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Reading Biblical Law as Narrative


This article presents an interpretive method integrating biblical law, jurisprudence, and literary theory, reflecting the current "law-and-literature" school within legal studies. It identifies the narrative elements that exist in the casuistic laws of the Pentateuch, exposes the narrative techniques employed by the authors, and discovers the poetics of biblical law, thus revealing new or previously unconsidered aspects of the relationship between law and narrative in the Bible. Several casuistic laws were chosen to illustrate the above mentioned method: the law concerning a deposit (Ex 22:7-8); laws of lost property and of rendering assistance to animals in distress (Ex 23:4-5; Deut 22:1-4); and the law of the poor man (Deut 15:7-11).

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