passages of law in Leviticus and Numbers offer direction for the interpretation of adjacent segments of narrative. This 'direction' may serve to emphasize select themes and concepts in narrative. Alternatively, it may misdirect readers, or suggest alternative options to more accessible interpretations for a stretch of narrative.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-59333-912-8
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Apr 21,2010
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 326
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-59333-912-8
$164.00

Aside from being the content of speeches by characters in narrative, how do passages of laws in the Pentateuch interact with the surrounding narratives? This book proposes that certain passages of law in Leviticus and Numbers offer direction for the interpretation of adjacent segments of narrative. This 'direction' may serve to emphasize select themes and concepts in narrative. Alternatively, it may misdirect readers, or suggest alternative options to more accessible interpretations for a stretch of narrative.

A rigorous literary and syntactical analysis of six passages of narrative and law (Lev 10:1-20; 24:10-23; Num 15:1-41; 27:1-11; 36:1-13) reveals networks of laws in each passage, often on disparate topics, that share common themes and concepts. The reader's ability to recognize these common themes and concepts in each passage is the act of abstraction. Consequently, the reader is moved to search for these themes and concepts in an adjacent narrative, which is shown to be amenable to these acts of ideation.

Thus, law and narrative collaborate to inform the reader of important themes in certain passages.

Aside from being the content of speeches by characters in narrative, how do passages of laws in the Pentateuch interact with the surrounding narratives? This book proposes that certain passages of law in Leviticus and Numbers offer direction for the interpretation of adjacent segments of narrative. This 'direction' may serve to emphasize select themes and concepts in narrative. Alternatively, it may misdirect readers, or suggest alternative options to more accessible interpretations for a stretch of narrative.

A rigorous literary and syntactical analysis of six passages of narrative and law (Lev 10:1-20; 24:10-23; Num 15:1-41; 27:1-11; 36:1-13) reveals networks of laws in each passage, often on disparate topics, that share common themes and concepts. The reader's ability to recognize these common themes and concepts in each passage is the act of abstraction. Consequently, the reader is moved to search for these themes and concepts in an adjacent narrative, which is shown to be amenable to these acts of ideation.

Thus, law and narrative collaborate to inform the reader of important themes in certain passages.

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Contributor Biography

Bernon Lee

Bernon P. Lee is Assistant Professor of Old Testament in the Department of Religious Studies at Grace College (Winona Lake, Indiana). He holds the MA degree in Religious Studies from the University of Calgary (Alberta, Canada) and the PhD in Theology (Hebrew Scriptures) from the University of St. Michael's College (Toronto School of Theology). The interest of his research is the application of literary theory to the interpretation of law and narrative in the Hebrew Bible.

