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The Casuistic Priestly Law in Ancient Mediterranean Context: The History of the Genre and its Sitz im Leben *

  • Guy Darshan (a1)


While numerous scholars have compared the Priestly regulations in the Pentateuch to ancient Near Eastern “ritual texts,” the Priestly legal material more generally corresponds in form and style to ancient Near Eastern casuistic law collections than to descriptive or prescriptive “ritual texts.” At the same time, ancient Near Eastern law collections do not contain any ritual or religious ordinances, relating instead primarily to civil and financial affairs or social law and order. This paper examines the formal, substantive, and generic affinities between the Priestly laws and the casuistic Greek “Sacred Laws” inscribed on stone and other materials throughout the eastern Mediterranean basin from the sixth century BCE onwards. Analysis of related Northwest-Semitic and Punic texts, as well as potential precedents from the Hittite world, further contributes to our understanding of the Sitz im Leben of the casuistic Priestly law.



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An early version of this paper was presented at a joint Harvard Law School and Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard University seminar dedicated to the topic of Jewish Law while I was a Harry Starr Fellow in 2015. My thanks go to the participants for their comments—in particular Profs. Noah Feldman, Shaye J. D. Cohen, Jay M. Harris, and Bernard Septimus, and to my colleagues in this group—Dr. Hila Ben-Eliyahu, Prof. Chaya Halberstam, Prof. Yair Lorberbaum, Prof. Amihai Radzyner, and Dr. Roni Shweka. I am grateful also to Prof. Baruch J. Schwartz who read an earlier version of this paper.



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1 See the surveys by Watts, James W., “The Rhetoric of Ritual Instruction in Leviticus 1–7,” in The Book of Leviticus: Composition and Reception (ed. Rendtorff, R. and Kugler, R. A.; VTSup 93; Leiden: Brill, 2003) 79100, at 89–90; Sparks, Kenton L., Ancient Texts for the Study of the Hebrew Bible: A Guide to the Background Literature (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2005) 144–47; Weinfeld, Moshe, The Place of the Law in the Religion of Ancient Israel (VTSup 100; Leiden: Brill, 2004) 3463 .

2 “Wir bezeichenen diese Gattung als ‘Ritual’ ( Rendtorff, Rolf, Die Gesetze in der Priesterschrift: eine gattungsgeschichtliche Untersuchung [FRLANT 44; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1954] 12). See also Koch, who sought to reconstruct the original “ritual” behind Exodus 25–40 and Leviticus 1–16: Koch, Klaus Die Priesterschrift von Exodus 25 bis Leviticus 16: Eine überlieferungsgeschichtliche und literarkritische Untersuchung (FRLANT 53; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1959) 4676 .

3 Levine, Baruch A., “Ugaritic Descriptive Rituals,” JCS 17 (1963) 105–11; idem, “The Descriptive Tabernacle Texts of the Pentateuch,” JAOS 85 (1965) 307–18; idem, “The Descriptive Ritual Texts from Ugarit: Some Formal and Functional Features of the Genre,” in The Word of the Lord Shall Go Forth: Essays in Honor of David Noel Freedman (ed. C. L. Meyers and M. O'Connor; Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1983) 465–75; idem, Numbers 1–20 (AB 4; Garden City: Doubleday, 1993) 81–82; Hallo, William W. and Levine, Baruch A., “Offerings to the Temple Gates at Ur,” HUCA 38 (1967) 1758 ; Levine, Baruch A. and Tarragon, Jean-Michel de, “The King Proclaims the Day: Ugaritic Rites for the Vintage (KTU 1.41//1.87)RB 100 (1993) 76115 . See also Rainey, Anson F., “The Order of Sacrifices in Old Testament Ritual Texts,” Bib 51 (1970) 485–98. The reading of some verbal forms as indicative being debatable, however, some texts may have been misclassified. Thus, for example, while Levine regards the Ugaritic ritual texts as descriptive, others regard them as prescriptive: see Moor, Johannes C. de, An Anthology of Religious Texts from Ugarit (Nisaba 16; Leiden: Brill, 1987) 157 ; Pardee, Dennis, Ritual and Cult at Ugarit (Writings from the Ancient World 10; Atlanta: SBL, 2002) 25116 .

4 Hallo and Levine, “Offerings to the Temple Gates,” 18; Levine, Baruch A., Leviticus (JPS Torah Commentary Philadelphia: JPS, 1989) xix, xxixxiii .

