Thursday, October 25, 2012

Athanasius and the Term "Apocrypha"

Just a quick note of an interesting tidbit. There seems to be no instance in which Athanasius uses the term 'apocrypha' to mean what we think that term should mean (= non-canonical literature) outside of his famous 39th Festal Letter.

I ran a TLG search for forms of the word "apocrypha" in Athanasius, which returned 19 hits. But more than half of these were related to spurious works of Athanasius. Of the eight hits from legitimate works from Athanasius, 3 were from his Festal Letter, one was from another letter called Epistula ad episcopos Aegypti et Libyae, and four were from his Expositions of the Psalms (PG 27).

The one from the Epistula ad episcopos Aegyti et Libyae is just a quotation of Colossians 2:3, "in whom are hidden (ἀπόκρυφοι) all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."

The four from the Expositions of the Psalms all carry the meaning "hidden" (not about a book) and two are just quoting the psalm under discussion (LXX Psa. 30:21; 80:8; the others are in discussions of LXX Psa. 16:14; 32:11)

The 39th Festal Letter actually uses the word "apocrypha" ten times, but only three of these are preserved in Greek. Most of the letter is preserved in Coptic. For a full translation of the letter, see the recent article by David Brakke in HTR 2010. The appearances of the word apocrypha in this letter, accordinng to the paragraph divisions employed by Brakke, are in paragraphs 15, 16, 21 (3x), 22, 26, 27, 28, 32. The first three of these are the ones preserved in Greek.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Rufinus on Wisdom

In an earlier post, I drew attention to Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 4.22.9, in which Eusebius informs his readers that some ancient Christian writers gave to the canonical Book of Proverbs the alternative title "All-virtuous Wisdom." Here's the Greek and the LCL translation by K. Lake:
οὐ μόνος δὲ οὗτος, καὶ Εἰρηναῖος δὲ καὶ ὁ πᾶς τῶν ἀρχαίων χορὸς πανάρετον Σοφίαν τὰς Σολομῶνος Παροιμίας ἐκάλουν.
And not only he [= Hegesippus] but also Irenaeus and the whole company of the ancients called the Proverbs the All-virtuous Wisdom.
I don't know why Lake doesn't translate Σολομῶνος. It should be "called the Proverbs of Solomon the All-virtuous Wisdom."

I have just had occasion to notice Rufinus' translation of this statement, it is diverges quite significantly from the Greek. My English translation will mimic the LCL translation above except where the Latin will not permit it. The major divergence is underlined.
verum et hic ipse et Irenaeus et omnis antiquorum chorus librum, qui adtitulatur Sapientia, Salomonis dixerunt, sicut et Proverbia et cetera.
And not only  he but also Irenaeus and the whole company of the ancients said that the book titled 'Wisdom' is Solomon's, just like Proverbs and the others.
I'm not sure what to make of this. Rufinus himself did not regard the Book of Wisdom to be by Solomon and he considered it extra-canonical ("ecclesiastical"). So, I don't think his views on Wisdom would have motivated him to alter the text in this way. I can only imagine that either he had a different Greek text in front of him, his own Latin text has suffered in transmission--but neither of these possibilities receives any support from the apparatus to the major critical edition (pp. 372-73)--or he has misunderstood the Greek. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cult Centralization in Deuteronomy

This post is the third in a series considering the law of centralization in Deuteronomy. The first post gave attention to a new argument by Adrian Schenker that the wording of the law was past tense (the place which the Lord has chosen), as reflected now in the Samaritan Pentateuch and some versional manuscripts, rather than future (the place which the Lord will choose), as reflected in the Masoretic Text and the vast majority of Greek manuscripts. The second post examined Stefan Schorch's argument in which he attempted to draw out the implications of this for the origins of Deuteronomy. I have found Schenker's textual argument to be quite compelling, but I have not found Schorch's ideas about the origins of Deuteronomy to be quite as well formulated. This post is my attempt to draw together some indications for the nature of the centralization law in Deuteronomy and its implications for the book's origins.

[For bibliography related to this post, go to the bottom of the first post in the series.]

