Portal To The Structured Torah
This is the portal to The Structured Torah. From here you can access the text of The Structured Torah and articles about it. There are two sections containing material on the Torah, one in English and one in Hebrew. This page is the portal to the English section. Both the English and Hebrew sections contain articles and and the text of The Structured Torah. The articles are not translated and appear only in the language in which they were originally written.
This link contains short descriptions of each of the twenty-two tabular Units of Leviticus, as well as links to the Units themselves in English translation (JPS).
The Torah can be read both linearly and non-linearly. These two readings can also be called "exoteric" and "esoteric." It is read linearly in synagogues on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays when it is read publicly. The historical narrative form would seem to indicate that the linear reading is sufficient to transmit the information contained within the Torah. The public reading demonstrates that its meaning is available to all, making it an exoteric book. But there is another side to the Torah, one that has yet to be fully explored. A close reading of the Torah, paying attention to its literary structure, reveals the existence of a non-linear stratum within it. In order to understand the non-linear aspect of the Torah, the linear text must be deconstructed. The act of deconstruction removes the text from the public realm, thereby making the non-linear reading esoteric. The non-linear stratum appears in the very first chapter of Genesis. more
Mary Douglas argues in Leviticus as Literature that "Bible students have to choose between accepting the muddle made by imposing a Western linear reading upon an archaic text, or trying to read the book through its own literary conventions.” She gives many examples of how to read a text “through its own literary conventions,” as well as a broad overview in the form of an analogical reading. In this paper, I substantiate Douglas’ approach by systematically defining the twenty-two literary units that compose Leviticus, as well as the larger structure that connects them. Each of the twenty-two units has a similar non-linear structure that can be viewed as a table. The inclusive structure of Leviticus is composed of three concentric arrays of units, with Lev 19 at the focus. Each array has a common organizing element. The outermost array is place-oriented; the middle array is time-oriented; the inner array is person-oriented. The focus, chapter 19, is holiness. The image created by this arrangement is a holy core that emanates outwards through successive arrays of person, time and place. This structure can be interpreted as an analogical representation of the Tabernacle with chapter 19 parallel to the Ark of the Covenant, the inner array the Holy of Holies, the middle array the Holy Place, and the outer array the courtyard. The experience of reading Leviticus, according to this analogy, places the reader in a position analogous to the High Priest on the Day of Atonement. Like the High Priest, the reader follows the inner path to holiness at the center of the book, passing through the courtyard and the Holy Place to the Holy of Holies. This path is reversed in the second half as the reader-High Priest returns to society when exiting the Tabernacle. More
This is an offprint of the above article as it appeared in The Biblical Historian
These are the first chapters of a proposed book on the literary structure of Leviticus.
The Complete Structured Torah in PDF (English)
The Complete Structured Torah in PDF (Hebrew)
The Stone Tablets of Leviticus 19 (HTML) (150K)
The Stone Tablets of Leviticus 19 (PDF) (1M)
This article was written for an academic journal, but has not yet been published. The sources are in Hebrew. The formatting of the PDF is preferable, but the file is much larger.
The Decalogue (DOC)
The Decalogue (PDF)
The Decalogue is the archetypical woven text.
The initial insight which leads to identifying the formal structure of creation is that the days of creation can be grouped. Many commentators have pointed out that the first three days of creation form a unit that is parallel to the next three days of the creation story. The specific creations of days four to six give expression to the parallel creations of days one to three. The light that was created on day one appears from the heavenly bodies created on day four. The land creatures created on day six utilize the earth and plants created on day three. The fish and birds of day five are found in the elements of day two, the sky and the ocean. As strange as it might sound, the six consecutive days of creation comprise a non-linear text. They should be read as two cycles of three days each. This observation, in and of itself, is not overly significant. It takes on meaning only when we examine it more closely and connect it with other parts of the text. But even before we examine the content more closely, we should note that elsewhere the Torah explicitly divides the seven year cycle of tithes into two parallel sub-cycles of three years each, ending with the seventh, the Sabbatical year, just as creation ends with the Sabbath. More