Legal Friction

Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel

by Linda Hepner (Author)
©2010 Monographs XX, 1110 Pages
Series: Studies in Biblical Literature, Volume 78


Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel tracks the mystery of narratives in the Hebrew Bible and their allusions to Sinai laws by highlighting intertextual allusions created by verbal resonances. While the second and the third parts of the volume illustrate allusions to Sinai narratives made by some narratives occurring in the post-Sinaitic era, twenty-three Genesis narratives are analyzed to show that the protagonists were bound by Sinai Laws before God supposedly gave them to Moses, anticipating the Book of Jubilees. Legal Friction suggests that most of Genesis was composed during or after the Babylonian exile, after the codification of most Sinai laws, which Genesis protagonists consistently violate. The fact that they are not punished for these violations implies to the exiles that the Sinai Covenant was unconditional. In addition, the author proposes that Genesis contains a hidden polemic, encouraging the Judean exiles to follow the revisions of laws of the Covenant Code by the Holiness Code and Deuteronomy. Genesis narratives, like those describing post-Sinai events, often cannot be understood properly without recognition of their allusions to biblical laws.


XX, 1110
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2010 (May)
Theology History of Religions Literary Theory Law Narrative Identity Politics Literary criticism Hebrew Bible
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2010. XX, 1110 pp.

Biographical notes

Linda Hepner (Author)

The Author: Gershon Hepner was born in Leipzig, Germany. His family emigrated to England days before the outbreak of World War Two. He graduated with his M.B. and his B.S. from medical school at St. Mary’s Hospital in London. Hepner came to the United States where he first followed a career as a hepatologist in academic medicine, then later changed to private practice. Since 2000 he has published much of his research on texts of the Hebrew Bible. When not studying the Bible or rabbinic texts, he is often writing poems, whose topics range from the Bible to Bertolt Brecht to Bob Dylan. Many of them can be found on the Web.


Title: Legal Friction