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Coogan Research Essay

3573 words - 15 pages

Scholarly Journal
The “Journal for the Study of the Old Testament” had a very interesting topic that is discussed almost an unlimited amount of times in today’s society. The topic is sex, and how it is defined in Leviticus, with particular attention to Leviticus 18:6-23. This is due to the fact that in chapter 18 of Leviticus, it is formatted in such a way where it is laid out as law, or apodictic law. The author tries to deviate from just explaining what the scriptures mean in its context, but instead tries to use the contextual format from the chapters before and after chapter 18 to see what its true interpretation should lay on.
Leviticus Chapter 18:6-23 is Lord God talking ...view middle of the document...

Leviticus 18:21. (Collins, Harper pg 178) God later goes from sacrificing your children to then stating “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. Leviticus 18:22. (Collins, Harper pg 178) It is this format and way that confuses people and helps in only confusing their way of interpretation on what these verses stand for and represent.
The author Doug C. Mohrmann, takes a closer analysis of Chapter 18 in Leviticus to try to make sense of it and as well, to contend or a new understanding. “This study contends for a new understanding of Leviticus 18 by pursuing a line of analysis between the legal material in vv. 6-23 and the chapter’s framing material, vv. 1-5, 24-30.” (Mohrmann, Doug pg 58) In order for Mohrmann to successfully be able to link the discrepancies in Chapter 18 of Leviticus and give a better outlook and understanding, two major problems have to be overcome. The first problem is that there is a redaction-critical issue which arises from their stylistic differences. The format in which God speaks to Moses is different between the other verses in Chapter 18 and the verses chapter 18 that pertain to 6-23. “The problem of style is obvious since vv. 1-5 exhibit narrative qualities while vv. 6-23 preserve apodictic law.” (Mohrmann, Doug pg 58) The second issue that has to be vanquished is that readers have noticed that the first five verses admonish Israel to separate itself from Egypt and Cannan, “You shall not do as they do in the Land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not follow their statutes” Leviticus 18:3. (Collins, Harper pg 177) At the same token verses 6-23 in Leviticus presents a series of regulations which were not peculiarly Israelite. Mohrmann notes that this becomes uncertain because the incest laws would distinguish Israel even from Egypt where it is known that the royal family occasionally allowed some incestuous unions. (Mohrmann, Doug pg 58) It is for these reasons that the understanding and coherency of verses 6-23 in Leviticus 18 cast major doubt and discontent.
Mohrmann did an analysis on the framing material used in Leviticus 18 and examined closely the differences between Leviticus 18:1-5, 6-23 and 24-30. “First, a closer look at the framing material finds the language of vv. 1-5 resurfacing in vv. 24-30 which thereby creates the effect of two bookends holding up the material in vv. 6-23. Similarly, parallels between the framing material in chapters 18 and 20 should be recognized as Table 1 reveals. All four sections of the frames mention the behavior of God’s people in the land with other peoples or in distinction to them.” (Mohrmann, Doug pg 62) The framework differs from these three sets of verses, this is to weave together the sections to fit the laws of the nation. Another analysis noted the writing were written for Men, this is because in the way the language speaks it is also towards the...

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