Sunday, September 7, 2014

Leviticus: Chapter 27

To bring the outside in 

How deep is possession?

What can be exchanged What not 

Transformed, changed,  redeemed

Being beyond value

[For full chapter, click here
After the grand finale that closed the last chapter "at Mount Sinai," we return--yet again--to Mount Sinai, in a dry rendition of laws of vows and gifts to the Dwelling. 
Yet through these arcane rules, this chapter actually revisits the motifs of value vs. ownership, redemption and the limits of possession. Returning to the opening theme of  a book that comes to establish a place "within the tent", this chapter allows for bringing the outside in through consecration. 
What happens when a person consecrates themselves? Does consecration imply value, or does it engulf the object itself? We move from a generalized (male-centric) valuation of humans, who are replaced with money, without any essential connection to the Temple, and end with a level of "dedication" (herem) so all-encompassing that it cannot be undone, replaced or exchanged. The object itself becomes a source of holiness. Any attempt to replace it simply  consecrates  its replacement: " both it and that for which it is changed shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed." W close with the emergent consecration of tithing, which happens by chance, outside human choice. Here, the outside comes in.]

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