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Suggestions for Further Reading on the Pentateuch

A couple of readers have asked if I have any bibliography to suggest in connection with the thread I am just finishing now on the sources behind the Pentateuch.   Below are the suggestions I make in my textbook on the Bible, the first three chapters. As you’ll see, they are briefly annotated to give you a sense of where first to turn, based on you particular interests.  The first chapter is an Introduction to the Bible, and so the bibliography comprises general reference works that I highly recommend.  These may be ones you would want to buy if you are hard core into your interests.  The other two chapters are on Genesis and then the rest of the Pentateuch.   *********************************************************     Suggestions for Further Reading   Chapter One: What is the Bible?  And Why Is It So Hard to Understand? Coogan, Michael and Bruce Metzger, eds.   Oxford Companion to the Bible.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.  A superb dictionary of all things biblical, ideal for both beginning and advanced students. Freedman,  David [...]

2020-04-03T03:30:36-04:00July 10th, 2016|Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Reader’s Questions|

Other Literary Tensions in the Pentateuch

I have started a brief thread on the Pentateuch and why scholars think that it was not written by a single author – Moses or anyone else – but is composed of several sources later patched together.  In my previous post I started giving the reasons for thinking so, the literary tensions found in the opening chapters of Genesis.  I continue here with this theme.  Again, this is taken from my book The Bible: A Historical and Literary Introduction ******************************************************************* The literary inconsistencies of Genesis are not unique to these two chapters.  On the contrary, there are such problems scattered throughout the book.   You can see this for yourself simply by reading the text very carefully.  Read, for example, the story of the flood in Genesis 6-9, and you will find comparable differences.  One of the most glaring is this:  according to Gen. 6:19 God told Noah to take two animals “of every kind” with him into the ark; but according to Gen. 7:2 God told him to take seven pairs of all “clean animals” [...]

2020-04-03T03:32:16-04:00July 1st, 2016|Hebrew Bible/Old Testament|

Literary Tensions in the Creation Account of Genesis

In yesterday’s post I began to explain why scholars have thought that the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy), were not written by Moses, but later, and that they represent not a single work by a single author, but a compilation of sources, each of them written at different times.   The evidence for this view is quite overwhelming, and in the context of my textbook on the Bible, as in the context here, I didn’t really think it appropriate or useful to dig deeply into all the nuances and ins and outs.  Instead, I gave some of the prominent data.   Here is how I started to do that. ************************************************************* The internal tensions in the Pentateuch came to be seen as particularly significant.  Nowhere were these tensions more evident than in the opening accounts of the very first book, in the creation stories of Genesis chapters 1 and 2.   Scholars came to recognize that what is said in Genesis 1 cannot be easily (or at all) reconciled with [...]

2020-04-03T03:32:25-04:00June 28th, 2016|Hebrew Bible/Old Testament|

Who Wrote the Pentateuch? Early Questions of Authorship.

On to something different!  I want to move to a new blog topic for a while.  I’ve been talking about my new book – still being written! – about the Christianization of the empire – for a while, and it’s obviously the topic near and dear to me just now.  But variety is the spice of life. Several readers have responded to me about my response to the question of the sources behind the Pentateuch – the first five books of the Hebrew Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, also called, collectively, the “Torah” or the “Law” of Moses).   I thought it might be refreshing to say a few more things about these books and the question of who actually wrote them.  I had discussed some of this on the blog three years ago, when I was writing my textbook The Bible: A Historical and Literary Introduction.   Here I will lift a few sections from the book dealing with this fascinating and important topic. The question: Who wrote the Pentateuch?  Historically, it was always [...]

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