Feb 13, 2010

Interpreting Law Passages

Peter Vogt,
Interpreting the Pentateuch: An Exegetical Handbook (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2009), 136-46, offers the following guidelines which I have summarized for interpreting the Law passages:

Determine the contexts of the passage

Identify the kind of law(s) involved

Determine the nature of the legal requirement

Describe the purpose of the Law in Israel
-What kind of situation was this law designed to prevent or promote?
-Who would have benefited from this law, and why?
-Is this law designed to restrict someone's power? How? Why?
-What values or moral principles may be seen as underlying this law?
-What vision of society is being promoted or pursued in the inclusion of this law?
-What penalty (if any) is prescribed for violating this law?
-What does the penalty show about the seriousness of the law and its objectives?

Identify the applicability of the purpose in a contemporary context.

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