Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Exegetical Theology

Scripture References in this Resource

Deuteronomy 25:11–12; Deuteronomy 22:13–19; Deuteronomy 25:1–3; Deuteronomy 22:6–7; Deuteronomy 23:24–25; Deuteronomy 24:19-22; Deuteronomy 25:4; Leviticus 11:1–23; Deuteronomy 14:3–21; Exodus 28:35; Exodus 28:43; Exodus 30:20; Leviticus 8:35; Leviticus 10:6-7; Numbers 4:15; Numbers 4:19-20; Numbers 17:10; Numbers 18:3; Exodus 22:20; Leviticus 20:1–3; Deuteronomy 17:2–7; Exodus 22:17; Leviticus 20:27; Leviticus 24:10–16; Exodus 31:14–5; Numbers 15:32–36; Exodus 21:15, 17; Leviticus 20:9; Deuteronomy 21:18–21; Genesis 9:5–6; Exodus 21:12–14; Leviticus 24:17, 21; Numbers 35:16–34; Deuteronomy 19:11–3; Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22–24; Deuteronomy 22:20–21; Leviticus 21:9; Leviticus 20:11; Leviticus 20:12; Leviticus 20:14; Leviticus 20:13; Exodus 22:19; Leviticus 20:15–16


Hobson, G. Thomas. “‘Cut Off From (One’s) People’: Punitive Expulsion in the Torah.” Ph.D. diss., Concordia Seminary, 2010. 245 pp.

This dissertation argues that the Torah’s penalty “cut off from (one’s) people” (kareth) is normally a form of expulsion from the community of Israel, in contrast to the view that this penalty is a threatened divine extermination curse, a view reflected in the LXX and rabbinic traditions. The author traces a punitive expulsion interpretation from the fifth century B.C.E. Jewish community, to Maccabean-era practice as described by Josephus, to expulsion at Qumran. The use of the verb כדת is examined, including evidence from synonyms and from the Jewish and Samaritan Targumim. Evidence for punitive expulsion elsewhere in the ancient Near East is also assembled. The closest parallels to the biblical kareth penalty are found to be the expulsion of the unclean uzug in early Mesopotamia, and expulsion for the crime of hurkel practiced by the Hittites. Biblical kareth is found to be a merciful alternative to the death penalty, which also removes a source of contamination that endangers the community.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.