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In the Wilderness – The Doctrine of Defilement in the Book of Numbers - Oxford Scholarship Online
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In the Wilderness: The Doctrine of Defilement in the Book of Numbers

Mary Douglas


This book is a classic work on the anthropology of the Book of Numbers. Up to now Bible scholars have tended to dismiss Numbers — Wellhausen called it the junk room of the Bible, and most contemporary commentaries feel called upon to say something about its apparent lack of coherence. This book argues that Numbers is composed of twelve alternating sections of law and narrative arranged in a ring, with each law and narrative section corresponding to its pair on the other side. Notes from a Hebrew scholar confirm the pattern by identifying objectively the beginnings and endings of law and narrat ... More

Keywords: Book of Numbers, Bible, law, narrative, rhetorical system, detective story

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2001 Print ISBN-13: 9780199245413
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199245413.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Mary Douglas, author
University College London