5 See for example, Blome, Friedrich, Die Opfermaterie in Babylonien und Israel (Sacra scriptura antiquitatibus orientalibus illustrata 4; Rome: Pontificium Institutum Biblicum, 1934); Haran, Menahem, Temples and Temple Service in Ancient Israel (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1985) 221–24; Weinfeld, The Place of the Law, 34–63; Lambert, Wilfred G., “Donations of Food and Drink to the Gods in Ancient Mesopotamia,” in Ritual and Sacrifice in the Ancient Near East (ed. Quaegebeur, Jan; Leuven: Peeters, 1993) 191201 ; Sparks, Ancient Texts, 149–55.

6 See, for example, Weinfeld, The Place of the Law, 47–51; Wright, David P., The Disposal of Impurity: Elimination Rites in the Bible and in Hittite and Mesopotamian Literature (Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1987) 1586, 291–99; Olmo Lete, Gregorio Del, Canaanite Religion According to the Liturgical Texts of Ugarit (trans. W. G. E. Watson; Bethesda: CDL Press, 1999) 144–60; Sparks, Ancient Texts, 161–65; Ayali-Darshan, Noga, “The Origin and Meaning of the Crimson Thread in the Mishnaic Scapegoat Ritual in Light of an Ancient Syro-Anatolian Custom,” JSJ 44 (2013) 530–52.

7 Unless otherwise noted, biblical quotations follow the NJPS with minor changes.

8 Yaron, Reuven, The Laws of Eshnunna (2d ed.; Jerusalem: Magnes, 1988) 63, 101–102; Paul, Shalom M., Studies in the Book of the Covenant in the Light of Cuneiform and Biblical Law (VTSup 18 Leiden: Brill, 1970) 112–18; Gilmer, Harry Wesley, The If–You Form in Israelite Law (SBLDS 15; Missoula: Scholars Press, 1975) 126 ; Jackson, Bernard, “Exodus 21:18–19 and the Origins of the Casuistic Form,” Israel Law Review 33 (1999) 798820, at 803–804; Levinson, Bernard M. and Zahn, Molly M., “Revelation Regained: The Hermeneutics of יכ and םא in the Temple Scroll,” in A More Perfect Torah: At the Intersection of Philology and Hermeneutics in Deuteronomy and the Temple Scroll (ed. Levinson, B. M.; Critical Studies in the Hebrew Bible 1; Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2013) 343 .

9 The legal material has long been the object of comparative study, beginning with Jirku, Anton, Das weltliche Recht im Alten Testament (Gütersloh: C. Bertelsmann, 1927). See also Alt, Albrecht, Die Urspünge des israelitischen Rechts (Leipzig: S. Hirzel, 1934). For the conditional sentences in biblical and ancient Near Eastern law collections, see more recently Wright, David P., Inventing God's Law: How the Covenant Code of the Bible Used and Revised the Laws of Hammurabi (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009); Bartor, Assnat, Reading Law as Narrative: A Study in the Casuistic Laws of the Pentateuch (Ancient Israel and its Literature 5; Atlanta: SBL, 2010); Malul, Meir, Law Collections and Other Legal Compilations from the Ancient Near East (Haifa: Pardes, 2010) 2225 (Hebrew); Levinson and Zahn, “Revelation Regained,” 8–10.

10 See Exod 30:33, 38, 35:21, 23; Lev 15:5, 21:18, 19, 21, 22:3, 4, 5; Num 5:10, 30, 19:20 (all P). See also Deut 23:11.

11 Horowitz, Wayne, Oshima, Takayoshi, and Vukosavović, Filip, “Hazor 18: Fragments of a Cuneiform Law Collection from Hazor,” IEJ 62 (2012) 158176 .

12 See Segert, Stanislav, “Form and Function of Ancient Israelite, Greek and Roman Legal Sentences,” in Orient and Occident: Essays Presented to Cyrus H. Gordon on the Occasion of His Sixty-Fifth Birthday (ed. Hoffner, H. A.; AOAT 22; Kevelaer: Butzon & Bercker; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1973) 161–65; Westbrook, Raymond, Ex Oriente Lex: Near Eastern Influences on Ancient Greek and Roman Law (ed. Lyons, D. and Raaflaub, K.; Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015) 70114, 181–93. For another comparative approach relating to the Gortyn law code and Deuteronomy, see Hagedorn, Anselm C., Between Moses and Plato: Individual and Society in Deuteronomy and Ancient Greek Law (FAT 204; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2004); Hagedorn, Anselm C. and Kratz, Reinhard G., ed., Law and Religion in the Eastern Mediterranean: From Antiquity to Early Islam (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013). See also Knoppers, Gary N. and Harvey, Paul B., “The Pentateuch in Ancient Mediterranean Context: The Publication of Local Lawcodes,” in The Pentateuch as Torah: New Models for Understanding its Promulgation and Acceptance (ed. Knoppers, G.N. and Levinson, B.M.; Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2007), 105–41.

