Bernard M. Levinson, Ph.D.
Berman Family Professor of Jewish Studies and Hebrew Bible
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Born in 1952 in South Porcupine, Ontario, Canada
Studied Religious Studies at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario and Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University, Mass.
Revelation and Redaction: Rethinking Biblical Studies and Its Intellectual ModelsThe role of ancient Israel's authors and editors in creating a corpus of law attributed to divine revelation forms the focus of this study. Four classical texts, each with a long history of research, will provide test cases to challenge the prevailing binary model that views "revelation" and "redaction" as if they were antithetical. The disciplinary conventions of academic biblical studies have prevented recognition of the full intellectual, legal, and literary sophistication of this material. The comparative evidence of cuneiform literature, on the one hand, and Jewish literature of the Second Temple period (including the Dead Sea Scrolls), on the other, provides a richer range of options for thinking about how authors and redactors created new literary works in antiquity. The larger argument, whose force is cumulative, is that revelation is a redactional creation that claims the authority of divine revelation. The sustained consideration of authorship, originality, and the impact of a textual canon upon subsequent authors opens out to other disciplines in the humanities.
Levinson, Bernard M. Deuteronomy and the Hermeneutics of Legal Innovation. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. Second printing, paperback, 2002.
Levinson, Bernard M. "The First Constitution: Rethinking the Origins of Rule of Law and Separation of Powers in Light of Deuteronomy." Cardozo Law Review 27, 4 (2006): 1853-1888. (http://www.law.umn.edu/facultyprofiles/levinsonb.htm)
Levinson, Bernard M. "'Du sollst nichts hinzufügen und nichts wegnehmen' (Dtn 13,1): Rechtsreform und Hermeneutik in der Hebräischen Bibel." Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche 102 (2006): 157-183.
Levinson, Bernard M. "The Right Chorale": Studies in Biblical Law and Interpretation. Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, forthcoming. (Forschungen zum Alten Testament.)
Tuesday Colloquium, 30.10.2007
"You may neither add to it nor take away from it" (Deut 13:1). Legal Revision and Hermeneutics in the Hebrew Bible
Cultures having a tradition of prestigious or authoritative texts must inevitably confront the problem of literary and legal innovation. Ancient Israel's development of the idea of divine revelation of law creates a cluster of constraints that one would expect to impede legal revision or amendment. As a test-case, the article examines the doctrine of transgenerational punishment: the notion that God punishes sinners vicariously and extends the punishment due them to three or four generations of their progeny. A series of inner-biblical and post-biblical responses to the rule demonstrates, however, that later writers were able to criticize, reject, and replace it with the alternative notion of individual retribution. It emerges that the formative canon itself fosters critical reflection upon the textual tradition and sponsors intellectual freedom.
Publications from the Fellows' Library
Levinson, Bernard M. (2009)
Levinson, Bernard M. (2008)
Levinson, Bernard M. (Los Angeles, Calif. [u.a.], 2008)
Levinson, Bernard M. (Cambridge [u.a.], 2008)
Levinson, Bernard M. (Tübingen, 2008)
Levinson, Bernard M. (2006)
Levinson, Bernard M. (2006)
Levinson, Bernard M. (2005)
Levinson, Bernard M. (Münster, 2004)
Recht und Ethik im Alten Testament : Beiträge des Symposiums "Das Alte Testament und die Kultur der Moderne" anlässlich des 100. Geburtstags Gerhard von Rads (1901 - 1971), Heidelberg, 18. - 21. Oktober 2001 ; [Beiträge des Kolloquiums "Recht und Ethik im Alten Testament" ... am 20. und 21. Oktober 2001] Altes Testament und Moderne ; 13