The Pentateuch: Interpreting Biblical Texts Series


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Using the theology of Jürgen Moltmann to find a new hermeneutic

A case in point would be the new Ophel inscription from Jerusalem, which exhibits a rather rudimentary level of linguistic education. A second question is, How did people write? Most of the inscriptions we have are on potsherds or stone, but this only what has survived. For obvious reasons, texts on stone or clay last much longer than those on papyrus or leather, so we cannot simply extrapolate from what archeologists have found to what people wrote on in general.

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In fact, there is only a single papyrus sheet left from the time of the monarchy, Mur. In all likelihood, the writing material for texts such as those in the Pentateuch was papyrus or leather: Longer books needed to be written on leather, because papyrus sheets are fragile. The ink was composed of grime and metal. Scholars estimate that it took a professional scribe six months to copy a book the length of Genesis or Isaiah. In biblical times, copies of the books of the Bible were probably very few in number.

For the second century B. This text quotes a letter from the Jerusalemites to the Jews in Alexandria that invites them to borrow a copy of those biblical books from Jerusalem that they do not possess.

In the same way Judas [Maccabaeus] also collected all the books that had been lost on account of the war that had come upon us, and they are in our possession. So if you have need of them, send people to get them for you. But when was the Pentateuch was composed? It is helpful at the outset to determine a time span in which its texts were written. For the terminus a quo , an important clarification is needed. We can only determine the beginnings of the earliest written versions of a text. Many texts in the Bible, especially in the Pentateuch, go back to oral traditions that can be much older than their written counterparts.

Therefore, the terminus a quo only determines the beginning of the written transmission of a text which, in turn, may have already been known as an oral tale or the like. Unlike many prophetic texts, Pentateuchal texts do not mention dates of authorship. One must therefore look for internal and external indicators in order to determine the date of their composition. We can safely determine a historical break in the ninth and eighth centuries B. By this point, a certain level of statehood and literacy was being achieved, and these two elements go together.

The Pentateuch - Terence E. Fretheim, Gene M. Tucker, Charles B. Cousar - Google книги

That is, the more developed a state, the more bureaucracy and education are needed—especially in the area of writing. When one considers the number of inscriptions found in ancient Israel and Judah, the numbers clearly increase in the eighth century, and this increase should probably be interpreted as indicating a cultural development in ancient Israel and Judah.

This claim can be corroborated by looking at the texts that have been found and that can be dated to the tenth century B. The modesty of their content and writing style alike are easy to discern. If we move forward about one century to the ninth century B. The first monumental stela from the region is the Mesha Stela, which is written in Moabite and which contains the first documented reference to Yhwh and Israel as we know them. Still another piece of evidence is the eighth-century Aramaic wall inscription from Tell Deir Allah, [34] which mentions the prophet Balaam that appears in Numbers 22— Along with others, Erhard Blum has recently argued convincingly for interpreting the site of Tell Deir Allah as a school, because of a late Hellenistic parallel to the building architecture of Trimithis in Egypt ca.

The landmark set in the ninth and eighth century B. At this time, Israel begins to be perceived by its neighbors as a state. That is, not only internal changes in the development of writing, but also external, contemporaneous perceptions hint that Israel and Judah had reached a level of cultural development in the eighth—ninth centuries to enable literary text production. King Asarhaddon and his subdues, Victory Stele of Esarhaddon, ca.

A good example are the Assyrian inscriptions from the mid-ninth century B. The Black Obelisk even displays Jehu in a picture bowing in front of the Assyrian king , being the oldest extant image of an Israelite. Based on these observations about the development of a scribal culture in ancient Israel, we can assume that the earliest texts in the Pentateuch may have originated as literary pieces from the ninth and eighth centuries B.

But to repeat: This chronological claim pertains only to their literary shape, whereas the oral traditions behind them could be much older, perhaps at times reaching back into the second millennium B. When was the Pentateuch finished? On this matter, three areas of evidence should be named. First, there is the translation into Greek, the so-called Septuagint, which can be dated to the mid-second century B.

