By Martha Himmelfarb
According to the account within the e-book of Exodus, God addresses the youngsters of Israel as they stand sooner than Mt. Sinai with the phrases, "You might be to me a country of clergymen and a holy country" (19:6). The sentence, Martha Himmelfarb observes, is paradoxical, for clergymen are via definition a minority, but the which means in context is apparent: the total humans is holy. The phrases additionally element to a couple major tensions within the biblical realizing of the folk of Israel. If the total humans is holy, why does it want clergymen? If club in either humans and priesthood is an issue no longer of benefit yet of beginning, how can both the folks or its clergymen wish to be holy? How can one reconcile the space among the glory due the priest and the particular habit of a few who stuffed the function? What can the folk do to make itself actually a country of priests?
Himmelfarb argues that those questions turn into principal in moment Temple Judaism. She considers a variety of texts from this era, together with the Book of Watchers, the Book of Jubilees, criminal records from the lifeless Sea Scrolls, the writings of Philo of Alexandria, and the publication of Revelation of the recent testomony, and is going directly to discover rabbinic Judaism's emphasis on descent because the fundamental criterion for inclusion one of the selected humans of Israel—a place, she contends, that took on new strength in response to early Christian disparagement of the concept mere descent from Abraham used to be adequate for salvation.
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A Kingdom of Priests: Ancestry and Merit in Ancient Judaism (Jewish Culture and Contexts) by Martha Himmelfarb