13 See Willetts, R. F., The Law Code of Gortyn (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1967); Kristensen, Karen Rørby, “Codification, Tradition, and Innovation in the Law Code of Gortyn,” Dike 7 (2004) 135–68; Gagarin, Michael, Writing Greek Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008) 122–75.

14 For the date of the Roman Duodecim Tabulae, see, for example, Johnston, David, Roman Law in Context (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999) 2 ; Flach, Dieter, Die Gesetze der frühen römischen Republik (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1994) 109207 ; Watson, Alan, The State, Law and Religion: Pagan Rome (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1992) 129 ; Robinson, Olivia F., The Sources of Roman Law: Problems and Methods of Ancient Historians (London: Routledge, 1997) 12 ; Mousourakis, George, A Legal History of Rome (London: Routledge, 2007) 2427 .

15 “(2) Si membrum rupsit, ni cum eo pacit, talio esto. (3) Manii fustive si os fregit <collisitve> libero CCC, si servo CL poenam subito [sestertiorum]. (4) Si iniuriam [alteri] faxsit, XXV [aeris] poenae sunto” (“[2] If [someone] has maimed another's limb, let there be retaliation in kind, unless he makes agreement for composition with him. [3] If he has broken or bruised freeman's bone with hand or club, he shall undergo a penalty of 300 pieces, if slave's, 150. [4] If he has done simple harm [to another], penalties shall be 25 pieces”). For the text and English translation, see Warmington, Brian Herbert, Remains of Old Latin. Vol. 3: Lucilius, the Twelve Tables (LCL; London: Heinemann, 1957) 476–78.

16 Cf. Yaron (The Laws of Eshnunna, 107–108), who maintains that the casuistic formulation originated in the court setting, only later being adapted by legislators.

17 For casuistic formulation in ancient Near Eastern omen literature, see, for example, Bottero, Jean, Mesopotamia: Writing, Reasoning, and the Gods (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992) 187–94; Guinan, Ann K., “A Severed Head Laughed: Stories of Divinatory Interpretation,” in Magic and Divination in the Ancient World (ed. Ciraolo, L. J. and Seidel, J. L.; Leiden: Brill, 2002) 740, at 9–12; Annus, Amar, “On the Beginnings and Continuities of Omen Sciences in the Ancient World,” in Divination and Interpretation of Signs in the Ancient World (ed. A. Annus; Oriental Institute Seminars 6; Chicago: Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 2010) 118, at 6–7; Francesca Rochberg, “‘If P, then Q’: Form and Reasoning in Babylonian Divination,” in ibid, 19–29. For the omen compendia, see Leichty, Erle, The Omen Series Šumma izbu (TCS 4; Locust Valley: J. J. Augustin, 1970); Freedman, Sally M., If a City is Set on a Height: The Akkadian Omen Series Šumma ālu ina mēlê šakin (Occasional Publications of the Samuel Noah Krammer Fund 17, 19; Philadelphia: Samuel Noah Kramer Fund, 1998–2006).

18 Westbrook, Raymond, “The Character of Ancient Near Eastern Law,” in A History of Ancient Near Eastern Laws (ed. Westbrook, R.; Leiden: Brill, 2003) 1:1718 . See, note 53 below, however.

19 For the hippiatric texts, see Cohen, Chaim, “The Ugaritic Hippiatric Texts: Revised Composite Text, Translation, and Commentary,” UF 28 (1996) 105–53; Cohen, Chaim and Sivan, Daniel, The Ugaritic Hippiatric Texts: A Critical Edition (AOS 9; New Haven: American Oriental Society, 1983); Pardee, Dennis, Les Textes Hippiatriques: Ras Shamra-Ougarit II (Paris: Editions Recherche sur les Civilisations, 1985) 2137 . Both Cohen and Sivan (11) and Pardee (42 n. 69) demonstrate the parallels between this material and the pentateuchal text.