  • Dedication Page (page 5)
  • Table of Contents (page 7)
  • Acknowledgements (page 11)
  • List of Abbreviations (page 13)
  • Chapter One Reading Narrative and Law (page 15)
    • The Objectives of this Work (page 15)
    • An Outline of the Task (page 19)
    • The Setting of this Work within Biblical Scholarship: Some Representative Views (page 21)
    • Method and Theory: The Concept of Plot in Narratology (page 27)
    • The Movement between the Poles (page 33)
    • The Expression of Theme apart from Narrative Sequence (page 49)
  • Chapter Two Readings in Narrative and Law: The Simple Cases (page 57)
    • The Case of Leviticus 24:10…23 (page 58)
    • The Wider Literary Setting of Leviticus 24:10…23 (page 59)
    • The Literary Structure of Leviticus 24:10…23 (page 60)
    • Terms and Definitions (page 63)
    • The Narrative Sequence (page 67)
    • The Legal Prescriptions (page 72)
    • A Note on Inter-Clausal Syntax in the Legal Prescriptions (page 74)
      • Verses 15b…6 (page 77)
      • Verses 17…8 (page 82)
      • Verses 19…22 (page 84)
    • Coherence of Narrative and Law in Leviticus 24:10…23 (page 88)
    • The Case of Numbers 9:1…14 (page 91)
    • The Wider Literary Setting of Numbers 9:1…14 (page 91)
    • The Narrative Sequence (page 92)
    • The Legal Prescriptions (page 97)
      • Verses 10b…2 (page 98)
      • Verse 13 (page 100)
      • Verse 14 (page 101)
    • Coherence of Narrative and Law in Num 9:1…14 (page 103)
    • The Case of Numbers 27:1…11 (page 104)
    • The Wider Literary Setting of Numbers 27:1…11 (page 104)
    • The Narrative Sequence (page 106)
    • The Legal Prescriptions (page 109)
    • Coherence of Narrative and Law in Numbers 27:1…11 (page 114)
    • The Case of Numbers 36:1…13 (page 115)
    • The Wider Literary Setting of Numbers 36:1…13 (page 115)
    • The Narrative Sequence (page 117)
    • The Legal Prescriptions (page 123)
    • Coherence of Narrative and Law in Numbers 36:1…13 (page 126)
    • Summary: The Interaction of Narrative and Law in the Simple Cases (page 126)
  • Chapter Three Readings in Narrative and Law: the Complicated Cases (page 131)
    • The Case of Leviticus 10:1…20 (page 131)
    • The Wider Literary Significance of Leviticus 10:1…20 (page 132)
    • The Internal Coherence of Leviticus 10:1…20 (page 135)
    • The Narrative Sequence (page 143)
    • The Legal Prescriptions (page 153)
      • Verses 6…7 (page 155)
      • Verses 9…11 (page 157)
      • Verses 12…5 (page 160)
    • Interaction of Narrative and Law in Leviticus 10:1…20 (page 164)
    • The Case of Numbers 15:1…41 (page 166)
    • The Wider Literary Significance of Numbers 15:1…41 (page 167)
    • The Internal Coherence of Numbers 15:1…41 (page 169)
    • The Narrative Sequence (page 170)
    • The Legal Prescriptions (page 183)
      • Verses 2b…16 (page 188)
      • Verses 17b…21 (page 195)
      • Verses 22…31 (page 198)
      • Verses 38…41 (page 205)
    • The Interaction of Narrative and Law in Num 15:1…41 (page 208)
    • Summary: The Interaction of Narrative and Law in the Complicated Cases (page 209)
  • Chapter Four Syntax and Law in Leviticus and Numbers: Method and Cases (page 211)
    • Pragmatics and Syntactical Structure beyond the Clause (page 212)
    • Biblical Hebrew Syntax and the Concept of Main Line (page 216)
    • A Modified Approach to Inter-Clausal Syntax in Legal Prescriptions (page 225)
    • The Interaction between Consecutive, Conjunctive, Subordinate and Asyndetic Clauses in the Legal Prescriptions of Leviticus and Numbers (page 235)
    • Lev 1:2aß–4 (page 235)
    • Lev 2:1…3 (page 236)
    • Lev 5:15…6b, 23…6 (page 237)
    • Lev 6:2aß–3 (page 239)
    • Lev 6:19…21a (page 241)
    • Lev 13:9…11 (page 241)
    • Lev 16:3…4 (page 243)
    • Lev 17:3…4 (page 244)
    • Lev. 18:3…4 (page 245)
    • Lev 19:2ab…4 (page 246)
    • Lev 19:13 (page 247)
    • Lev 19:15 (page 247)
    • Lev 19:17 (page 248)
    • Lev 19:27…8, 21:5 (page 248)
    • Lev 20:7…8 (page 249)
    • Lev 20:18 (page 250)
    • Lev 23:10ab…11 (page 250)
    • Lev 26:1…2 (page 251)
    • Lev 19:29 (page 252)
    • Num 10:2…3 (page 253)
    • Num 10:5…8 (page 254)
    • Num 18:20ab…20b (page 255)
    • Num 19:4…5 (page 255)
    • Num 30:4…5 (page 256)
    • Num 35:20…1 (page 257)
    • The Functions of Extraposition and Independent Syntactical Constituents in the Legal Prescriptions of Leviticus and Numbers (page 258)
    • Lev 3:1…2 (page 258)
    • Lev 3:3…5 (page 259)
    • Lev 6:8…11 (page 260)
    • Lev 7:31…2 (page 262)
    • Lev 11:2b…8, 20…3 (page 263)
    • Lev 12:2ab…8 (page 267)
    • Lev 14:5…6 (page 268)
    • Lev 17:8ab…10 (page 269)
    • Lev 23:2ab…3 (page 270)
    • Lev 23:13…4 (page 271)
    • Num 4:25…7a (page 272)
    • Num 5:6ab…10 (page 273)
    • Num 10:9…10 (page 275)
    • Num 18:12…5 (page 276)
    • Num 18:21…3 (page 277)
    • Num 18:30b…1 (page 278)
    • Num 19:10…1a (page 279)
    • Num 28:3ab…8 (page 279)
    • Num 30:3…16 (page 281)
    • The Syntactical Features of Continuity and Discontinuity (page 283)
    • Asyndetic Clauses (page 285)
    • Subordinate Clauses (page 286)
    • Conjunctive Clauses (page 286)
    • Consecutive Clauses (page 287)
    • Clauses with an Extraposed Constituent Preceding the Clause (page 287)
    • Independent Syntactical Constituents (page 289)
  • Chapter Five Reading and Living:the Relevance of Abstraction (page 291)
    • The Process of Abstraction (page 293)
    • Abstraction and Rhetoric (page 295)
    • Rhetoric and Reading (page 297)
    • Reading and Living (page 299)
    • Reading, Living and Abstraction (page 304)
  • Reference List (page 311)
  • Index of Modern Authors (page 323)
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