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Israel’s Tabernacle as Social Space
Mark K. George
Publication Date
August 2009


A new approach to the tabernacle narratives where space itself becomes the focus of analysis revealing social values, concerns, and ideas.

The narratives about Israel’s tabernacle are neither a building blueprint nor simply a Priestly conceit securing priestly prominence in Israel. Using a spatial poetics to reexamine these narratives, George argues that the Priestly writers encode a particular understanding of Israel’s identity and self-understanding in tabernacle space. Through a process of negotiation and exchange with the broader social and cultural world, the Priestly writers portray Israel as having an important role in the divine economy, one that is singularly expressed by this portable structure.

Mark K. George is Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado. The author of various articles and essays, he also is organizer and chair of the SBL’s Space, Place, and Lived Experience in Antiquity Section.

“Israel’s Tabernacle as Social Space is a refreshing approach to the tabernacle narratives of Exodus 25-31 and 35-40. … George’s work helps us to read the tabernacle narratives in terms of what ideas and emotions they potentially would have communicated to and evoked in the exiles. It is rare to find a work that examines these chapters in Exodus in light of the meaning and sense they would have conveyed to their original audience. George’s focus on the social production of space in regard to these narratives is groundbreaking and creative.”
— David Janzen, Biblical Interpretation

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