Re: Torah as chiastic structure
- --- In email@example.com, "funhistory" <yahoo_biblical-studies@...> wrote:
> Rich, in deciding upon a "fundamental Torah", what is your basis for focusing on the "heritage only of Israel" rather than God's interaction with chosen people (Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Israel, Joseph, Moses)? Your original message didn't establish the parameters of your quest to define a "fundamental Torah", so I assumed you were focusing on the 5 books rather than 1 group of people during 1 relatively short period within those books. I believe you did a bait/switch on the thread's title.
> G.M. Grena
I didn't focus on the "heritage only of Israel" or "God's interaction with his chosen people."
I found the establishment of a diaspora in Genesis and the establishment of a nation in the balance of the Torah. I thought it remarkable that these structures are extant. You don't have to dig for them or reconstruct them. They are evidence on the ground.
There was also something vaguely familiar about the pastoral/national dichotomy. I had seen it before in the Purusa Sukta of the Vedas and in Prajapati of the Brahmanas. When pastoral Man adopts intensive agriculture he becomes sedentary Man. His population grows large with the accumulation of agricultural surplus and specialized classes emerge. A warrior class protects the sedentary population and its surplus and a priestly class emerges because large populations no longer memorize the oral traditions and they require priests to teach them the written tradition.
The process of dismemberment in the Purusa Sukta subsumes the emergence of professional classes and the transition from oral to written tradition that occurs when pastoral Man settles down and becomes national Man.
When Moses appoints Aaron priest and Joshua warrior, he is dismembering Man and because the growing, soon to be national, population will be too big for oral transmission, priests will maintain Moses' written law.
When oral tradition is memorized, the law is 'written on the heart.' Man combines courage and wisdom by making learned behavior intuitive.
A man with courage and wisdom does not need a priest to teach him or a warrior to protect him.
The major structural difference between the dismemberment in the Purusa Sukta and the one in the Torah without considering the difference between verse and extended narrative is the land grant associated with the Torah's establishment structures. The national land grant to Canaan and what look like diaspora proprietary rights in Egypt comprise the loop or ring structure, Canaan to Egypt/Egypt to Canaan, which I thought could be considered a chiastic structure.