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Hebrew Studies 41 (2000) 278 Reviews 'of the priestly system, and as a fresh way of examining the interconnectedness of rituals and the world-view they reflect. Sarah Diamant Jewish Theological Seminary ofAmerica New York, NY 10027 sadiamant@jtsa.edu A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THE RITUAL OF ORDINATION AS FOUND IN LEVITICUS 8 AND EMAR 369. By Gerald A. Klingbeil. Lampeter, Wales: Edwin Mellen Press, 1998. Cloth, $139.95. There is no question that the burgeoning literature on ritual studies should illuminate the familiar texts in biblical law, but the application of these new perspectives is no simple task. This new monograph on two ordination texts makes a credible effort that nevertheless remains unsatisfying at several levels. Klingbeil's volume is set up as a comparative study with a "phenomenological " approach to both the rituals and the texts that recount their procedures . Three core chapters examine two selected texts in isolation: Leviticus 8, describing the actual ordination of Aaron and his sons (chaps. 3 and 4), and Emar (VI.3) 369, the account of how the storm god's chief priestess is to take office (chap. 5). The biblical text naturally calls for discussion of general interpretive issues in past scholarship (chap. 3), before the chapter devoted to ritual comment, whereas the Emar text is a fairly new discovery with more manageable bibliography. The comparison is reserved for a brief fmal chapter (6), with a resume of conclusions to close (chap. 7). In selecting isolated texts from these separate settings, Klingbeil intends to recreate as far as possible an anthropological ritual study, where the obseryer can describe systematically the many facets of ritual practice, with an eye toward the effect of the whole. To this end, Klingbell gives his full attention to each text on its own terms, and thus does justice to the interpretive issues of both. In spite of the comparative format, it seems that Klingbeil means his primary contribution to be the study of ancient ritual with a carefully defmed method, informed by broader study of religion. After a short introduction (chap. 1), chapter 2 undertakes an extensive dis- Hebrew Studies 41 (2000) 279 Reviews cussion of issues in ritual studies, and concludes by sketching the strategy to be pursued through the book. This strategy evaluates Leviticus 8 and Emar 369 according to nine categories inspired by Gorman and Grimes: structure , sequence, context, space, time, objects, roles, actions, and sound (pp. 48-51). Klingbeil follows up this functional interest consistently and does construct each analysis, including the fmal comparison, around this frame. Throughout, the book is characterized by thorough familiarity with secondary literature in the relevant fields, with attention to both European and American scholarship, not to mention South African. Altogether, this book offers a serious discussion of biblical and ancient Syrian ritual, but the net profit is still disappointing. Whether in Leviticus 8 or the Emar text, Klingbeil's interpretations depend heavily on other recent work, especially Milgrom's Anchor Bible commentary and my monograph on Emar 369. The sophisticated theoretical framework does yield some fruit, as with the detailed movement of priests at the entrance to the tent of meeting (pp. 157, 164), but such details do not coalesce into fresh interpretations of each whole. In the case of the Emar priestess, Klingbeil embarks on a complete review of the ritual components that is very similar to my own, with little new to suggest. The comparison of the two texts should be the most original section, but even here the observations rarely push beyond what is visible without the theoretical framework, and one looks for more. For instance, I notice that the initiates of both texts are cloistered for seven days, but in contrasting locations that reflect different notions of sanctuary function. Emar's priestess stays at home before moving into residence at the storm god's temple, while Aaron and his sons complete their sacred passage by inhabiting the tabernacle, which does not appear to be their permanent home. In spite of Klingbeil's careful theoretical approach, his final interpretive stance provokes as many questions as it resolves. He reiterates that his phenomenological approach is essentially ahistorical, but sensibly founds his comparison on texts...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2158-1681
Print ISSN
0146-4094
Pages
pp. 278-280
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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