Legal Revision and Religious Renewal in Ancient Israel
This just might be the best book I’ve read in a long time. It’s challenged my assumptions about the development of the Hebrew Bible and the role of innovation alongside preservation. I don’t think I really understood inner-biblical exegesis before reading this book. The larger issue addressed by the book is the interplay between continuity and change within the biblical text itself. This was a familiar issue to me from the vantage point of classical rabbinic Judaism’s innovative re-creation of Judaism post-70 CE, but I had never considered it’s role in the development of the text I study primarily – the Hebrew Bible. Basically, later texts subtly undermine the plain sense of earlier texts and adapt the community’s thinking in such a way that the new innovative meaning is presented as the meaning that was there all along. Their exegesis changes the text, but they claim to have made no change.