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Reading Law

Paperback|Jun 1999
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$98.99

Watts argues that rhetorical strategies shaped the Pentateuch's structure, contents and depiction of God and Moses in order to persuade Judeans that this Torah should define their identity as Israel.


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Watts argues that rhetorical strategies shaped the Pentateuch's structure, contents and depiction of God and Moses in order to persuade Judeans that this Torah should define their identity as Israel.
-Publisher


Watts here argues that conventions of oral rhetoric were adapted to shape the literary form and contents of the Pentateuch. The large-scale structure-stories introducing lists of laws that conclude with divine sanctions-reproduces a common ancient strategy for persuasion. The laws' use of direct address, historical motivations and frequent repetitions serve rhetorical ends, and even the legal contradictions seem designed to appeal to competing constituencies. The instructional speeches of God and Moses reinforce the persuasive appeal by characterizing God as a just ruler and Moses as a faithful scribe. The Pentateuch was designed to persuade Persian-period Judaeans that this Torah should define their identity as Israel.

-Publisher

PRODUCT DETAIL

James W Watts

James W. Watts is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. He is the author of Psalm and Story: Inset Hymns in Hebrew Narratives (1992), Reading Law: the Rhetorical Shaping of the Pentateuch (1999) and editor of Persia and Torah: The Theory of the Imperial Authorization of the Pentateuch (2001).

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