John E. Hartley Analysis

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Leviticus is often considered a work of several authors over a long period of time, mostly during the exile of Israel in Babylonia. There are several proposal dates for these incest laws. On the one hand, according to John E. Hartley, the suggestion varies between scholars. He points a few proposals: “Elliger locates the old kernel in a nomadic era.” Then he adds, “Kilian and Reventlow assign the laws to the wilderness period.” While, “Bigger believes that the decrees govern a household, and not the extended family, and thus come from a much later time when the people lived in smaller groups in an urban setting.” Hartley concludes that these laws have different proposals, which shows that it is hard to date ancient material.
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21 interrupts the whole sequence of sexual prohibitions, and therefore biblical commentators have argued that the verse divide this section into two parts. This verse seems to be unrelated to the chapter 18, and it also confronts problems of interpretation. Leading scholars to highly debated this verse, which has lead to a twofold conclusion: a) the verse is not related to the sexual prohibitions presented in the chapter, and b) Mōlek worship was included among prohibited sexual unions because it was labeled as תּוֹעֵבָ֖ה. Rashi indicates that whoever gives her offspring to Mōlek is liable to kārēt. He argues that the one is accountable to kārēt once the zārâʿ is giving to Mōlek, i.e. the whole ritual. Milgrom provides six solutions addressing the question of why Mōlek worship was inserted in this section, which leads oneself to suggest that the verse is placed here because of its historical-socio-religious context. Historically speaking, the Canaanites used to worship Mōlek resulting in their kārēt from the Land of Canaan, i.e., the Land is seen as Holy. Then, the reason for including the verse is to prevent the Israelites from sinning against YHWH. It is well attested in the HB that idolatry is a serious violation against God’s commandment, and automatically one is liable to
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