Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Law and Literature. Interplay between Biblical Laws and Narratives



Gershon Hepner

Legal friction: law, narrative, and identity politics in biblical Israel

(Serie: Studies in Biblical Literature: 78)

Peter Lang Publishing, New York, 2010

ISBN 13: 9780820474625

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

Gershon Hepner (Leipzig, 1938). One day before the outbreak of World War Two, his parents moved the family to England. He graduated from medical school at St. Marys Hospital in London in 1963, with M.B., B.S. He emigrated to the USA in 1968, where he first followed a career in academic medicine as a hepatologist, but he later changed to private practice. Since 2000 he has published much of his research on texts of the Hebrew Bible. When not studying the Bible or rabbinic texts, he is often writing poems, whose topics range from the Bible to Bertolt Brecht to Bob Dylan. Many of them can be found on the Web.


Monte Sinaí. El Greco (1570-1576). Museo de Heraklion. Grecia

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