Both Schorch and Schenker think that Deuteronomy originally was written in the North as part of a program to centralize worship around Gerizim. This is because the law of centralization, first articulated at Deut. 12:5, points within the Book of Deuteronomy to the specification of a place of worship found in 27:4, where the place is named as Gerizim (in the original text, preserved now in the Samaritan Pentateuch). Schorch then argues that an Israelite carried Deuteronomy with him to the South when the Assyrians destroyed Israel in the eighth century BCE, and that it achieved an authoritative position there rather early. Both Schenker and Schorch argue that the proto-MT version of Deuteronomy was not formed until the word Gerizim was replaced with Ebal in 27:4 and the centralization formula was transferred from past tense to future tense as part of Hasmonean-era dating. So, we are to imagine Deuteronomy holding an authoritative place among Jews for perhaps 500 years with the original wording intact (past tense in centralization formula, Gerizim rather than Ebal in 27:4).

This all sounds fine to me, as long as we do not force Deuteronomy's centralization formula to mean that only one sanctuary would be (or, rather, had been) chosen by God for all of time. As Schorch realizes, that cannot be how it was received in Judah. Rather, Judeans apparently understood Deuteronomy to be indicating that God would choose a series of sites for cult centralization, beginning perhaps at Gerizim, culminating in Jerusalem.

In this post I wont present my full argument for this reading. But let me just point to a few pieces of data which Schorch himself acknowledges. (1) Nehemiah 1:9 understands the past tense choice of God to focus, at least at this later time, on Jerusalem, even though Gerizim was apparently still in the text at 27:4 (see Schenker's German article, p. 115; Schorch, p. 32). (2) Josiah's effort to centralize cultic activity at Jerusalem (2Kings 23) was related in some ways to the similar requirement in Deuteronomy, so it could not have been understood as limiting worship to Gerizim. (3) Jeremiah 7:12 uses the same Deuteronomic formula of God's causing his name to dwell somewhere, but uses it in reference to Shiloh, as one in a series of cultic places chosen by God. (4) Other passages, such as Psa 78:60-68 and 2Kings 23:27 also seem to have in mind a series of chosen places (see Schorch, p. 33; cf. also von Rad, p. 94).

If Deuteronomy was received in this way in Judah, it seems curious to me that we would insist that it originally referred not to a series but to just one specific location which would function as God's chosen place for all time, that being Gerizim. As I say, maybe I'll have an opportunity at a later date to present a full argument against this view.

Schenker and Shorch both think the text was edited by Hasmonean-era scribes in an effort to minimize any perceived legitimacy toward the Samaritan cult on Gerizim, and thus we have the proto-MT form of Deuteronomy. Sounds right to me.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Gerizim and the Origins of Deuteronomy

This post takes up the issues raised in a previous post from a few days ago. You should probably read that one before continuing here.

After some reflection, I am prepared to accept Schenker's argument that the original LXX and the original Hebrew text of Deuteronomy featured past tense verbs for God's choice of a place for his name, and that Deut. 27:4 had the name Gerizim rather than Ebal, both now reflected in the Samaritan Pentateuch and some versional manuscripts but not in the Masoretic Text or the main Greek tradition (as in Wevers' edition of LXX Deuteronomy). To be sure, this latter point--Gerizim in place of Ebal--is more widely accepted by scholars, as I pointed out in the previous post. Schenker himself argues in favor of it more extensively in his second article (the German one) listed last time in the bibliography (pp. 105-8). By the way, in this same article, Schenker argues persuasively (and against Tov and others) that Pap. Giessen 19, a Greek manuscript of Deuteronomy from the fifth or sixth century CE, reflects a Samaritan provenance and is probably related to the Samareitikon, and thus is not a witness of the LXX (pp. 108-13).

As for the first point--past tense of "choose" rather than future--here is how Stefan Schorch summarizes Schenker's argument: 
However Adrian Schenker has pointed out in two recent articles that the reading בחר is not only found in the Samaritan Pentateuch, but is attested by some Greek Septuagint manuscripts, too, as well as by the Coptic and the Latin secondary translations of the Old Greek text of the Pentateuch. This indicates that the Hebrew Vorlage of the Old Greek translation of Deuteronomy read בחר, and in terms of textual criticism בחר is therefore certainly the original reading, while the Masoretic reading יבחר is secondary, being an ideological and maybe even an anti-Samaritan correction. (p. 32)
[For the reference to Schorch's article, see the bibliography from the previous post. The article is available here.]

