• A New and Living Way A Study of Leviticus as Rhetoric A Multi-Disciplinary Critique of Moshe Kline’s Approach to the Reading and the Writing of the Book

      Alexander, Philip; Morgan, Jon; Collins, Matthew; Hocking, Paul J. (University of Chester, 2021-09)
      This research is focused on the rhetoric of Leviticus as a bounded book, and on the different ways that scholars argue for its structure and purpose. In so doing, it examines the validity of Milgrom’s words that “structure is theology,” asking if the compositional structure of the book indicates its ideological thrust. The thesis question is epistemological—how can one know? How can one know if the book of Leviticus has a coherent literary structure (its composition), and, if so, what purpose that structure is meant to serve (its suasive intent)? The thesis method is empirical—on what evidence is knowing based? The thesis conclusion is that the final form of the book of Leviticus does indeed show strong evidence of an internal literary structure with suasive intent. However, given that a series of scholars since Milgrom have proposed various literary structures and purposes for the book, how can one know which are most plausible? Are there rhetorical-critical tools one can use to appraise any proposal, to gain evidence of its plausibility? This thesis takes the form of an empirical Case Study, and models a multi-disciplinary, rhetorical-critical approach to appraising a proposal by Moshe Kline, evaluating his reading based on his understanding of how the writing was structured. The thesis intends to test and evaluate the validity and reliability of the exemplar proposal, not to defend it. My main contribution to the field is therefore both specific and general: specifically, to evaluate, using literary-critical tools, the plausibility and significance of Kline’s composition proposal in the context of others, and, then generally, to demonstrate how these tools may be used by scholars to appraise the adequacy of other composition proposals. The assumption here is that the use of a range of tools will limit researcher bias and increase the validity of conclusions in rhetorical-critical studies. In simple terms, use of a suite of methods can help in discerning whether any specific proposal of literary composition constitutes an adequate explanation of the evidence regarding the structure and purpose of the text. The evidence from the specific Case Study is sufficient to confirm the plausibility (the validity and reliability) of Kline’s composition proposal, though a number of provisos are indicated. It concludes that the composition of Leviticus projects a sanctifying journey, “a new and living way.” Further depth is added to the study because Kline’s model of Leviticus’ composition proposes not just a new reading of Leviticus but also argues for a new paradigm of writing in certain ancient texts. Therefore, this thesis not only evaluates Kline’s reading of Leviticus but also his paradigm of writing itself.