Herem in Biblical law and narrative
This dissertation uses comparative and literary methods to analyze the concept of h&dotbelow;erem in the legal and narrative portions of the Hebrew Bible. Unlike earlier scholarship on h&dotbelow;erem that focused on its origins, this analysis focuses instead on its function, and uses primarily synchronic methods to understand the concept across Biblical texts. ^ Chapter One analyzes h&dotbelow;erem in legal texts. These are divided into two subcategories. The sacred h&dotbelow;erem donations in Leviticus 27 are voluntary, irreversible gifts that transfer items to God's exclusive ownership. In contrast, the h&dotbelow;erem of the apostate city in Deuteronomy 13, and the h&dotbelow;erem against the Canaanite nations in Deuteronomy 7 and 20 are examples of sin h&dotbelow;erem: they are commanded, they address sin, either punitively or proactively, and they demand total eradication, which parallels punishments for treason in other ancient Near Eastern texts. Sin h&dotbelow;erem reaffirms God as the exclusive Suzerain of Israel. In both types of h&dotbelow;erem, the required completeness expresses the theological insistence on God's exclusivity. ^ Chapter Two examines the three h&dotbelow;erem narratives using literary tools and in light of the legal texts examined in Chapter One. In Numbers 21, there is a vow of sacred h&dotbelow;erem in connection with a request for victory in war. Joshua 6-7 includes both the sacred h&dotbelow;erem devotion of Jericho and that h&dotbelow;erem's violation, which has elements closely aligned to the sin h&dotbelow;erem of the apostate city. Finally I Samuel 15 describes the command to Saul to eradicate Amalek with h&dotbelow;erem and the consequences of his failure to do so completely. As in legal sin h&dotbelow;erem, the obligation to be complete in obeying the h&dotbelow;erem command is central. ^ We further find in the narratives a literary function in h&dotbelow;erem. It appears at moments of national transition: the preparation for entry into the land, the beginning of conquest, and the establishment of the monarchy. ^ Finally, we observe that just as the legal texts shared the connection between completeness in function and exclusivity in theology, we find that the same connection underpins the narratives. Completeness and exclusivity thus emerges as a hallmark of the concept of h&dotbelow;erem.^
Religion, Biblical Studies
"Herem in Biblical law and narrative"
(January 1, 2007).
Dissertations available from ProQuest.