But what does this mean about the origins of Deuteronomy?  Schenker himself does not deal extensively with the question, but at the end of his second article he indicates his thoughts on the matter. He says that the originality of the past tense for "choose" and the reading Gerizim in Deut. 27:4
point to a discrete but unmistakable mention of the Gerizim sanctuary in the earliest recoverable text of Deuteronomy. This strengthens the view that Deuteronomy was located originally in Ephraim-Israel. (p. 118)
This is because Schenker seems to interpret the "law of centralization" in Deuteronomy as pointing toward a solitary sanctuary which would for all time serve as the focus of Israel's worship (see his first article, p. 349). 

Schorch develops these implications further in his article referenced above. He imagines that Deuteronomy originated in the North and traveled South in the late eighth century BCE.
The only context within which the literary ambitions of Deut 27:4-8 are entirely understandable seems to be the cult on Mount Gerizim, with the author of the text being a follower of the Gerizim cult, and one may even be inclined to say: a proto-Samaritan. Thus, if we come back to our initial question regarding the origin of Deuteronomy, the altar law of Deut 27 becomes a new point of departure for approaching this problem and solving it. Against Albrecht Alt, who spoke only of Deut 12-26 when he suggested a Northern origin of Deuteronomy, chapter 27 is obviously of Northern origin, too. And most obviously, the inclusion of this chapter must have occurred before Deuteronomy became accepted in Judah. This occurred most probably during the 7th century BCE, since at least some of the core ideas of Deuteronomy seem to have been known in Judah in the late 7th century. Given this observation, the most probable explanation for Deuteronomy's southward journey seems to be the Assyrian conquest in the late 8th century BCE, when large parts of the Northern elite flew to the South. (pp. 29-30)
That all makes some sense, but then how in the world did Deuteronomy come to be accepted as scripture in late seventh-century Judah--not to mention a precipitating factor in a religious reform that had one of its goals the centralization of the cult in Jerusalem--when this very document explicitly calls for cult centralization at the Northern shrine of Gerizim? Certainly Schorch recognizes the problem:
We may imagine that the strong Deuteronomic references to the Gerizim cult must have posed a serious challenge to Judeans. Therefore, we will have to answer the question why and how Deuteronomy was adopted in the South. (p. 30)
Schorch proposes two answers (pp. 30-31). The first is that book itself had an inherent authority that demanded acceptance. The second is that the reception of Deuteronomy in the South involved a "re-contextualization" of the book. Schorch's first answer is completley unsatisfying, but the second one demands a little more attention, and Schorch develops it in more detail.

Schorch says that the re-contextualization involved connecting Deuteronomy to the Deuteronomistic History with its emphasis on Jerusalem, e.g., in 1Kings 8:16 (p. 31). Deuteronomy itself, though, still had the past tense of the word "choose" in the centralization formula (pp. 31-32) and still had the word Gerizim in Deut. 27:4. With these two aspects of Deuteronomy still in place, Nehemiah 1:8-9 quoted the centralization formula, complete with past tense of "choose," and applied it to Jerusalem, even though Gerizim was in the text of Deuteronomy. Schorch actually says that this implies that Nehemiah attests the idea of the predestination of Jerusalem even at the time of Moses (p. 32).

Schorch also argues that some sources attest "the concept of the succession of several chosen places," culminating in Jeruslaem (p. 33). Examples are found in Psalm 78:60-68; 2Kings 23:27; Jeremiah 7:14-16.
Following this succession theory, Judeans could accept that Mount Gerizim was one of the chosen places of the past, while Jerusalem was the chosen place of the present and the future. (p. 33)
According to Schorch, no one thought this was a problem until the late Second Temple period, when the editors of the Masoretic Text altered these textual elements (past tense of "choose" and Gerizim) out of anti-Samaritan ideology. 
Thus, the textual changes from בחר to יבחר in the centralization formula and from "Gerizim" to "Ebla" in Deut 27:4 seem to have taken place within the contexts of an intensified exegetical interest in the centralization formula and the total delegitimation of Mount Gerizim and the proto-Samaritan claims to its sanctity. (p. 35)
All of this makes a great deal of sense. But why, then, does Schorch insist Deuteronomy originally could not have meant what Nehemiah 1:9; Psalm 78:60-68; 2Kings 23:27; and Jeremiah 7:14-16 think Deuteronomy meant? That is, Schorch asserts that the centralization formula in Deuteronomy originally pointed toward the exclusive and permanent sanctuary at Gerizim. Whereas Gerhard von Rad had suggested that the centralization formula actually envisages a series of cultic places, according to Schorch, this cannot be the original meaning of Deuteronomy "due to the Deuteronomic concept that Israel's entry into the chosen land is the end of wandering and the beginning of a period of general rest" (p. 25).


