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Some unanticipated consequences of the Sinai revelation: A religion of laws

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Chapter Summary

Rabbinic Judaism is a religion of laws. There are laws governing practically everything. How did all this come about? The stories of Israel's earliest ancestors make no mention of such laws. True, none of them lived during or after the time of the great revelation of laws at Mt. Sinai, when God is said to have adopted the people of Israel as His particular folk on condition that they keep His covenant stipulations, that is, His laws (Exodus 19:5-6). Whereas the divine promise to David says He will maintain David's dynasty no matter what the people, or even David's direct descendants, do. Judaism's "religion of laws" appears to have developed slowly, emerging only gradually as a central characteristic of Jewish piety. But this still does not explain how, or why, the whole idea of divine laws and a divine lawgiver ever got started in the first place.

Keywords: David; Israel; Jewish piety; lawgiver; Rabbinic Judaism; religion of laws; Sinai revelation

10.1163/ej.9789004170186.i-386.6
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