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Leviticus in Hebrews

A Transtextual Analysis of the Tabernacle Theme in the Letter to the Hebrews

Mayjee Philip

Scholarly consensus on the relationship of the Letter to the Hebrews to the Old Testament is far from universal or uniform. This book aims to address this area in Hebrews scholarship, which is lacking a critical account of the dependence of Hebrews on the Old Testament, especially Leviticus, in constructing a meaningful text. The book examines how the author of Hebrews uses the textual levitical tabernacle theme to construct the central motif of the heavenly tabernacle in Hebrews. In analysing the ways in which Hebrews relates to the Old Testament, the author makes use of literary theorist Gérard Genette’s concepts of transtextuality and transformation. These concepts help set in relief the variegated textual relationships Hebrews has with the Old Testament in general, and Leviticus in particular, and the transformations that are central to constituting meaning in Hebrews.


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Appendix III - Theological and Sociological Terminology -113


Appendix iii Theological and Sociological Terminology i. Holiness The Theological Word Book of the Old Testament defines holiness in the following terms: … qādôsh connotes the concept of “holiness,” i.e. the essential nature of that which belongs to the sphere of the sacred and which is thus distinct from the common and profane. This distinction is evident in Lev.10:10 and Ezk 22:26 where qādôsh occurs as the antithesis of ḥôl (“profane,” “common”). There is some truth in the idea of R. Otto … that the word “holy” refers to myste- rium tremendum. It speaks of God with a measure of awe. … “His holy name” is the name of God. The inner room of God’s dwelling is called the Holy of Holies – the most holy place. … [T]he Biblical viewpoint would refer the holiness of God not only to the mys- tery of his power, but also to his character as totally good and entirely without evil. Holy objects therefore are those with no cultic pollution which is symbolic of the moral pollution. They are not merely dedicated, but dedicated to what is good and kept from evil. The separation of men from what defiles ceremonially is but typical of holiness that is spiritual and ethical. … A basic element of Israelite religion was the maintenance of an invisible distinc- tion between the spheres of the sacred and the common or profane (Num 18:32). That which was inherently holy or designated so by divine decree or cultic...

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