I think a lot of this work by Schenker and Schorch is very helpful, and certainly changes the way we look at some aspects of Deuteronomy, including its call for centralization of cultic activity. But it doesn't seem to me that Schorch, especially, has quite hit upon the implications of the textual work for the origins of Deuteronomy. In a later post I'll offer some reflections on the direction I think these data point. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Allan McNicol Has Been Here

It's already been a couple of weeks since we had this year's JPL lectures with Allan McNicol, and I have failed to reflect on them. We enjoyed the day a great deal, but unfortunately Dr. McNicol's duties in Austin prevented his staying with us any longer than about 24 hours.

You can see his two main academic lectures at the following links. They were very well received. He also did a lunch-time chat about his own academic and spiritual life and took questions from the assembled students, faculty, and guests during that time. I was glad to get to know Dr. McNicol and I look forward to seeing him again in Chicago at the SBL meeting.

Jack P. Lewis Lectures 2012 at Heritage Christian University

Allan McNicol, "The Master Story of Scripture"

Lecture 1: The Preservation of God's Endangered Promises

Lecture 2: The Renewal of Hope in the Fulfillment of God's Endangered Promises

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Place Where God's Name Dwells

In his recent book on The Formation of the Hebrew Bible, David Carr makes use of recent work by Adrian Schenker in arguing that the Masoretic Text (MT) of Deuteronomy exhibits Hasmonean-era editing in two main ways: (1) the frequently-occurring formula, "the place where God will choose for his name to dwell" originally had the past tense "has chosen"; and (2) the reference to Mount Ebal in Deut. 27:4 originally read Mount Gerizim. Thus, in the original text of Deuteronomy, the place that the Lord "has chosen" is Gerizim, and it was only in the late editing of the book that the formula became future and looked forward to the selection of Jerusalem as the sacred site, as the MT has it. The original text is now preserved in the Samaritan Pentateuch and in some Greek, Latin, and Coptic witnesses (see below). According to Carr:
The original referents to Gerizim in Deuteronomy make sense as relatively early portions of the text, centering the inscription of the Torah in the heartland of the Israelite tribes and ultimately leading to a covenant ceremony at Gerizim and Ebal (Deut 27:12-13). The apparent alterations in the proto-MT of Deuteronomy, in turn, are best set in the context of the destruction of the sanctuary at Mount Gerizim by the Hasmonean John Hyrcanus in 128 BCE. (p. 168)
Now, this idea is fairly new. The standard view is that the Samaritan Pentateuch changed the tense of the verb "choose" to past tense, whereas the original reading in the future was preserved in the MT. The Samaritans did this to turn the focus of Deuteronomy away from Jerusalem and toward their sacred site of Shechem, near Gerizim. This latter idea is the one endorsed, for instance, by Emanuel Tov in the latest edition of his Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible: the Samaritans made this change because, "from the Samaritan perspective, Schechem had already been chosen at the time of the patriarchs (Gen 12:6; Gen 33:18-20), and therefore they felt a need to change the tense" away from the future of the Masoretic Text, which alludes to Jerusalem. (See p. 88 of Tov's 3rd ed.; the wording is only slightly changed from the 2nd ed. [2001], p. 94.) Note that Tov does accept the reading "Gerizim" in Deut. 27:4, or, at least, he says "it should probably be considered non-sectarian and possibly original" (3rd ed., p. 88 n. 140). On this point, see also Carmel McCarthy's BHQ edition of Deuteronomy (pp. 122*-123*) and this monograph by Magnar Kartveit, pp. 300-5.

What is the evidence adduced by Schenker as he seeks to overturn scholarly orthodoxy about the original tense of the verb in the deuteronomic formula? In this post I will summarize Schenker's argument found in his first essay on the topic cited at the bottom of this post. There I also cite a few other works where the idea is discussed and accepted. All page references in this post refer to Schenker's first essay.

