• The Origin and Interpretation of ṣāra‘at in Leviticus 13–14

    Author(s):
    Joel Baden (see profile) , Candida Moss
    Date:
    2011
    Subject(s):
    Disability studies, Bible. Pentateuch, P document (Biblical criticism)
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Leviticus, Hebrew bible, Pentateuch, Priestly literature
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/mbh3-eg30
    Abstract:
    Of all the eccentricities and diversities of human embodiment, no physical abnormality seems to have captured the imagination of biblical authors so much as sara'at ( צרעת ), “skin disease,” which is accorded detailed treatment in both Priestly legislation and non-Priestly narratives. Scholarly treatments of the condition have tended to view the diverse scriptural portraits as descriptions of the same condition: an essentially homogeneous medical condition with, importantly, a single cause. This approach rides roughshod over the diverse views of the various biblical authors. In this article we will first examine the Priestly notion of the origin of sara'at, with the specific intent of demonstrating that, unlike the non-Priestly narratives, the Priestly laws of Leviticus 13–14 do not present sara'at as a divine punishment for human sin. The second part of the essay provides a brief overview of how three distinct hermeneutical groups—precritical interpreters, historical-critical scholars, and scholars of disability studies—understand (or fail to understand) the distinctive claims of the Priestly legislation regarding sara'at.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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