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Bibil Identifier bibil:203616
Publication Type Journal article
Title (English, Long) 'What Shall We Do with the Sabbath-Gatherer?' A Narrative Approach to a 'Hard Case' in Biblical Law (Numbers 15:32-36)
Author Burnside, Jonathan
Journal Vetus Testamentum (Volume: 60, Issue: 1)
Year (Publication) 2010
Year (Original (1st Edition)) 2010
Year (Copyright) 2010
Year (Reference) 2010
Year (Second publication) 2010
Language English
Pages 45-62 Pages
Genre Original
Abstract This article puts forward an alternative reading of Num 15:32-36 which takes seriously the fact that the cognitive structures that go into reading the biblical Sabbath laws are narrative and visual, rather than semantic and literal. This 'narrative' reading sees 'food production' as the typical case of 'work' and sees 'food production on the Sabbath' as the 'paradigm case' of Sabbath-breaking. Against this background, Num 15:32-36 is a hard case because the Sabbath-gatherer's behaviour is sufficiently far removed from the paradigm of food production to raise the question of whether the Sabbath laws could be used to resolve the problem. The uncertainty ensures that the case must be resolved by the parties concerned and since, unusually, God is the only offended party, only God can determine whether capital punishment applies and, if so, the form it should take. Ultimately, the offender's behaviour is judged to be sufficiently close to the paradigm to deserve death because it evokes Israel's experience of total servitude in Egypt. 'Sabbath-gathering' reflects a desire to return to the economic conditions associated with Pharaoh's rule and thus signifies the rejection of YHWH's lordship.
DOI 10.1163/004249310X12597406253283
Keywords Thesaurus BiBIL : Old Testament (Introduction) : Theology : Themes : Food Prescriptions
Thesaurus BiBIL : Old Testament (Introduction) : Theology : Themes : Sabbath
Thesaurus BiBIL : Bible (as a whole) : Bible (as a whole) -- Hermeneutics - Methods : Methods : Synchronic Methods : Narratology
Pericopes Numbers 15,32-15,36
Last modification 2017-10-27