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Levites

The Flowering Staff: Proof of Aaron’s or the Levites’ Election?

The story of the flowering staff in its current form and context, confirms YHWH’s previous designation of the Aaronides as priests. Originally, however, the story presented YHWH’s selection of the tribe of Levi as his priestly caste.

Dr. Rabbi

David Frankel

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Why Are There No Israelite Priestesses?

Hittite texts show us that in the ancient Near East, women, including the queen, served as priestesses. The biblical authors, in their fervor for YHWH, monotheism, and centralization of worship through one Temple and one priesthood, strongly objected.

Professor

Ada Taggar-Cohen

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Who Were the Levites?

The Torah describes the Levites as a landless Israelite tribe who inherited their position by responding to the call of their most illustrious member, Moses, to take vengeance against sinning Israelites, but this account masks a more complicated historical process.[1]

Dr

Mark Leuchter

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Making Ma'aser Work for the Times

In Leviticus and Numbers, ma’aser (tithing) refers to a Temple tax; in Deuteronomy, however, it refers either to what must be brought and consumed on a pilgrimage festival or to charity. This dichotomy led the rabbis to design the cumbersome system of the first and second tithes (maaser rishon and maaser sheni).

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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The Historical Circumstances that Inspired the Korah Narrative

Korah’s rebellion ultimately results in the placement of the Levites in a permanent subordinate position to the Aaronide priests. Set in the wilderness period, the story appears to be a narrative retelling of a historical process that occurred hundreds of years later, the demotion of the Levites reflected in Ezek 44, as demonstrated by a number of literary parallels.

Dr.

Ely Levine

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The Levite Rebellion Against the Priesthood: Why Were We Demoted?

Prof.

Adele Berlin

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Deuteronomy's Justice System: Real and Ideal

Deuteronomy’s legal system is complex, combining descriptions of how law actually functioned with elements of ideal law.

Dr.

Yigal Levin

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Parry Moshe

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Recounting the Census: A Military Force of 5,500 (not 603,550) Men

Exploring the possibility of reading the wilderness census in a way that is historically plausible. 

Prof.

Ben-Zion Katz M.D.

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Relegating Redemption of the Firstborn to a One-time Event in the Wilderness

The Priestly Torah has two different conceptions of why/how the firstborn Israelites are exempt from serving as priests. Is a questionable firstborn census an effort to weigh in on this dispute?

Dr.

Eve Levavi Feinstein

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Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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The Meaning of Degel and the Elusive History of the Levites

Two Problems In Parashat Bemidbar 

Prof. Rabbi

Baruch A. Levine

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Deuteronomy: Religious Centralization or Decentralization?

Dr.

Baruch Alster

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Judges Who Are Magistrates

Who Were the Shoftim?

Dr

Mark Leuchter

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