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Title: Leviticus 25:39-43 in light of sources of unfree labour in the Ancient Near East
Author: Reid, John Nicholas
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 8483
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2010
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Most scholars understand the law of Lev 25:39-43 to be legislation concerning debtslavery. The present study questions such a conclusion. By considering the complex nature of the study of unfree labour systems, analyzing legal-historical documents and socio-economic contracts found in the ancient Near East, and through detailed exegesis of Lev 25:39-43, this study argues that the sale of the individual in Lev 25:39-43 reflects, rather than debt-service, the practice of self-sale in the ancient Near East. While debt is a form of poverty, I contend that poverty does not necessarily involve debt. By refusing to blur these terms into one, the semantic range of the key verb (Kwm) in Lev 25:25-55 is preserved along with the logical order of the text. As such, I propose that the law of Lev 25:39-43 represents the only extant ancient Near Eastern attempt to regulate the practice of self-sale. The connection between the sociological reality of self-sale in the ancient Near Eastern documents and the law of Lev 25:39-43 explains the extended period of service, the relationship between the sale of the individual and the Jubilee, the emphatic Hebrew construction dObSoAt_aøl dRb`Do tådObSo wø;b, the stated theological purpose of the law that the Israelites shall not be enslaved (Lev 25:42), and could also shed some light on the long-standing debate about the relationship of Lev 25:39-43 to Exod 21:2-6 and Deut 15:12-15. As my study does not seek to enter into the debate about the Sitz im Leben, determine finally the relationship between the three manumission laws of the Pentateuch, or establish a sociological reality of unfree labour in ancient Israel, these are areas for further study.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (M.Th.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available