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Is the Holiness Code Law? An Assessment Based on Semantic Observations, Form Critical Observations, and a Criteriology from the Anthropology of Law

Matthias R. Hopf

Pages 97 - 110

It is far from clear that the Holiness Code actually represents “law”, in spite of this labelling since August Klostermann. There are some aspects indicative of that, whereas there are others speaking against such a designation. To discuss the questions surrounding the nature of HC, the paper uses a multi-pronged approach, adopting emic, as well as etic perspectives. Specifically, this contribution draws on methodological and hermeneutical insights from the anthropology of law (Pospíšil, Fikentscher, Pirie), but also revisits semantic, and form critical arguments. Furthermore, two levels of distinction are introduced to establish a more nuanced assessment: a differentiation between ius (i. e. historically applied provisions), and leges (oral or written provisions; cf. Pospíšil), and a distinction between the macro- and the micro-level. As a result, the picture of HC as a kind of “artificial law” emerges, i. e. an intentionally shaped composition incorporating legal, cultic (legal), ethical, and further elements, which presents itself in the guise of “law”.

This article is written in English.


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