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Leviticus 1-16 (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries) Hardcover – December 1, 1998

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About the Author

Jacob Milgrom is Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. The author of five scholarly books and more than two hundred articles, he was named a fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation, a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Jerusalem, and a senior fellow of the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research. Now retired, he and his wife, Jo, live in Jerusalem.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 1184 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (December 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300139403
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300139402
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 2.8 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,219,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Jacob Milgrom, a Conservative rabbi and modern Bible scholar, is a, if not the, leading authority on Leviticus. Milgrom's painstakingly thorough commentary on the first sixteen chapters of Leviticus has revolutionized the modern understanding of the rituals and practices described in the book.
Drawing upon classical (and some obscure) Jewish interpreters, modern scholarship, and his own brilliant insights, Milgrom argues that Leviticus' seemingly dry recounting of rituals and practices expresses a profound theology of Israel, a theology based upon life and death, good and evil, with the G*d of Israel supreme. Milgrom argues that Leviticus banishes demons from its theology and posits man's choices as the cause of evil. Analogizing the sacrificial system to "The Portrait of Dorian Grey", Milgrom argues that sin creates impurity on the Tabernacle and the more serious the sin, the more severe the pollution. Pollution unchecked can drive the divine presence from the people's midst. Sacrifice (chiefly the hattat/purification offering) served to remove the impurity but only if the sinner was motivated by asham/guilt.
In addition to explaining the differing types of sacrifices, Milgrom also explains the dietary laws (kashrut) as a reflection of the priestly theology. To twist a phrase, taxonomy recapitulates theology. Milgrom argues that the dietary laws reflected and fostered a profound respect for life, both animal and human.
Milgrom also investigates in detail the purity laws regulating childbirth, menstruation, sex, certain diseases and similar physical causes of impurities.
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Format: Hardcover
I regard this commentary as the best one I have ever used in studying through a Bible book. I chose to read it along with both the Hebrew and Septuagint text of Leviticus. I frequently complain of commentaries that while they are good in one area they are often not so good in others. Of course, if they were good in all areas, then they would be too large.

In this case, Milgrom covers everything from source and redaction criticism, through both Jewish and Christian commentary through the centuries, to detailed original analysis. He doesn't neglect relating the text to theology either. Of course, that leaves the one complaint--that at three volumes, this commentary is too large.

Because of the combined depth and breadth, I found studying Leviticus with this commentary to be an exciting spiritual journey as well as an intellectually stimulating one. Dr. Milgrom covers numerous vexing problems in the text in great detail. He generally explains opposing positions so well that you can start arguing for them. In fact, while you read his summary of the evidence in favor of opposing positions you might even forget that they are not actually HIS positions.

Extensive indexing and references makes the three volume set (this one, Leviticus 17-22 (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries), and Leviticus 23-27 (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries)) extremely valuable for reference as well as extended study.

One of the key topics in the book is the dating of Pentateuchal sources. While Dr.
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Comment 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
Jacob Milgrom, a Conservative rabbi and modern Bible scholar, is a, if not the, leading authority on Leviticus. Milgrom's painstakingly thorough commentary on the first sixteen chapters of Leviticus has revolutionized the modern understanding of the rituals and practices described in the book.
Drawing upon classical (and some obscure) Jewish interpreters, modern scholarship, and his own brilliant insights, Milgrom argues that Leviticus' seemingly dry recounting of rituals and practices expresses a profound theology of Israel, a theology based upon life and death, good and evil, with the G*d of Israel supreme. Milgrom argues that Leviticus banishes demons from its theology and posits man's choices as the cause of evil. Analogizing the sacrificial system to "The Portrait of Dorian Grey", Milgrom argues that sin creates impurity on the Tabernacle and the more serious the sin, the more severe the pollution. Pollution unchecked can drive the divine presence from the people's midst. Sacrifice (chiefly the hattat/purification offering) served to remove the impurity but only if the sinner was motivated by asham/guilt.
In addition to explaining the differing types of sacrifices, Milgrom also explains the dietary laws (kashrut) as a reflection of the priestly theology. To twist a phrase, taxonomy recapitulates theology. Milgrom argues that the dietary laws reflected and fostered a profound respect for life, both animal and human.
Milgrom also investigates in detail the purity laws regulating childbirth, menstruation, sex, certain diseases and similar physical causes of impurities.
Read more ›
Comment 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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