Original Research

From cult to community: The two halves of Leviticus

Esias E. Meyer
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 34, No 2 | a774 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v34i2.774 | © 2013 Esias E. Meyer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 July 2012 | Published: 05 September 2013

About the author(s)

Esias E. Meyer, Department of Old Testament, University of Pretoria, South Africa


Traditionally in Old Testament redactional criticism, a distinction is made between the first half of Leviticus (usually Lv 1–16) and the second half (Lv 17–26). In historical-critical jargon, the first half is usually regarded as part of the Priestly texts (P) and the second is called H by some, after the Holiness Code. Some have argued that Leviticus 1–16 is mostly concerned with what we would call rituals, whereas the second half (or H) is concerned with ‘ethics’, amongst other things. The article attempted to explore the relation between rituals and ethics by first asking what Old Testament critics seem to mean when they use terms such as ‘ritual’ and ‘ethics’. The article then critically engaged with two different hypotheses which attempt to explain the ethical turn in the Book of Leviticus.


Leviticus; Rituals; Ethics


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