20 For the text, see Olmo Lete, Gregorio Del, Canaanite Religion According to the Liturgical Texts of Ugarit (2d ed.; AOAT 408; Münster: Ugarit Verlag, 2014) 299 .

21 Contra Watts (“The Rhetoric of Ritual Instruction,” 93), while Akkadian law collections and omens use the conditional word šumma and Hittite laws takku, the ritual texts more commonly employ enūma in Akkadian or mān in Hittite to differentiate between several cases/situations: see CAD I–J, 160 s.v. inūma 1j; CAD Š3, 275–78; CHD L–M, 154–56, s.v. mān 7b, 4, 7g. Although the mān sentences in Hittite instructions for priests may constitute an early Mediterranean antecedent for the Priestly material, the factors adduced above suggest that the ancient Near Eastern law collections (including texts such as the Covenant Code) are closer in form and literary function to the biblical Priestly texts (for the texts see, e.g., Jared Miller, Royal Hittite Instructions and Related Administrative Texts [SBLWAW; Atlanta: SBL, 2013] 144–61). The Ugaritic prayer to Baal (KTU 1.119:26–36), which opens with the phrase “If/when” (k), should be examined in the same way. For the text, see Pardee, Ritual and Cult, 50–53.

22 For the text, see De Zorzi, Nicla, “The Omen Series Šumma izbu: Internal Structure and Hermeneutic Strategies,” KASKAL 8 (2011) 4374, here 56. Therapeutic texts were also intended for the priests/physicians rather than the general public. For medical texts see recently: Salin, Silvia, “Transmission and Interpretation of Therapeutic Texts. Šumma amēlu muḫḫašu umma ukāl: A Case Study,” Distant Worlds Journal 1 (2016) 117–32.

23 For the role the addressee plays in biblical law, see Bartor, Reading Law as Narrative, 25–31. See also below.

24 See for instance the temple program for the New Year's Festival in Babylon (Racc 133:34): “Secret rite (niṣirtu) of the temple Esagil for Bēl. No one may show (it) to anyone except the urigallu-priest of the temple Ekua.” See Thureau-Dangin, F., Rituels accadiens (Paris: Leroux, 1921) 130 ; ANET 331a; Cohen, Mark E., The Cultic Calendars of the Ancient Near East (Bethesda: CDL, 1993) 442 ; Weinfeld, Moshe, “Israelite and Non-Israelite Concepts of Law,” Beit Mikra 17 (1964) 6061 (Hebrew); Paul, Studies in the Book of the Covenant, 9 n. 1.

25 Hoffner, Harry A. Jr., “Some Contributions of Hittitology to Old Testament Study,” TB 20 (1969) 2755, at 41–42; idem, The Laws of the Hittites: A Critical Edition (Leiden: Brill, 1997) 224; Cohen, Yoram, Taboos and Prohibitions in Hittite Society: A Study of the Hittite Expression natta āra (‘not permitted’) (Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag C. Winter, 2002) 8896 ; Singer, Itamar, The Hittites and their Civilization (Biblical Encyclopedia Library 26; Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 2009) 163 .

26 This study does not address the (apodictic) festival and calendar regulations in the Covenant Code (Exodus 21–23) or small Covenant Code (Exodus 34). While these biblical law collections employ the casuistic formula for “civil” laws in line with ancient Near Eastern tradition, the distinctively “ritual” Israelite laws in Exodus 21–23 and 34 are apodictic in style. The ordinances in Deuteronomy also require a separate study.

27 Paul, Book of the Covenant, 8–9 and n. 1. Cf. Crüsemann, Frank, The Torah: Theology and Social History of Old Testament Law (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1996) 10 . As LeFebvre notes: “That distinctive trait of Hebrew law writing . . . is the tendency to integrate cultic laws with judicial laws. Unlike other ancient Near Eastern peoples, the Hebrews incorporated cultic law writing into the typically judicial law-collection genre. In other ancient Near Eastern societies, cultic practices were recorded in priestly texts (and often kept secret)” ( LeFebvre, Michael, Collections, Codes, and Torah: The Re-characterization of Israel's Written Law [New York: T&T Clark, 2006] 78).

28 While Weinfeld adduces some of these Greek materials, he does so in the context of foundation stories, thus failing to pay attention to the uniquely parallel legal genre: Weinfeld, Moshe, The Promise of the Land: The Inheritance of the Land of Canaan by the Israelites (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993) 2829 .

