Michael B. Hundley examines the Priestly system designed to keep heaven on earth - more specifically, to secure and safeguard the divine presence at the heart of the Israelite community-through a comprehensive analysis of its constituent parts. His study examines how the Priestly writers describe the nature of divine presence, elicit that presence and prepare for its arrival, and maintain it through regular service and damage control rites. Rather than comparing individual Priestly rites in isolation from their surrounding contexts, his work compares the Priestly system with various ancient Near Eastern systems (Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Hittite, and Syro-Palestinian). Using a multifaceted approach, Hundley reveals the genius of the Priestly writers lies not in their total originality but in their ability to co-opt elements present in the surrounding cultures and adapt them to serve their own rhetorical purposes.
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