When we read the “laws” of the Pentateuch, we often labor under some misperceptions. We assume that they represent legislation, a presupposition that we can correct through a careful assessment of ANE legal texts and an understanding of their literary context in the OT. We assume that they have been compiled as a coherent book whose inconsistencies therefore become problematic. We can correct this through a careful assessment of the unassailable fact that ancient Israel was a hearing-dominant culture in which we encounter scribes and documents rather than books and authors. We assume that we need to interact with Torah as rules that reflect on modern morality, even if not on salvation. Based on an understanding of the Torah in its ancient context and in its literary context, we can offer some refinement concerning how the Torah plays an important role in God’s revelation that retains its full authority today.

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