Reading Ritual: Leviticus in Postmodern Culture

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Bloomsbury Academic, May 15, 2005 - Religion - 140 pages
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This book draws on a variety of disciplines to undertake a unique analysis of Leviticus 1-7. Rather than studying the rituals prescribed in Leviticus as arcane historical/theological texts of little interest to the modern reader, or as examples of primitive rituals that have no parallel in Western society, this book provides many points of contact between animal sacrifice rituals and various parts of post-modern society. Modern rituals such as Monday Night Football, eating fast food, sending sons and daughters off to war, and even the rituals of modern academia are contrasted with the text of Leviticus. In addition, responses to Leviticus among modern African Christians and in the early church are used to draw out further understandings of how the language and practice of sacrifice still shapes the lives of people.

This study takes a consciously Christian perspective on Leviticus. Leviticus is assumed to be an ongoing part of the Christian Bible. The usual Christian response to Leviticus is to ignore it or to claim that all sacrifice has now been superseded by the sacrifice of Jesus. This study refutes those simplistic assertions, and attempts to reassert the place of Leviticus as a source for Christian self-understanding.

This is volume 417 of JSOTS and volume 9 of Playing the Texts.

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About the author (2005)

Wesley J. Bergen is Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Religion, Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas.

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