Chapter

From Practical Wisdom to Literary Artifice: Towards a Literary History of the <i>Mishpatim</i>

Bernard S. Jackson

in Wisdom-Laws

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780198269311
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683596 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198269311.003.0014
From Practical Wisdom to Literary Artifice: Towards a Literary History of the Mishpatim

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This chapter explores the literary history of the Mishpatim and its relationship with the institutional development. The relationship to external sources provides clues to both genre/use and termini, but the principal object here is to highlight such relative datings as cast light upon developmental sequences in the literary history. For institutional history can hardly occur in a cognitive vacuum, and one is entitled to seek evidence of the forms of thinking which accompany it, as reflected in the literary features of the texts. Such a scheme, of course, does not in itself address the question of redactional layers within the individual laws. The following stages may be distinguished in the literary development of the Mishpatim: an oral stage; a stage when some, at least, of the paragraphs which make up the Mishpatim existed in isolation, or in very small groups; groupings of paragraphs into ‘intermediate collections’; a ‘compilation-stage’ (or stages); and an ‘incorporation-stage’, when the overall collection was incorporated into its present narrative context.

Keywords: Mishpatim; literary history; laws; oral stage; intermediate collections; compilation-stage; incorporation-stage

Chapter.  25010 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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