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In XIX, the showbread is left on the table in the sanctuary for seven days until it is eaten by the priests on the eighth day. III Place: Mt. Sinai Human oriented. XXI 26 Place: Mt. Sinai Between man and God. Just as the outer rows were locked in place by the place markers in the corners, the next rows are determined by the time markers of seven and eight days.

Sinai, the only remaining reference to Sinai in Leviticus. Both arrays seem to have a piece missing at the same place, the middle of the top row. The outer array, the framework, has no place reference in II. Similarly, there is no "seven and eight" in V. These apparent "missing links" may be a hook created by the redactor in order to verify that the puzzle is being put together properly, since they are in the same place in both arrays, thereby testifying to the parallel construction of the arrays. The relationships between both the border rows, A and G, and the penultimate rows, B and F, are based on inverted parallelism.

We noted in the borders that the basis for the chiasm was the interplay between vectors of opposite directions: man to God, and God to man. The middle Unit of the Unit-triads seemed to combine the vectors of the extremes.

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The chiasm of the penultimate rows is even more pronounced. Let us see whether the vectors of the border rows are useful for understanding the next rows. Both of these narratives are placed within Units that describe parts of the sacrificial system, so it would seem that they continue the man-to-God vector. The birth of new creatures, on the other hand, seems to continue the God to man vector, as God is considered the source of life.

The central element of the second upper row V has two separate parts, dealing with animals from two different perspectives. One part lists the animals that are permitted to be eaten. The other part lists ways in which animals can be the source of ritual impurity. Food, coming from God, indicates the God to man vector. Ritual impurity indicates the man to God vector. So here too the middle Unit combines the vectors. The picture is taking shape. We have two concentric arrays so far.

The outer array is place-oriented and the next array is time oriented. Each consists of two Unit-triads. All the Unit-triads consist of a God-oriented Unit on one end and a human-oriented Unit on the other end. The Unit in the middle of each Unit-triad is a conceptual middle between the two poles of orientation. Thus, the relationship between man and God is the recurring theme that appears across the four Unit-triads we have placed. The discovery of two chiastic arrays containing twelve of the twenty-two Units creates certain expectations regarding the remaining ten Units.

If the remaining Units follow the pattern that has developed, they too should form concentric chiastic arrays. However, two more arrays like the two we have identified would require twelve Units and there remain only ten to arrange. Since it can not be paired with another Unit, it could be the focus of the arrays and the literary center of Leviticus. A possible sign that it is the center is the extreme similarity of XII 18 and XIV 20 , both of which have extensive lists of forbidden unions. Taking Lev 19 as the center divides the remaining pieces Units of the puzzle unequally.

This is a problem. If the structure is in fact symmetrical, as the chiasms and focal text seem to indicate, how can there be six more Units to place on one side of the center and only three on the other? Before we address this problem, let us have a closer look at the remaining pieces and their relationship to the two concentric arrays we have already determined.

These two pieces must somehow fit together. Unit X 16 describes the ritual that the High Priest must perform when entering the Holy of Holies, in order to avoid death. The prospective chiastic-parallel Unit, XVI , warns the priests that their ritual responsibilities towards God and their fellow Israelites are life threatening.

This makes a very good fit for the chiasm, in line with the opposite orientations we have already noted, namely the first Unit in Unit-triad D, X, and the last Unit in Unit-triad E, XVI, are both God oriented. X 16 Day of Atonement priestly service "lest he die". XVI Priests must be careful "lest they … die". The Unit-triads are in fact chiastic, creating a third array. By comparing them to the chiastic arrays we have already identified, we can see the similarity between them. We have noted that each of the four previous Unit-triads contains divine orientation on one extreme and human orientation on the other.

Again, we see an opposition based on "God oriented" as opposed to "people oriented. We still need to verify that XI 17 and XV 21 are conceptual middles. Unit XI 17 deals with slaughtering animals.

4. Insights into Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy

It has two parts. The first part vv. The blood or flesh of the animal can be offered at the altar.

The second section vv. Thus, the Unit combines the two orientations. Unit XV 21 is a collection of laws regulating the personal lives of the priests.

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As such, it is a conceptual middle between the secular laws of intimacy for individuals in XIV 20 and the laws concerning holy foods eaten by the priests and their households in XVI This element should be missing from Unit XI. At first glance, there appear to be two separate themes in the five Units that should have a common link: regulations concerning priests, and regulations limiting sexual intercourse.

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Upon closer inspection, it can be seen that the five Units all contain references to family relationships. His sons are mentioned in and Therefore, the third array also has a subject that appears in five of its six units, family. The anomalous Unit is in the same position as in the previous two arrays, in the middle of the first triad, Unit XI. The three arrays are locked together by the missing link that appears at the same place in each array. The middle and inner arrays are more closely connected than the middle and outer arrays.

The close connection can be seen in the following table. The two inner arrays are tightly linked by birth and death. These connections lead to two observations.

Leviticus and Numbers

First, the inner arrays are linked like the chambers of the Tabernacle. The outer array is like the courtyard, which is open to the sky, while the two chambers of the inner arrays Tabernacle share a single tent. This strengthens the analogy between the structure of Leviticus and the Tabernacle. Second, the conceptual flow of the text is apparently from the middle outwards.