Summary of Schenker's Argument

According to Schenker, there are 21 total occurrences in the Book of Deuteornomy of the formula about God's choosing a place to cause his name to dwell. This is how Schenker breaks down the various ways the formula is worded:
  1. the place which the Lord will choose [or: has chosen] to cause his name to dwell (12:11; 14:23; 16:2, 6, 11; 26:2)
  2. the place which the Lord will choose [or: has chosen] to place his name (12:21; 14:24; cf. 12:5, combining both of these formulations)
  3. the place which the Lord will choose [or: has chosen] (12:14, 18, 26; 14:25; 15:20; 16:7, 15, 16; 17:8, 10; 18:6; 31:11). 
As I mentioned earlier, scholars have long known that the Samaritan Pentateuch exhibits the past tense "has chosen" in every occurrence of this formula, but scholars have typically seen that as a characteristic "Samaritan" feature of their text reflecting their peculiar ideology. It is this idea that Schenker wants to challenge. He does this by looking at some important versional evidence and finding it rather more complicated than previous analysis would allow. Unfortunately, examination of the Dead Sea Scrolls does not help since not a single one of these 21 passages is extant among the 30 or so Deuteronomy scrolls from Qumran. (The only one that's close is 14:25, but the beginning of the word for "choose" is missing so it is unclear if it's perfect or imperfect.)

The Gottingen edition of Greek Deuteronomy, edited by John William Wevers, always gives the future of "choose" in the text, but it occasionally cites variant readings attesting the aorist or similar.

The following evidence is assembled by Schenker in support of the originality of the past tense reading reflected now in the Samaritan Pentateuch.
  • Nehemiah 1:9, which combines a citation of Deut. 30:4 with the formula under examination, and attests that formula in the past tense (has chosen).
  • Deut 12:5--LXX ms 72 and Bohairic version of LXX
  • 12:11, 26--Bohairic editions
  • 12:14--one Bohairic ms
  • 12:21--two Sahidic witnesses. Schenker stresses that of the five occurrences of our formula in Deut. 12, these same mss attest the future for the other four, but for this one occurrence, the formula is not assimilated to the future but is left in the past. 
  • 14:23(22)--LXX ms 72, four Bohairic mss.
  • 14:24(23) and 14:25(24)--LXX ms 72 and all Bohairic mss. 
  • 16:2--LXX ms 16, one ms of the Vetus Latina (VL)
  • 16:7--two Bohairic mss and a ms of the VL
  • 17:8--all but one Bohairic ms
  • 17:10--VL, according to Lucifer of Calgari, and a Sahidic ms.
Schenker summarizes this evidence with the following points (pp. 345-7):
  1. Of the 21 appearances of the formula in Deuteronomy, 11 are attested in the past tense by one or two witnesses. [Actually, I count 12 such cases. For some reason Schenker omits from the reckoning here 12:14, which he had earlier discussed on pp. 342-3. It seems to be the only case in which only a single manuscript attests the reading, but Schenker says in his summary that he is talking about situations in which "un ou deux témoins offrent le verbe au passé" (p. 345). UPDATE: I notice that this is corrected in Schenker's second article listed below, where he does talk about 12 passages (p. 114).]
  2. In five of these cases there is the support of 2 witnesses (12:5; 14:24(23), 25(24); 16:2; 17:10). Schenker would also add 14:23(22) and 16:7. 
  3. In each witness, "the passages offering the verb conjugated in the preterite are the minority in the face of others with the future" (p. 345). For instance, for LXX ms 72, the formula has the future in all but four occurrences, where it has the past. Similarly, LXX ms 16 attests the preterite only once. The VL gives the perfect elegit three times (16:2, 7; 17:10). Schenker also gives statistics for the Bohairic and Sahidic. He concludes this point: "Thus this reading has a good chance of being original in each of the cases where it is encountered" (p. 346). 
  4. The relevant textual witnesses (i.e., the Bohairic, Sahadic, and VL) often exhibit an early, pre-Origenian text. LXX ms 72 gives a mixed text, and LXX ms 16 gives a text characteristic of the catenae
  5. These five witnesses (LXX mss 72 and 16, VL, Bohairic, Sahadic) are not dependent on the Samaritan Pentateuch but reflect the LXX. 
This leads to five further points about the tense of the verb in our deuteronomic formula in the LXX(pp. 347-8).
  1. The 11 readings of the verb in the past tense are attested by five independent witnesses. 
  2. Because the reading is always the minority among its 21 appearances in whatever textual witness, it has a good chance of being more original than the majority reading. "In fact, because of the formulaic character of the context, pressure is exerted on the copyists in the direction of identical formulation each time and not toward diversification, for which the context offers no motive whatsoever" (p. 347). 
  3. The minority reading diverges from the Masoretic Text, whereas the tendency in the transmission of the LXX was to assimilate its readings to the MT. 
  4. The Samaritan Pentateuch exerted no influence on the LXX or on the five witnesses attesting the past tense, so that these witnesses and the Samaritan Pentateuch confirm one another. 
  5. The semi-quotation of the formula in Nehemiah 1:9 supports seeing the past tense as original. 
En résumé, la  lxx originale a probablement lu au 3e s. av. J.-Chr. le verbe à l’accompli : « le lieu que le Seigneur a choisi », puisqu’elle a trouvé cette forme du verbe dans son modèle hébreu. Elle atteste ainsi la leçon du Sam comme présamaritaine. L’accompli du verbe dans cette formule deutéronomique n’est pas une leçon secondaire créée par les Samaritains. (p. 348)
Since Schenker thus concludes that the original LXX and its Vorlage contained the past tense form, he now investigates whether this was the original form of the Hebrew text. Connecting the "law of centralization" in Deuteronomy (i.e., the law of which our formula is an intimate part; cf. Deut. 12:5) to the command to build an altar on a mountain within the Promise Land in Deut. 27:4-7 (whether that mountain is Ebal or, as Schenker thinks, Gerizim; see beginning of this post), he concludes that the past tense makes most sense because within the context of Deuteronomy, the place that the Lord puts his name is not Jerusalem (which will become the sacred city only in 2Sam 24) but this particular mountain mentioned in the book itself.

