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Bibil Identifier bibil:222573
Publication Type Journal article
Title (English, Long) Phinehas' Zeal and the Death of Cozbi: Unearthing a Human Scapegoat Tradition in Numbers 25:1-18
Author Monroe, Lauren A.S.
Journal Vetus Testamentum (Volume: 62, Issue: 2)
Year (Publication) 2012
Year (Original (1st Edition)) 2012
Year (Copyright) 2012
Year (Reference) 2012
Language English
Pages 211-231 Pages
Genre Original
Abstract Scholars have long noted that Numbers 25, the story of Phinehas’ murder of Cozbi the Midianite and her Israelite partner in crime, contains inconsistencies and tensions that reflect a complicated history of composition and transmission. This paper offers new perspective on the evolution of this text by comparing it with two Hittite military ritual texts (CTH 407 and 394) that describe the selection and sacrifice of human, female scapegoats. Scholars have discussed these texts as they relate to biblical rites for the Day of Atonement; however, the Hittite evidence has never been considered systematically in relation to Numbers 25. Such a comparison illuminates unrecognized sacrificial dynamics operative in Numbers 25, and clarifies certain inherent ambiguities in the biblical text. Parallels with the Hittite evidence point to Numbers 25 as an additional witness to the way scapegoat rituals operated within the ancient Israelite literary imagination, if not in actual practice.
DOI 10.1163/156853312X629171
Keywords Thesaurus BiBIL : Old Testament (Introduction) : Theology : Themes : Phinehas
Pericopes Numbers 25
Leviticus 16
Last modification 2017-10-27