The short, final chapter of Conclusions commences with a claim which may prove controversial even to those, like the present reviewer, who find the overall treatment stimulating and valuable. We are told that (this) narrative reading of the casuistic laws "is of very little use (if it is of any use at all) for understanding their normative dimension"; it is directed rather at the "human meaning" embodied in the situations. But that is arguable only if one adopts narrow (and sometimes modern) conceptions of both law (and the normative) and narrative. It is almost as if Bartor the literary scholar is here at odds with Bartor the criminal attorney. Bartor's study makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the poetics of the different biblical legal collections. She claims, in fact, to deal with "all of the casuistic laws of the Torah" (supported to a substantial degree by the Index of Sources); clearly, however, she cannot within the relatively short compass of this book deal with all the major issues of content which biblical scholars have identified in these laws. Nevertheless, her examples frequently do add illumination to them. Of course, in a book surveying so large a
Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies – Purdue University Press
Published: Jun 1, 2011
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