Reading it this way, intercourse precedes birth and the warning against life-threatening acts precedes death. This substantiates our earlier observation that the arrays point to a Plotinus-like series of emanations from the divine core. Taken together, these observations indicate how different the non-linear reading of Leviticus is from a linear reading.

The three anomalous Units, II, V, and XI, verify our observation concerning the close connection between the two inner arrays, as well as providing a key to the way the redactor viewed the arrays. These three Units have a common subject, animals. In the inner array, Unit XI focuses on the blood of slaughtered and hunted animals. In the middle array, Unit V is concerned with the flesh of animals.

The close relationship between the inner and middle arrays appears in the connection between blood, inner array, and flesh, middle array. The outer array, Unit II, deals with the role of animals as offerings, which is a function of the specific misdeeds of the person offering the animal. Thus, the three Units point to the soul or life force nefesh in XI, body in V and function in II, supporting our view that the logical order of the arrays is from the inside out. The insight provided by the three anomalous Units presents Leviticus in an entirely new light.

It is not only a book about holiness and the divine service; it is a book of metaphysics. The metaphysical concepts are not part of an exegesis of the Tabernacle and its functions. The Tabernacle is an exemplification of the underlying metaphysics, an illustration of the nature of being. The structure that we have begun to discover according to the guidelines set by Mary Douglas should perforce lead to an entirely new exegesis of Leviticus.

The new exegesis will take into account the non-linear plan according to which Leviticus was constructed. We have begun to see how the non-linear structure is discovered. I will summarize now the most significant features of the three-array structure. We began our analysis by identifying the building blocks, the Units. They combine to form sub-structures on three levels. The primary substructure is the Unit-triad. The formal composition includes six Unit-triads. The second level of organization combines the Unit-triads in chiastic pairs, or arrays.

The third level integrates the three pairs of chiastic Unit-triads into a coherent three-array structure.

One more element of organization must be taken into account in the new exegesis. The six Unit-triads form two tables, x and y. A, B, and D are in x, E-G are in y. Each of these tables has two-dimensional sense.


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Both the rows and the columns represent rules of organization. The character of each Unit is determined by its place in the table; it is a function of the intersection of its row and its column. I will illustrate this last point in the following table. The above table demonstrates how the fabric of Leviticus is woven.

Each Unit-triad, A, B, and D, has its own character, which is associated with its relative position, outside, middle and inside. Each column has its own orientation. The left column is God oriented and the right column is human oriented. The middle column is a conceptual middle between the left and right. Column M contains the three Units we marked as anomalous, each focusing on different aspects of animals.

These three Units function as intermediaries between the orientations of the left and right elements in each row. Animals are used by the redactor as intermediaries between the God-oriented and the human-oriented, not just in the altar Unit-triad, A, but in Unit-triads B and D as well. A similar weave can be seen in triads E-G.

The fact that there is a chiastic relationship between the first set of three Unit-triads, table x, and the second set, table y, indicates that the redactor was working with at least three dimensions in weaving the Units of Leviticus into a macrostructure. Each individual Unit has three positional attributes that contribute to determining its content: its Unit-triad row , its place within its Unit-triad column , and its table. We have discovered three concentric arrays focused on Lev 19 and the beginnings of an analogical reading. Where does that leave our puzzle? We are like the mechanic who has rebuilt the motor only to find that he has parts left over.

Where did he go wrong? How can he correct the situation? Will the motor run anyway? The motor does indeed run beautifully without the extra parts; so well, in fact, that one could easily conclude that Units VII-IX are totally superfluous to the overall plan of Leviticus. There are some indications that the redactor foresaw the predicament of a reader attempting to decipher the structure of Leviticus.

One of them is the editorial comment at the beginning of Lev 16 X : "after the death of the two sons of Aaron who died when they encroached upon the presence of the Lord. However, I am using "after" in the sense of place rather than time. Unit X is placed directly after Unit IV in the three-array table. In fact, as we have seen, all three Units in triad D are closely linked to their parallels in triad B. Both V and XI look at animals as food and as ritual objects. XII and VI are connected through their content, intercourse and birth. The relationship between the extremes is striking.

Unit-triads B and D are so closely knit that Unit-triad C has no place between them. The redactor has made it quite clear that Unit-triad C is to be seen as a part of the text that has to be ignored when studying the meticulously organized three-array structure. We have finished discovering most of the formal structure of Leviticus. In order to explain the function of triad C, I will outline a possible analogical reading. The reading is based on the connection between the locations of the three arrays in the text and the location of the subjects of the first Unit of each array, I, IV and X, the court, the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies.

The three arrays are analogous to the three areas of the Tabernacle; the outer array to the courtyard, the middle array to the Holy Place, and the inner array to the Holy of Holies. The focus, chapter 19 is analogous to the Ark. The "movement" through a reading according to this structure is analogous to the movements of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement. Only he may enter the Holy of Holies and stand before the divine presence. The text is formatted to replicate his movements inward in the first three Unit-triads and his movement outwards in the last three Unit-triads.

At that point, he is commanded to create a smoke screen that hides the innermost chamber. Triad C could then be seen as a literary smoke screen. Alternatively, it could be understood as the screen that must be lifted to enter the inner sanctum. Positing that the structure of Leviticus is analogous to the movements of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement explains more than the anomalous Unit-triad C.

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