Thus, the MT's future tense in our formula is the ideological correction (and not the Samaritan Pentateuch's past tense) to allow for the reference to now be to Jerusalem, chosen by God in the future from the perspective of Deuteronomy. This change in the MT would have taken place, according to Schenker, after the translation of the LXX in the early third century, since this Alexandrian translation probably used Hebrew Vorlagen from Jerusalem and approved by the Jewish leadership there (p. 350). Very early the LXX was revised toward the revised Hebrew text, so that the non-revised Greek wording survived in only a few marginal witnesses.

For the idea discussed above, see especially the first essay by Schenker. He and Stefan Schorch have developed the idea in further essays, and it has been accepted by David Carr, as noted above.

Adrian Schenker, "Le Seigneur choisira-t-il le lieu de son nom ou l’a-t-il choisi? l’apport de la Bible grecque ancienne à l’histoire du texte samaritain et massorétique.” Pages 339–51 in Scripture in Transition: Essays on Septuagint, Hebrew Bible, and Dead Sea Scrolls in Honour of Raija Sollamo. Edited by Anssi Voitila and Jutta Jokiranta. Leiden: Brill, 2008. (full text available here)

---. “Textgeschichtliches zum Samaritanischen Pentateuch und Samareitikon: Zur Textgeschichte des Pentateuchs im 2. Jh. v.Chr.” Pages 105–21 in Samaritans: Past and Present. Current Studies. Edited by Menahem Mor and Friederich V. Reiterer. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2010. (book preview here)

Stefan Schorch. “The Samaritan Version of Deuteronomy and the Origin of Deuteronomy.” Pages 23–37 in Samaria, Samarians, Samaritans: Studies on Bible, History and Linguistics. Edited by József Zsengellér. Berling: de Gruyter, 2011. (full text available here)

David Carr, The Formation of the Hebrew Bible: A New Reconstruction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.(book preview here)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The OT Food Laws and Gen. 1

I have recently been reading some commentaries on Deuteronomy 14, one of the two OT chapters (the other being Leviticus 11) detailing the laws of kashrut regarding the foods that the Israelites were permitted to eat. Several of the commentators have noted that the division of animals into (1) land animals, (2) water animals, and (3) air animals has a connection with the similar division articulated in Gen. 1. In the minds of these commentators, this is apparently supposed to be significant, and perhaps demonstrate a shared ideology or some such.

But that seems rather silly. Classifying animals by their habitation seems a rather obvious way to go about classifying animals, and then land, sea, and sky are the obvious distinctions among animal habitations. Where else do animals live but on land, in the sea, and in the sky? Drawing a connection between Deut. 14 (or Lev. 11) and Gen. 1 based on this would be like connecting two different chapters that both attest that grass is green.

Am I overlooking something? Is this more significant than I think?