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Memory and Tradition in the Book of Numbers

Memory and Tradition in the Book of Numbers


  • Date Published: February 2008
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521878692

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About the Authors
  • In Memory and Tradition in the Book of Numbers, Adriane Leveen offers a rereading of the fourth book of Moses. Leveen examines how the editors of Numbers created a narrative of the forty-year journey through the wilderness to control understanding of the past and influence attitudes in the future. The book explores politics, collective memory and the strategies used by its priestly editors to convince the children of Israel to accept priestly rule. Leveen considers the dynamics of the transmission of tradition, memory and values in an atmosphere of crisis as a generation witnessed its parents die in the wilderness yet chose to live in the promised land in fulfilment of God's vision.

    • A new look at biblical memory
    • A new proposal for reading biblical texts
    • A new appreciation for a neglected book of the Bible
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: 'A new voice from the Wilderness! By focusing on the theme of memory in the book of Numbers, Adriane Leveen has found an important key to a biblical book that gets less attention than Genesis or Exodus but is every bit as fascinating. Scholarly readers will find in this book a sophisticated attempt to apply the concept of collective memory to a biblical text, an approach that yields many insights into biblical literature and ritual. General readers, drawn into the text by Leveen's lively, literate and accessible writing, will find it an illuminating guide through the book of Numbers. Both kinds of readers will close Memory and Tradition with a much better appreciation of Numbers' politics and poetics, and of how it fits into the larger historical vision of the Five Books of Moses.' Steve Weitzman, Indiana University, Bloomington

    Review of the hardback: '… 'memory' and 'tradition' are key factors in the editorial process that produced the book of Numbers. This is a readable volume which provides some interesting observations on the editorial strategies underlying one of the more neglected books in the HB.' Journal for the Study of the Old Testament

    Review of the hardback: 'Adriane Leveen's Memory and Tradition in the Book of Numbers is a sophisticated and often engaging treatment of what may well be the most neglected and yet the most haunting book of the Torah … this book is a highly focused discussion of the literary structure of Numbers, of memory, and of the uses of memory in the Torah, and as such it is to be recommended not only to biblical scholars who deal with the politics of narrative structure and the shaping of tradition over time, but also to those interested in sociological and religious theories of memory and their interface with religious studies, politics, critical theory and psychology.' Religion

    Review of the hardback: '… Leveen's work deserves praise … because it engages one's critical faculties throughout … [She] captures well contemporary changes in ways of reading biblical literature and skilfully applies them in enhancing our understanding of a truly remarkable body of material, the book of Numbers.' The Journal of AJS Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2008
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521878692
    • length: 256 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 157 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.55kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Desert bound
    2. Weaving by design
    3. Priestly purposes
    4. Variations on a theme: shaping memory in the wilderness
    5. Crisis and commemoration: the use of ritual objects
    6. Falling in the wilderness: politics of death and burial
    7. Inheriting the land.

  • Author

    Adriane Leveen, Stanford University, California

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