The book of Leviticus provides two different theologies related to God's presence within ancient Israel. Leviticus 1-16 was written by an elite caste of priests (P), and Leviticus 17-26 (H) was added to the book to "democratize" access to God. While the Priestly work has hardly inspired lay readers, the Holiness Writings provide some of the most inspiring and well-known verses from the Bible.
This volume shows how gender dynamics shift between the static worldview of P and the dynamic approach of H and that, ironically, as holiness expands from the priests to the people, from the Temple to the Land of Israel, gender behaviors become more highly regulated. This complicates associations between power and gender dynamics and opens the door to questions about the relationships between power, gender, and theological perspectives.
S. Tamar Kamionkowski is professor of biblical studies at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, Pennsylvania, where she served as the vice president for Academic Affairs for almost a decade. She holds a BA from Oberlin College, an MTS from Harvard Divinity School, and a PhD from Brandeis University. Kamionkowski is the author of Gender Reversal and Cosmic Chaos: Studies in the Book of Ezekiel (Sheffield Academic, 2003) and co-editor of Bodies, Embodiment and Theology of the Hebrew Scriptures (T&T Clark, 2010). She serves as co-chair of the SBL's Jewish Interpretation of the Bible session.
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"Kamionkowski offers a highly readable exploration of the book's complex and multi-faceted vision of what it means to live as YHVH's holy people. Scholarly without being prohibitively technical, wide-ranging, and punctuated with fascinating side-bar vignettes that supplement and illustrate the main lines of comment from a variety of perspectives, this insightful and creative treatment well deserves its place in a series that promotes the values of wisdom and inclusivity in biblical exegesis. Leviticus has frequently labored under the shadow of oppressively hierarchical and negatively ritualistic readings. Kamionkowski shows how often it is possible to see this admittedly dense and sometimes obscure book in a positive and egalitarian light. Her work is a gift to all those who want to see how Leviticus continues to resonate powerfully for the good in a context very different from that of its original creation."
Deborah Rooke, Regent's Park College, University of Oxford