29 For debate regarding the term Leges sacrae, see Lupu, Eran, Greek Sacred Law: A Collection of New Documents (NGSL) (Leiden: Brill, 2009) 56 ; Petrović, Ivana and Petrović, Andrej, “‘Look Who's Talking Now’: Speaker and Communication in Metrical Sacred Regulations,” in Ritual and Communication (ed. Stavrianopoulou, E.; Kernos Suppl. 16; Liège: Centre International d'Étude de la Religion Grecque Antique, 2006) 151–79, at 151–54; Gawlinski, Laura, The Sacred Law of Andania: A New Text with Commentary (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2012) 3 ; Carbon, Jan-Mathieu and Pirenne-Delforge, Vinciane, “Beyond Greek ‘Sacred Laws,’Kernos 25 (2012) 163–82.

30 For Greek sacred law in general, see, for example, Parker, Robert, “What are Sacred Laws?” in The Law and the Courts in Ancient Greece (ed. Harris, E. M. and Rubinstein, L.; London: Duckworth, 2004) 5770 ; Lupu, Greek Sacred Law, 3–112; Carbon and Pirenne-Delforge, “Beyond Greek ‘Sacred Laws,’” 163–82; Jan-Mathieu Carbon, “Monographing ‘Sacred Laws,’” Kernos 25 (2012) 318–27.

31 See Gagarin, Michael, Writing Greek Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008) 63, 251–52.

32 Jameson, Michael H., Jordan, David R., and Kotansky, Roy D., A Lex Sacra from Selinus (GRBS Monographs 11; Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1993); Lupu, Greek Sacred Law, 359–87; Robertson, Noel, Religion and Reconciliation in Greek Cities: The Sacred Laws of Selinus and Cyrene (American Classical Studies 54; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010) 3255 .

33 “(2–3) [If a] person, [a homicide, wishes] to purify himself from elasteroi ( ]), having made a proclamation from wherever he wishes, and in whatever year he wishes, and in whatever [month] he wishes, and on whatever day he wishes, having made a proclamation in whatever direction he wishes, he shall purify himself. (4) The one hosting him shall give the [homicide] to wash himself and something to eat and salt; and, having sacrificed a piglet to Zeus, he (the homicide) shall go away from him, and turn around, and he shall be spoken to, and take food, and sleep wherever he wishes. (7) If someone wishes to purify himself with respect to a guest/host (? or foreign) or ancestral (αἴ τίς κα λε̑ι ξενικὸν ἒ πατρο̑ιον, ἒ ‘πακουστὸν ἒ ‘φορατὸν ἒ καὶ χὄντινα καθαίρεσθαι), either heard or seen or any whatsoever, he shall purify himself in the same way as the homicide when he purify himself from an ancestral (elasteros) etc. [. . .])” For the text see Lupu, Greek Sacred Law, 363–64.

34 See Herzog, Rudolf, Heilige Gesetze von Kos (Berlin: Verlag der Akademie der wissenschaften and de Gruyter, 1928) no. 8; Sokolowski, Francizek, Lois sacrées des cités grecques (Paris: de Boccard, 1969) 263–69 (no. 154). For the first part of this text, see also Guen-Pollet, Brigitte Le, La vie religieuse dans le monde grec du Ve au IIIe siècle avant notre ère (Toulouse: Presses Universitaires du Mirail, 1991) 123–29 (no. 39); McLean, Bradley H., Hellenistic and Biblical Greek (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) 355–58; Parker, Robert, Miasma: Pollution and Purification in Early Greek Religion (Oxford: Clarendon, 1983) 5253 .

35 For the possible existence of an early substratum, see Parker, Miasma, 334.

36 [Αἴ] ἐπὶ τὰγ γᾶν ἢ ἐπὶ τὰμ πόλιν ἐπείηι νόσο[ς ἢ λι‖μὸ] ἢ θάνατος, θύεν ἔμπροσθε τᾶμ πυλᾶν, [κάθα|ρμ] τῶ ἀποτροπαίω, τῶι Ἀπόλλωνι τῶι ἀποτρό[π|ωι] ίμαρον ἐρυθρόν.

37 See Latte, K., “Ein Sakrales Gesetz aus Kyrene,” Archiv für Religionswissenschaft 26 (1928) 4151, at 41–42; Weinfeld, The Promise of the Land, 28; Parker, Miasma, 334–35.

