Leviticus (Continental Commentary) (Continental Commentaries) (Continental Commentaries Series) Kindle Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
This more modest volume, issued by Fortress Press, can best be described as a condensation of Milgrom?s Anchor Bible commentary. Milgrom eliminates almost all his discussion of the dating of the text, arcane questions of etymology, syntax and grammar, and his thorough reviews of scholarly opinions, both modern and ancient, on various issues. Instead, Milgrom's concentrates on explaining the basics of Leviticus when viewed within the context of the ancient world.
Milgrom argues that the authors of Leviticus, which he identifies as "P" (Priestly source, chiefly Lev. 1-16) and "H" (Holiness source, chiefly Lev. 17-27), while preserving many rituals and customs that Israel shared with its neighbors, infused them with a profound theology unique to Israel, a theology founded upon a radical monotheism that banished demons from the world and posited man?s choices as the chief source of good and evil.
Readers who don't want to shell out more than $100 for the three volume Anchor Bible commentary and wade through thousands of pages of text will find in this more modest volume most of Milgrom's principal insights.
Milgrom explains how P transformed the ancient concept of purity and impurity so that it became part of an overall system reflecting profound values of life and death, with holiness being linked to life and impurity to death. Milgrom argues that P limited the physical causes of impurity to a mere handful all of which are connected with death. In contrast, P taught that the chief source of impurity was man?s sin, the more serious the sin the more severe the impurity it created. Man?s sin generates impurity which pollutes the Tabernacle and, if not expurgated by sincere repentance and sacrifice, will drive God?s presence from the Tabernacle. Milgrom also demonstrates how the dietary laws in Leviticus are part of an overall ethos which seeks to limit human consumption of meat and to instill in Israel an abiding respect for life, both animal and human.
Milgrom also argues that H built upon the foundation laid by P, expanding the concept of holiness to encompass not just the Tabernacle/Temple but the entire land of Israel, which according to H absorbed the impurities caused by the people's sins. H teaches that if the people continue in their sinful ways by disobeying God, the land will vomit the people out and people will not be permitted to return from exile until they have repented and the purity of the land has been restored by the passage of time. H, moreover, transforms P by teaching that holiness is not limited to the priesthood but is attainable by all of Israel. H commands that the priests to maintain their holiness and the people to attain holiness, but the means of maintaining and attaining holiness are the same - obedience to God's commandments.
To be precise, it is not accurate to say that according to Milgrom, H teaches that the land of Israel is holy. In fact, Milgrom argues that neither P nor H label the land as holy. However, according to Milgrom, H teaches that the land is susceptible to pollution caused by the people's sins. Thus the people and the land share a common bond - both are susceptible to impurity and the holiness of the land depends upon the conduct of those living on it. Thus, Milgrom says, H teaches on the one hand that both the land and the people are defiled by the people's sins and, on the other hand, the people explicitly and the land implicitly are sanctified by the people's obedience to God's commands. For H, the holiness of the people is a goal, not yet attained, and therefore the land is not yet holy. However, holiness for both is the goal.
I struggled considering whether to give this volume the highest rating. Overall, Milgrom's Anchor Bible commentary on Leviticus is better, but this volume does a tremendous job of serving the needs of readers who don't have the time or the money to purchase and study the Anchor commentary. Moreover, this shorter commentary contains several homiletic reflections by Milgrom that do not appear in his more scholarly Anchor Bible commentary. If you want a relatively inexpensive and manageable commentary on Leviticus and don't mind missing many of the more esoteric but equally enlightening insights in the Anchor Bible commentary which have been omitted due to the constraints of this series, this shorter commentary by Milgrom is for you. Myself, I prefer my Prometheus unbound!