I finished Frank Crusemann’s The Torah: Theology and Social History of Old Testament Law. In this post, I’ll talk some about Crusemann’s dating of what he calls “The Priestly Writing”.
On page 301, Crusemann states regarding P: “A picture of life in the diaspora was created by means of ritual activity like the abstention from eating blood, circumcision, passover as a celebration of the beginning of freedom, and participation in the sabbath…”
So, for Crusemann, there are elements of P that were relevant to the exile: their aim was to show exiled Jews how to be righteous before God, even though they technically were not with God (who, prior to the exile, dwelt with the Israelites in the land of Israel by means of the sanctuary). But what about P’s laws regarding the cult? Were they relevant to Israel in exile, who did not have a cult? Crusemann’s argument on pages 310-311 appears to be that the priests were reflecting on what led to the exile, and they concluded that the Israelites’ accumulation of guilt in the land was a significant culprit. According to P, the rituals of the Day of Atonement were intended to correct that. For Crusemann, P was reflecting on guilt and atonement on account of the exile.