Concepts of Power within the Hebrew Bible

By: Rachel Borovsky  

The relationship between the Levites and priests in ancient Israel is one of the thorniest problems in biblical studies. In my research, I examine the relationship between the priests and Levites as reflected in Ezekiel 40–48, that relate to this topic more extensively than any of the other sources in the writings of the classical prophets. The passages in chapters 40-48 on which I shall focus are 40:44–46, 42:12–13, 46:19–24, and 44:6–16, which is the most important source for understanding the Levites’ status in Ezekiel. My basic premise is that Ezekiel 40–48 is a heterogeneous text that reveals the hands and ideas of various scribes and periods. In line with redaction criticism, an examination of the attitude towards the priests and Levites displayed in the biblical texts evinces the worldviews of the diverse writers and editors. I would also like to suggest a new reading of Ezekiel 44:16-6, proposing that the text is composed of three layers, each of which exhibits a different attitude towards the priests and Levites. My research suggests that the layered structure of the text embodies and evinces some of the historical and sociological changes that took place in ancient Israel with regard to these two groupings.

Priests, Rituals, Temple
The Politics of Religion
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Rachel Borovsky

PHD Candidate, Bible, Tel Aviv University, Israel