Text and Ritual in the Pentateuch

A Systematic and Comparative Approach

Edited by Christophe Nihan, Julia Rhyder

Hardback - £103.95

Publication date:

07 October 2021

Length of book:

348 pages

Publisher

Eisenbrauns

ISBN-13: 9781646021413

The first five books of the Hebrew Bible contain a significant number of texts describing ritual practices. Yet it is often unclear how these sources would have been understood or used by ancient audiences in the actual performance of cult. This volume explores the processes of ritual textualization (the creation of a written version of a ritual) in ancient Israel by probing the main conceptual and methodological issues that inform the study of this topic in the Pentateuch.

This systematic and comparative study of text and ritual in the first five books of the Hebrew Bible maps the main areas of consensus and disagreement among scholars engaged in articulating new models for understanding the relationship between text and ritual and explores the importance of comparative evidence for the study of pentateuchal rituals. Topics include ritual textualization in ancient Anatolia, Egypt, Greece, and Mesopotamia; the importance of archaeology and materiality for the study of text and ritual in ancient Israel; the relationship between ritual textualization and standardization in the Pentateuch; the reception of pentateuchal ritual texts in Second Temple writings and rabbinic literature; and the relationship between text and ritual in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

In addition to the editors, the contributors to this volume include Dorothea Erbele-Küster, Daniel K. Falk, Yitzhaq Feder, Christian Frevel, William K. Gilders, Dominique Jaillard, Giuseppina Lenzo, Lionel Marti, Patrick Michel, Rüdiger Schmitt, Jeremy D. Smoak, and James W. Watts.

“The contributions to Text and Ritual in the Pentateuch contrast the relationship between text and ritual in ancient Israel with that of other ancient Mediterranean and Western Asian societies and thus gain new insights for the challenge of reconstructing the performance of ancient rituals from written sources.”

—Thomas Hieke, author of Die Genealogien der Genesis