Theology 6314, The Law of Moses

St. Mary’s University
Fall 2014
Dr. Todd Hanneken (EMAIL)

Jump to current (LINK)

August 20, Introductions and Start Decalogue (Exodus 20:1–18 and Deuteronomy 5)

Syllabus (PDF)

Decalogue handout (PDF)

Handout on transgenerational punishment (PDF)

Slideshow (PPT)

August 27, The Decalogue and Its Status in Interpretation

Reading guide (HTML)

Collins, “Introduction,” pp. 1–13; and “The Revelation at Sinai,” pp. 73–83

Blenkinsopp, “Ordering Life by Law,” pp. 84–89; and “Decalogue,” pp. 102–106

Kugel, “At Mt. Sinai [part 1],” pp. 373–395

Geza Vermes, “The Decalogue and the Minim” (PDF)

Select New Testament passages on the Law (PDF)

Philo of Alexandria, excerpts from On the Decalogue (PDF)

September 3, The Covenant Code, Hammurabi

Guide for Final Paper (HTML)

Reading guide (HTML)

Collins, “Near Eastern Context,” pp. 17–29

Blenkinsopp, “Law in Early Israel,” pp. 90–93; and “Covenant Code,” pp. 94–102

Exodus 20:19—23:33

Roth, “Hammurabi,” pp. 76–140

September 10, The Covenant Code, Life, Personal Status and Slavery

Reading guide (HTML)

Greenberg, “Some Postulates of Biblical Criminal Law” (PDF)

Westbrook, “Personal Status [in the Ancient Near East]” (PDF)

Frymer-Kensky, “Personal Status [in Israel]” (PDF)

Matthews, “The Anthropology of Slavery in the Covenant Code” (PDF)

Kugel, “At Mt. Sinai [part 2],” pp. 395–414

Optional: Greenberg on Kaufmann (PDF)

September 17, Deuteronomy

Reading guide (HTML)

Deuteronomy 12–26

2 Kings 22–23

Collins, Chapter 8, “Deuteronomy,” pp. 97–108

Collins, end of Chapter 14, “The End of the Kingdom of Israel,” and “Judah in the Assyrian Crisis” pp. 179–184

Blenkinsopp, “Deuteronomy,” pp. 107–119

Levinson, “The First Constitution” (Cardozo Law Review 27, 2006) (PDF)

September 24, Deuteronomy, Family and Inheritance Law

Reading guide (HTML)

LH 137–140 and 148–149; Deuteronomy 22–25; Malachi 2:13–16; Matthew 19:1–12 (divorce)

Numbers 27:1–11; 36 (inheritance)

Numbers 30 (vows)

Westbrook, “Family Law [in the Ancient Near East]” and “Property [in the Ancient Near East]” (PDF)

Frymer-Kensky, “Family Law [in Israel]” and “Property [in Israel]” (PDF)

LH 131–132 and Numbers 5 (suspicion of adultery)

Matthews, “Honor and Shame in Gender-Related Legal Situations in the Hebrew Bible.” (PDF)

October 1, Deuteronomy, Premodern and Feminist Interpretation

Reading guide (HTML)

Schneiders, “The Bible and Feminism: Biblical Theology.” (PDF)

Laws Addressing the Rape of an Unbetrothed Girl (in the reading guide)

Genesis 34

Kugel 233–244

Jubilees 30 (PDF)

Frymer-Kensky, “Virginity in the Bible.” (PDF)

October 8, Holiness Code

Reading guide (HTML)

Collins, “The Nature of the Pentateuchal Narrative,” pp. 31–40, and “The Priestly Theology,” 85–95

Blenkinsopp, “The Priestly History,” and “Cultic and Ritual Laws,” pp. 120–133

Leviticus 17–26, “The Holiness Code”

Milgrom, Jacob. Leviticus 17–22: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. New York: Doubleday, 2000. Excerpts on Holiness, Ethics, and Land, pp. 1397–1405, 1711–1726. (PDF)

October 15, Holiness Code, Conflict Resolution

Reading guide (HTML)

Leviticus 19:16–18

Proverbs 9:7–8

Sirach 19:5–16

Sectarian rules from the Dead Sea Scrolls (PDF)

Matthew 7:1–5

Matthew 18, especially 18:15–17

The Didache (PDF)

Kugel, “Worship in the Wilderness [part 2],” pp. 451–460

Roth, “Mesopotamian Legal Traditions and the Laws of Hammurabi” (PDF)

Optional: The Damascus Document (from the sectarian literature associated with the Dead Sea Scrolls) (HTML)

October 22, The Priestly Source, Purity and Social Order in Daily Life

Reading guide (HTML)

