Contours of an Elusive Phrase: Berit Olam and Some Contributions to Covenant Theology in the Pentateuch

Overview

A perusal of Old Testament covenant studies shows that Berit Olam lacks significant scholarly attention. This is surprising since even a quick glance at the eighteen instances shows that though the phrase occurs relatively infrequently it resides within very important passages in the Old Testament, and is connected to some of the most prominent figures of the Old Testament story. Moreover, when Berit Olam is addressed in scholarship it is generally conceived as an unbreakable, unilateral promise. But is this an ...

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Overview

A perusal of Old Testament covenant studies shows that Berit Olam lacks significant scholarly attention. This is surprising since even a quick glance at the eighteen instances shows that though the phrase occurs relatively infrequently it resides within very important passages in the Old Testament, and is connected to some of the most prominent figures of the Old Testament story. Moreover, when Berit Olam is addressed in scholarship it is generally conceived as an unbreakable, unilateral promise. But is this an accurate assessment of Berit Olam? What is an eternal covenant? How does an eternal covenant work? What are the relationships between the respective eternal covenants? What ideas of the text are we referring to when talk about an eternal covenant?

            This book answers these sorts of questions involving eternal covenant in the Bible by beginning with an exegetical study of Berit Olam in the Pentateuch. While word studies on Olam and Berit do exist, this study is interested in identifying the ideas and themes associated with each instance of the phrase within the final-form of the text in order to understand its meaning and significance. By addressing each instance in canonical order (Genesis 9, 17; Exodus 31; Leviticus 24; Numbers 18, 25), the study reveals that Berit Olam actually represents a bilateral and conditional arrangement that reflects certain common themes as it is used within distinct passages. The study serves as a starting point for grasping the contours of this elusive phrase within the Old Testament.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Steven D. Mason is currently Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies at LeTourneau University, Texas.

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Table of Contents

Chapter One: Introduction to the Study of Berit Olam

1.1 Eternal Covenant in the Bible

1.2 Eternal Covenant in Old Testament Scholarship

1.3 Overview of Thesis

Chapter Two: Berit Olam in Genesis 9

2.1 Establishing the Textual Boundaries of Berit Olam

2.2 Examining the Features of Berit Olam in Genesis 9

Chapter Three: Berit Olam in Genesis 17

3.1 The Conditional Nature of the Berit Olam

3.2 The Content of the Berit Olam

3.3 Exegetical Conclusions of Berit Olam in Genesis 17

Excursus

Chapter Four: Berit Olam in Exodus 31

4.1 Scholarship's Treatment of Berit Olam in Exodus 31

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