38 .

39 See Milgrom, Jacob, Leviticus 1–16 (AB3; New York: Doubleday, 1991) 931–34.

40 [ὲν ὑπώροφον μιανεῖ, τὸν | δ’ ἐ]ξόροφον οὐ μιανεῖ, αἴ κα μὴ ὑπένθηι. Ὁ δ’ ἄ̣[νθρ|ω]πος, ὅ κα ἔνδοι ἦι, α<ὐ>τὸς μὲν μιαρὸς τέντα[ι ἁμ|έρα]ς τρῖς, ἄλλον δὲ οὐ μιανεῖ, οὐδὲ ὁπυῖ κα ἔν [ηι ο]‖ὗτος ὁ ἄνθρωπος.

41 Αἴ κα ἐπὶ βωμῶι θύσηι ἱαρήιον, ὅ τι μὴ νόμος θύεν, τ[ὸ] | ποτιπίαμμα ἀφ̣ελὲ ἀπὸ τῶ βωμῶ καὶ ἀποπλῦν|αι καὶ τὸ ἄλλο λ̣ῦμ̣α ἀνελὲν ἐκ τῶ ἱαρῶ, καὶ τὰν ἴκ|νυν ἀπὸ τῶ β̣ωμῶ καὶ τὸ πῦρ ἀφελὲν ἐς καθαρόν· ‖ καὶ τόκα δὴ ἀπονι Ψάμενος, καθάρας τὸ ἱαρὸν καὶ ‖ ζαμίαν θύσας βοτὸν τέλευν, τόκα δὴ θυέτω ὡς νόμ<ος>.

42 See Leviticus 30–33; Num 18:21–28; cf. Deut 12:6, 17, 14:22–29, 26:12–15. The precise reference to the tithes in this inscription is not unclear: see Parker, Miasma, 339–344; Rhodes and Osborne, Greek Historical Inscriptions, 503–504; Robertson, Religion and Reconciliation, 299–317; Jim, Theodora Suk Fong, Sharing with the Gods: Aparchai and Dekatai in Ancient Greece (Oxford Classical Monographs; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014) 5051 . For tithes (ešru/ešrētu) in the Mesopotamian world, see Dandamajew, Muhammad A., “Der Tempelzehnte in Babylonien während des 6.–4. Jh.v.u.Z.,” in Beiträge zur Alten Geschichte und deren Nachleben: Festschrift für Franz Altheim 1 (ed. Stiehl, R. and Stier, H. E.; Berlin: de Gruyter, 1969) 8290 . For biblical tithes, see Weinfeld, Moshe, “The Royal and Sacred Aspects of the Tithe in the Old Testament,” Beersheba 1 (1973) 122–31 (Hebrew); Jagersma, Hendrik, “The Tithes in the Old Testament,” in Remembering All the Way (OTS 21; Leiden: Brill, 1981) 116–28; Milgrom, Jacob, Leviticus 23–27 (AB3B; New York: Doubleday, 2001) 2421–34; Nihan, Christophe, “The Priestly Laws of Numbers, the Holiness Legislation, and the Pentateuch,” in Torah and the Book of Numbers (ed. Frevel, C. et al.; FAT 62; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013) 109–37. For Greek tithes, see Burkert, Walter, Greek Religion (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985) 63–70.

43 See Parker, Miasma, 347–51.

44 Lupu, Greek Sacred Law, 406.

45 See Rhodes, P. J. and Osborne, Robin, eds., Greek Historical Inscriptions 404–323 BC (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003) 494505 .

46 Fontenrose, Joseph Eddy, The Delphic Oracle: Its Responses and Operations with a Catalogue of Responses (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981) 252–53; Parker, Miasma, 334; Lupu, Greek Sacred Law, 78.

47 For the unique nature of the Cyrene Law, see Rhodes and Osborne, Greek Historical Inscriptions, 501–502.

48 See Weinfeld, Promise of the Land, 29 n. 21.

49 For these texts, in particular the Marseilles Tariff (KAI 69) see COS 1.98; Lipiński, Edward, “Rites et sacrifices dans la tradition phénico-punique,” in Ritual and Sacrifice in the Ancient Near East: Proceedings of the International Conference Organized by the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, April 1991 (ed. Quaegebeur, J.; Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 55; Leuven: Peeters, 1993) 257–81; McLaughlin, John L., The Marzēaḥ in the Prophetic Literature: References and Allusions in Light of the Extra-Biblical Evidence (Leiden: Brill, 2001) 3842 . For comparison with the biblical text, see David W. Baker, “Leviticus 1–7 and the Punic Tariffs: A Form Comparison,” ZAW 99 (1987) 188–97. For comparison with Greek “sacred laws,” see Lupu, Greek Sacred Law, 391–95.

