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HOW MOSES BECAME A LEVITE
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The Bible presents Moses as Israel’s prophet par excellence and among the most prominent members of the Israelite tribe of Levi. But how does this picture of Moses square with actual history? How did the memory of an early Transjordanian holy man become part of a priestly tradition in ancient Israel? Answering these (and other) questions requires rethinking not only the biblical sources but how warfare, economics, and politics led to different corners of Israelite society “claiming” Moses for themselves…including the Levites.
Mark Leuchter is Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Judaism at Temple University in Philadelphia. He received his PhD from the University of Toronto in 2003 and has held positions as Coordinator of Biblical Studies at the University of Sydney and as Visiting Professor of Hebrew Bible at the University of Pennsylvania. His current research focuses on the relationship between memory, myth, and text production in exilic and Persian period Jewish and in early rabbinic literature. His favorite band is Rush.