Document Type

Book Chapter




Bible, biblical studies, Hebrew Bible, Leviticus, commentary, ritual, rhetoric




Biblical Studies | Religion


This study combines rhetoric, ritual studies, and comparative scriptures studies to open new avenues for understanding both biblical texts and their cultural history as a scripture. Labelling commentary as ritual, specifically as a ritualized genre of text, leads to the observation that commentary not only contributes to the Bible’s status as a scripture, it depends on that status as well. Ritual theories provide explanations for the dynamic interaction of tradition and innovation in commentary writing. Analysis of commentary writing and reading as a form of ritualizing the semantic dimension of a scripture provides a step forward in understanding how religious and academic communities use scriptures both to conserve a tradition and to adapt it to new circumstances.

Additional Information

In The Genre of Biblical Commentary: Essays in Honor of John E. Hartley (ed. William Yarchin and Timothy Finlay; Wipf & Stock, 2015), pp. 40-53.

Reproduced by permission of Wipf and Stock Publishers.


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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.