50 See Dennis Pardee in COS 1.98; cf. F. Rosenthal, ANET, 656–67. For the text and commentary, see KAI 69. See also Maria Giulia Guzzo Amadasi, Le iscrizioni fenicie e puniche delle colonie in occidente (Rome: Istituto di Studi del Vicino Oriente, 1967) 169–83 (no. 3).

51 Baker, “Leviticus 1–7 and the Punic Tariffs,” 188–97.

52 For the tenth tablet of Duodecim Tabulae see Warmington, Remains of Old Latin, 497–503. See also Watson, Alan, The State, Law and Religion: Pagan Rome (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1992) 21 ; Beek, Leon ter, “Divine Law and the Penalty of sacer esto in Early Rome,” in Law and Religion in the Roman Republic (ed. Tellegen-Couperus, O.; Mnemosyne Sup. 336; Leiden: Brill, 2012) 1129, at 13–28.

53 For a similar understanding of the Mesopotamia omens, see Fincke, Jeanette C., “Omina, die göttlichen ‘Gesetze’ der Divination,” Ex Oriente Lux 40 (2006–2007) 131147 ; Pongratz-Leisten, Beate, “The King at the Crossroads between Divination and Cosmology,” in Divination, Politics, and Ancient Near Eastern Empires (ed. Lenzi, A. and Stokël, J.; SBL Ancient Near East Monographs 7; Atlanta: SBL, 2014) 3348, at 34; Démare-Lafont, Sophie, “Judical Decision-Making: Judges and Arbitrators,” in The Oxford Handbook of Cuneiform Culture (ed. Radner, K. and Robson, E.; Oxford: Oxford University Press) 335–57. Following Nissinen, Stackert highlights the importance of the textual nature of omens and law: Stackert, Jeffrey, A Prophet Like Moses: Prophecy, Law, and Israelite Religion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014) 5154 ; Nissinen, Marti, “Prophecy and Omen Divination: Two Sides of the Same Coin,” in Divination and Interpretation of Signs in the Ancient World (ed. Annus, A.; Oriental Institute Seminars 6; Chicago: Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 2010) 344–45.

54 The Cyrene inscription possesses a unique status in this regard among Greek sacred laws. For other Greek ordinances, see Aslak Rostad, “Human Transgression–Divine Retribution: A Study of Religious Transgressions and Punishments in Greek Cultic Regulations and Lydian-Phrygian Reconciliation Inscriptions” (Ph.D. diss., University of Bergen, 2006) 85, 94, 128–34.

55 This does not mean, however, that these cultic laws in the biblical and Greek world were always observed or had binding validity in court: see Rostad, “Human Transgression–Divine Retribution,” 47–49, 87; Fitzpatrick-McKinley, Anne, The Transformation of Torah Scribal Advice to Law (JSOTSup 287; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999) 113–45; Jackson, Bernard S., Studies in the Semiotics of Biblical Law (JSOTSup 314; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000) 114–43.

56 See Rainey, “The Order of Sacrifices,” 487; Baker, “Leviticus 1–7 and the Punic Tariffs,” 196; Parks, Ancient Texts, 206. These scholars regard the original material as a “priestly handbook” rather than a declarative inscription, however.

57 For the concept of P as a secret ritual text, see Haran, Temples and Temple-Service, 8, 11, 143, 224; Weinfeld, Place of the Law, 81–82 and n. 7.

* An early version of this paper was presented at a joint Harvard Law School and Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard University seminar dedicated to the topic of Jewish Law while I was a Harry Starr Fellow in 2015. My thanks go to the participants for their comments—in particular Profs. Noah Feldman, Shaye J. D. Cohen, Jay M. Harris, and Bernard Septimus, and to my colleagues in this group—Dr. Hila Ben-Eliyahu, Prof. Chaya Halberstam, Prof. Yair Lorberbaum, Prof. Amihai Radzyner, and Dr. Roni Shweka. I am grateful also to Prof. Baruch J. Schwartz who read an earlier version of this paper.

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Harvard Theological Review
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  • EISSN: 1475-4517
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