Date of Award
Master of Arts
Master of Divinity, MDiv: Old Testament
A. Josef Greig
Problem The laws of clean and unclean foods in Lev 11 and Deut 14: 3:21 have fascinated and perplexed generations of b ib lica l scholars. A great v ariety of suggestions have been proposed as reasons fo r the distin ctio n between the clean and unclean animals. Modern b ib lica l scholars claim, however, that the Levitical and Deuteronomic codes are in tern a lly inconsistent. These claims are of s u ffic ie n t magnitude that i f true might c a ll into question the assumption th at both were given by God at one time. Therefore, i t is the purpose of this study to re-examine the Old Testament sources and from the a p p lication of a c r itic a l hermeneutic to the te x t discover the possible reasons for the existence o f, and the differences in , the codes in the cultures in which they were given and used. Method The classical hermeneutical approach was employed whereby a hypothesis was formulated regarding the date, authorship, inten tion, and function of the codes. The u n it was then observed as a whole and the internal order and structure noted. Also, the flu id state o f the text was considered. That is , i t was recognized that the work of ed itin g , compiling, and updating was ongoing. Conclusion Although the two codes probably derived from a common ancient source during the monarchical period, independent c rys ta lliza tio n s occurred during the division of Israel and Judah. The individual h isto rical and ideological contexts precipitated metamorphoses in the codes which resulted in the differences. A fter 721 B.C. some compromise measures were attempted in an e ffo rt to re-amalgamate the two trad itio n s . The Deuteronomic and P rie s tly codes functioned uniquely in th e ir respective environments as did the food laws in succeeding communities which observed the animal classificatio n s. Although the ordinances themselves remained re la tiv e ly unchanged, each community attributed a d iffe re n t rationale to the clean/unclean d istin c tio n . Five rationales have been proposed. Each were o rig in a lly emphasized by a d iffe re n t community in accordance with its presuppositions, needs, and resources.
Fletcher-Watts, Vivienne J., "A Study of Deuteronomic and Priestly Legislation With Particular Reference to Clean and Unclean Foods" (1982). Master's Theses. 8.
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