It is not clear whether this denotes an already completed Pentateuch, but it at least points in this direction. The loss of this political order was accompanied by numerous questions.

The Horns of Moses. Setting the Bible in its Historical Context

Especially in Prophetic literature, this event was interpreted as a cosmic judgment. But in the Pentateuch, no text seems to allude to the event directly or indirectly. Therefore, the Pentateuch seems basically to be a pre-Hellenistic text, pre-dating Alexander the Great and the Hellenization of the East. However, there are a few exceptions to the pre-Hellenistic origins of the Pentateuch. This text seems to allude to the battles between Alexander and the Persians, as some scholars have suggested.

But these exceptions are minor. The substance of the Pentateuch seems to be pre-Hellenistic. We should begin by introducing a very general observation. Ancient Israel is part of the ancient Near East. Ancient Israel was a small political entitiy surrounded by greater, and much older, empires in Egpyt and Mesopotamia. The fragment proves that Mesopotamian literature was known and read in the Levant. Of course, there are indigenous traditions in ancient Israel that are not paralleled in other ancient Near Eastern material. Addressing this topic exhaustively is not possible at the moment.

That does not mean that the Bible is not an original text. The first example of how the ancient Near East shaped the Pentateuch has to do with the Neo-Assyrian empire, the preeminent power in the ancient world of the ninth—seventh centuries B. The Assyrians secured their power through treaties with their vassals. These treaties are usually have a three-part structure, containing an introduction, a corpus of stipulations, and a concluding section with blessings and curses. It is noteworthy that the book of Deuteronomy exhibits this same structure, apparently having been shaped according to the model of an Assyrian vassal treaty.

But there is one big difference: The function of Assyrian vassal treaties was to oblige subdued people to the Assyrian king in terms of absolute loyalty. The book of Deuteronomy likewise demands absolute loyalty from the people of Israel, but to God , not to the Assyrian king. So the book of Deuteronomy seems to take up both the structure and the basic concept of an Assyrian vassal treaty, while at the same time reinterpreting it. A second example of how the ancient Near East shaped the Pentateuch has to do with the Persian empire.

In B.

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Persian rule was perceived by many peoples in the Levant as peaceful, with the era seen as a quiet one, where various peoples could live according to their own culture, language, and religion. Sj Richard J. Stephen L. Charles B. Donald Senior.

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Studying the Temple Scroll as the most authoritative original text of the Torah, Book of Deuteronomy

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New Releases. Interpreting Biblical Texts: Pentateuch. Description In this volume, Terence E. Fretheim seeks to introduce the Pentateuch to modern readers, stressing its continuing capacity to speak a word of--or about--God. The two chapters of Part One provide an orientation to the critical study of the Pentateuch and present a proposal for reading the Pentateuch in terms of its rhetorical strategy.


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That strategy, Fretheim argues, is designed in such a way as to have a certain effect upon its readers, most basically to shape their faith and life. The five chapters of Part Two focus on the individual books that comprise the Pentateuch. Other books in this series. Psalms William P. Add to basket.

The Pentateuch: Interpreting Biblical Texts Series The Pentateuch: Interpreting Biblical Texts Series
The Pentateuch: Interpreting Biblical Texts Series The Pentateuch: Interpreting Biblical Texts Series
The Pentateuch: Interpreting Biblical Texts Series The Pentateuch: Interpreting Biblical Texts Series
The Pentateuch: Interpreting Biblical Texts Series The Pentateuch: Interpreting Biblical Texts Series
The Pentateuch: Interpreting Biblical Texts Series The Pentateuch: Interpreting Biblical Texts Series
The Pentateuch: Interpreting Biblical Texts Series The Pentateuch: Interpreting Biblical Texts Series
The Pentateuch: Interpreting Biblical Texts Series The Pentateuch: Interpreting Biblical Texts Series
The Pentateuch: Interpreting Biblical Texts Series The Pentateuch: Interpreting Biblical Texts Series

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