Review of Meyers, Carol. “Framing Aaron: Incense Altar and Lamp Oil in The Tabernacle Texts.”

Meyers, Carol.  “Framing Aaron: Incense Altar and Lamp Oil in The Tabernacle Texts.”  In Sacred History, Sacred Literature: Essays on Ancient Israel, the Bible, and Religion in Honor of R. E. Friedman on His Sixtieth Birthday, edited by Shawna Dolansky, 13-21.  Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2008. [Israel/Tabernacle/Furniture/Ritual/Liturgy/Priesthood/Worship]

This brief article is another installment in a long-standing scholarly argument about an arcane issue.  It concerns why certain portions of the text of Exodus relating to the incense altar are not where scholars anticipate them to be in relationship to the other appurtenances in the holy place, namely the lamp and the table for the shewbread.  This led Wellhausen to postulate that the incense altar was a late invention in the late Preexilic or Exilic periods.  Various other theories are reviewed and Meyers offers her own which Jacob Milgrom has taken issue with causing her to modify her views.  The best she can bring out of this thicket is that scholars often fail to remember that their notions of literary structure, organization of the narrative units, and logical sequences “may not coincide with the artistry of biblical writers.” (p. 21)

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