Biblical Literature I, UTC
Dr. Barry Matlock, 10/15/12
Exercise 59, Page 311
Leviticus 12:1-7; Gnostic Dualist or Adamic Sin, Considerations of a Systematic Hermeneutic
In this chapter, we are given the rituals of after the birth of a child. After giving birth, a woman was considered to be ceremonially unclean and had to go through both rituals and sacrifices to become clean again. It has been argued by some scholars that in many ways, these rituals helped preserve the Jewish people from diseases that would have been common in their respective era. It has also been argued by gnostic dualists that this clearly demonstrated an intrinsic evil or brokenness in the flesh (as opposed to a presupposed wholeness/intrinsic-holiness to the opposite of ‘the flesh’ – ‘the spirit’. Because of the lack of this motif in other nonritualistic-centered verses, it can be argued that this would be a form of impositional eisegesis on the part of Gnostic Dualists, and that any understanding of the presupposed or asserted ‘impurity’ or ‘uncleaness’ of general humanity is more of an interpretive rubric; the goal of which is to highlight and demarcate the profound deliniage between Yahweh, the creator God – and man: the created object. In this case, ‘impurity’ is less of an actual ‘health state’ and more of a God/man relational descriptor. Though imposed in a literal, and functional way, in the given time and stage of God’s revelation of himself to man – these are instructive in terms of understanding other subjective and discursive meanings. In later revelation (in the New Testament) the sacredness of ‘blood’ and its importance continues to be a very important motif; such as ‘the atonement of Christ by his “blood” ‘. Here, it can be argued, is also the one of the foundations of the doctrinal theory of ‘Original Sin;’ or the idea that man is born into sin and uncleanliness (both ‘physically’ and ‘spiritually’ [contra the Gnostic Dualist frameset]). It can be argued that the textbook may be soft pedaling or otherswise ignoring the traditional systematic theology behind Adamic Sin by merely resolving the ‘uncleanlyness’ assertions of these verses to a mere cultural presupposition. It is the opinion of this writer, that if these verses are given any ‘authoritative’ weight (in terms of a ‘conservative’ hermeneutic) then the choice is either between a Gnostic Dualist or Adamic Sin frame of Reference, within the hermeneutic of any proposed systematic theology.