Leviticus 10–16

Kugel, “Worship in the Wilderness [part 1]” (pp. 441–451)

Douglas, Mary. Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo, pp. 41–57. New York: Praeger, 1966. (PDF)

Klawans, Jonathan. Impurity and Sin in Ancient Judaism, pp. v–ix, 21–42. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. (PDF)

Milgrom, Jacob. Leviticus 1–16: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, pp. 42–51, The Anchor Bible 3. New York: Doubleday, 1991. (PDF)

Optional: Milgrom, Jacob. “Israel’s Sanctuary: The Priestly ‘Picture of Dorian Gray’.” Revue Biblique, no. 83 (1976): 390–399. (PDF)

October 29, The Priestly Source, Hierocracy

Reading guide (HTML)

Optional: Cody, Aelred, O.S.B. A History of the Old Testament Priesthood, pp. 146–174. Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1969. (PDF)
Optional: Blenkinsopp, Joseph. “The Judaean Priesthood during the Neo-Babylonian and Achaemenid Periods: A Hypothetical Reconstruction.” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 60.1 (1998) pp. 25–43. (PDF)

Exodus 32

Numbers 16

Numbers 18

Numbers 25

Ezekiel 44:10–16

Kugel, “The Golden Calf” (pp. 417–437)

November 5, Narrative as Law, National Identity

Reading guide (HTML)

Collins chapter 4, “The Patriarchs” pp. 51–62 (Recommended: chapter 5, “The Exodus from Egypt” pp. 73–83)

Genesis 12–23

Kugel “Abraham Journeys from Chaldea,” pp. 133–148; “The Trials of Abraham,” pp. 165–178.

Hanneken, Todd. “Jubilees: Introduction,” in Early Jewish Literature: An Introduction and Reader. Archie T. Wright, Ron Herms and Brad Embry, eds. Eerdmans, forthcoming, pp. 1–5. (PDF)

Jubilees 11:11—12:27; 17:15—18:19, and skim through the rest of the Abraham cycle, Jubilees 11–23 (PDF)

Dershowitz, Alan M. “Abraham Commits Attempted Murder—and Is Praised,” in The Genesis of Justice: Ten Stories of Biblical Injustice that Led to the Ten Commandments and Modern Law. New York: Warner Books, 2000. (PDF)

November 12, Narrative as Law, Fraud and International Relations

Reading guide (HTML)

Genesis 25:19—35:29

Kugel, “Jacob and Esau,” pp. 199–214

Jubilees 35:9—38:14 (PDF)

Dershowitz, Alan M. “Jacob Deceives—and Gets Deceived,” in The Genesis of Justice: Ten Stories of Biblical Injustice that Led to the Ten Commandments and Modern Law. New York: Warner Books, 2000. (PDF)

Barmash, Pamela. “The Narrative Quandary: Cases of Law in Literature.” Vetus Testamentum 54, no. 1 (2004): 1–16. (PDF)

November 19, Narrative as Law, The Meaning of Life (Primordial Etiology)

Reading guide (HTML)

Genesis 1:1—4:1

Collins, “The Primeval History,” pp. 41–48

Plato, excerpt from Symposium, translated by William S. Cobb (1993) (PDF)

Kugel, “Adam and Eve,” pp. 67–82 (also 85–87 on the conception of Cain)

Jubilees 1:1—4:1 with comparison and notes in Hanneken, “Jubilees: Reader” pp. 7–16 (PDF)

Augustine, excerpts from City of God (PDF)

Phyllis Trible, God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality (pp. 94–102) (PDF)

November 26, No Class (Thanksgiving)

This article in the New York Times (LINK) should look a little familiar (Dershowtiz, putting a patriarch on trial). I hope that this course will enhance your appreciation of things like this in the media and other parts of life. For example, I hope the categories pre-modern, modern, and post-modern enlighten the significance of Spitzer’s decision to stick with arguments from contemporary American law and Dershowitz’s use of the Talmud.

December 3, Research Reports

Everyone (who is writing a paper) will have 10–12 minutes of class time to discuss your paper topic with the class. You won’t have time to make every point. I suggest starting with explaining what is the issue or question you are addressing and why it is important (why anyone should care). Then share your tentative thesis. Then explain your tentative plans for the basic structure to support the thesis. Leave time at the end to gather feedback from your peers.

Of course the other side of the coin is to be a good audience to others. Listen attentively, offer constructive feedback, and don’t distract the presenter (even if you are next or just went).

December 10, Final Exam

December 14, Final Paper Due

Guide for Final Paper (HTML)


Subject to frequent revision
Last updated 12/10/2014