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Hebrew Studies 39 (1998) 254 Reviews FROM PATRIARCH TO PRIEST: THE LEVI-PRIESTLY TRADITION FROM ARAMAIC LEVI TO TESTAMENT OF LEVI. By Robert A. Kugler. SBL Early Judaism and Its Literature 9. pp. ix + 255. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1996. Paper. In this book, a revision of a 1994 dissertation for the University of Notre Dame (advisor, James VanderKam), Robert Kugler studies a cluster of texts that belong to what he calls the Levi-Priestly tradition. These texts, Aramaic Levi, Jubilees 30:1-32:9 and Testament of Levi, all focus on the patriarch Levi, who is chosen by God for a priesthood "characterized by an intense passion for communal and cultic purity, and by a unique interest in the exercise of wisdom" (p. 3). The book does not purport to offer a complete and comprehensive commentary on anyone of these texts. Rather it undertakes the more preliminary, but essential, task of attempting to reconstruct the content and order of Aramaic Levi, and then exploring the complex relationships among literary works at various stages of this tradition. The first chapter of Kugler's book stands somewhat independently. It looks to the Hebrew Bible to discover the sources of the Levi-Priestly Tradition in the account of Levi's zeal in destroying the Shechemites in Genesis 34, the zeal of the Levites (collectively) in destroying the idolaters in Exod 32:25-29, the zeal of Levi's descendant Phinehas and his reward of a covenant in Num 25:6-13, the blessing of Levi with its distinctive emphasis on the teaching of the Law in Deut 33:8-11, and the combination of these elements already in Mal 2:4-7. Chapters 2-3 offer a reconstruction of the Aramaic Levi document, with a transcription, translation and brief commentary, largely textual in its focus. Chapter 4 is a detailed commentary on how the Levi-Priestly tradition is presented in Jub 30:1-32:9. Kugler concludes that Aramaic Levi and Jubilees do not depend on each other, but used a common source, the "Levi-apocryphon"; Kugler argues here against James Kugel's recent proposal that Jubilees made use of Aramaic Levi. ("Levi's Elevation to the Priesthood in Second Temple Writing," HTR 86 [1993] 1-64). In chapter 5, Kugler describes what he calls the pre-Christian Greek "Original Testament ofLevi," a hypothetical document based on Aramaic Levi and related to the Hasmonean exercise of priestly and princely power. A concluding chapter offers a succinct summary and brief suggestions about how this study relates to broader issues of priesthood in the Second Temple period. Hebrew Studies 39 (1998) 255 Reviews The core of the book and its most original contribution lies in the reconstruction of Aramaic Levi. Some parts of this work have been known to scholars since the turn of the century in fragments discovered in the Cairo Genizah (the manuscript is reconstructed by Kugler in Appendix B) and in the additions to the Mt. Athos manuscript of T12P. However now we have fragments of this document from the Dead Sea Scrolls (lQ21, 4Q213, and 4Q214), and Kugler makes use of these in his reconstruction, although he does not claim to present a formal and technical textual edition. Kugler acknowledges his debt to the unpublished work of J. T. Milik, to which he had access and which he follows closely, though he did an independent examination and reading of the originals. In his survey of past scholarship on Aramaic Levi in chapter 2, Kugler emphasizes how the standard reconstruction of the document has been influenced by the assumption that since it was a source for th~ Testament of Levi it must have had basically the same shape. As Kugler reconstructs Aramaic Levi, it began with the Shechem incident, followed by the Prayer of Levi; then comes Levi's vision, the encounter with Isaac and Jacob, Isaac's instructions on cultic matters, a description of family and personal history, a wisdom speech, and Levi's warnings to his children about future apostasy. It is in the reconstruction of the first part that Kugler departs significantly from previous reconstructions that had put the Prayer of Levi at the beginning, followed by a first...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2158-1681
Print ISSN
0146-4094
Pages
pp. 254-256
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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