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Comparison of the Manumission Laws in Exodus 21: 2-11 and Deuteronomy 15: 12-18

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1성결대학교

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ABSTRACT

The manumission laws that stipulate a Hebrew slave should be released in the seventh year after serving his master six years, occur twice in the Pentateuch: Exodus 21: 2-11 and Deuteronomy 15: 12-18. The differences between the two versions are usually resolved by supposing that the laws simply emanates from different times in Israel's history. According to historico-critical scholars, the Deuteronomist who had humanitarian perspec- tive revised the ethical problems raised from the earlier Exodus text (Exod. 21: 2-11). This study explores first the sociological and theological message of the manumission laws in its literary context and then explains the differences between the two versions using a synchronic approach rather than a diachronic while taking seriously the literary context of the final form of the text. The literary approach adopted here looks at the text in a synchronic rather than a diachronic way while taking seriously the final form of the text. After the presentation of the author's own translation on Exodus 21: 2-11 and the analysis of its structure, the exegesis on Exodus 21: 2-6 and 7-11 is undertaken in turn. The law which looks severe to Hebrew slaves is proven to have concern for them. This study shows that Exodus 21: 7-12 is not a general principle for the female slave but presents a particular case for who is sold for a purpose of marriage to a free man. Several features, usually considered by the hands of redactors, are shown to be integral and appropriate in the immediate and more wider narrative context. Finally the differences between Exodus 21: 2-6 and its parallel law in Deuteronomy 15: 12-18 are explained without presupposing a complex historical development of Deuteronomistic History. This study provides a way of looking at the given text more integrally without presupposing various historical development of the text.

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