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Pentateuchal Studies: Welcome
The term Pentateuch refers to the first 5 books of the Hebrew Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers). Tradition states that Moses was the original author of these books but biblical scholarship has put this claim into question. The most notable argument being the Documentary Hypothesis (J, E, D, P) made famous by Julius Wellhausen in the late 19th century; however there has been growing tension concerning the validity of the Documentary Hypothesis, most notably the strand known as J. This short LibGuide will provide students with scholarship that touches on this important question that still pervades within Hebrew Bible scholarship, "Who wrote these books?" as well as introductory works on the five books.
This LibGuide will not include commentaries on these books. HERE is a link to the Hebrew Bible Commentaries LibGuide that provides links to many of the digital commentaries available in the DTL.
As with all LibGuides these are just some of the many resources made available through the DTL. To access more please use the search bar above.
The Composition of the Pentateuch by
"For well over two centuries the question of the composition of the Pentateuch has been among the most central and hotly debated issues in the field of biblical studies. In this book, Joel Baden presents a fresh and comprehensive argument for the Documentary Hypothesis. Critically engaging both older and more recent scholarship, he fundamentally revises and reorients the classical model of the formation of the Pentateuch. Interweaving historical and methodological chapters with detailed textual case studies, Baden provides a critical introduction to the history of Pentateuchal scholarship, discussions on the most pressing issues in the current debate, and a practical model for the study of the biblical text." - Yale University Press
Double Narratives in the Old Testament by
"A study of the importance of variant forms of Old Testament narratives in prompting the development of the criticism of the Bible. The recognition of the recurrence of stories in variant forms in the Old Testament has been seminal to the birth and development of biblical criticism. The author assesses the role of the "double narrative phenomenon" in the evolution of Old Testament methodology, from its earliest documentary theories to its most recent literary ones, with the help of current literary, folklore and textual studies." - De Gruyter
The Exegesis of the Pentateuch by
"The studies collected in this book represent landmarks in the vast exegetical landscape of the Pentateuch. In the first series of these studies, Jean-Louis Ska examines key texts from different perspectives and draws a map to show the way. These texts are mainly the story of the flood (Gen 6-9), the call of Abraham (Gen 12:1-4), God's covenant with Abraham (Gen 15), the Lord's apparition to Abraham in Mamre (Gen 18), the sacrifice of Isaac (Gen 22), the introduction to the Sinai covenant (Exod 19:3-6), and the meal and the vision on the mountain (Exod 24:9-11). Different methods are used according to the text or the topic treated: literary criticism, redaction criticism, inner-biblical exegesis, and narrative analysis. In the second part, the author grapples with some basic issues in recent debates about exegetical methods: the function of the narrator, the validity of resorting to the category of "redactor", the nature and purpose of the biblical law collections, and the legitimacy of a critical reading of the Old Testament. The Pentateuch is a cantata with many voices, and faithfulness to its nature means that the exegete has to use all the instruments at his or her disposal to make this old music be heard once again." - Mohr Siebeck
The Formation of the Pentateuch by
"The Pentateuch lies at the heart of the Western humanities. Yet despite nearly two centuries of scholarship, its historical origins and its literary history are still a subject of intense discussion. Critical scholarship has isolated multiple layers of tradition, inconsistent laws, and narratives that could only have originated from separate communities within ancient Israel, and were joined together at a relatively late stage by a process of splicing and editing. Recent developments in academic biblical studies, however, jeopardize the revolutionary progress that has been accomplished over the last two centuries. The past forty years of scholarship have witnessed not simply a proliferation of intellectual models, but the fragmentation of discourse within the three main research centers of Europe, Israel, and North America. Even when they employ the same terminology (redactor, author, source, exegesis), scholars often mean quite different things. Concepts taken for granted by one group of scholars (such as the existence of the Elohist source) are dismissed out of hand by other scholarly communities. In effect, independent and sometimes competing scholarly discourses have emerged in Europe, Israel, and North America. Each centers on the Pentateuch, each operates with its own set of working assumptions, and each is confident of its own claims. This volume seeks to stimulate international discussion about the Pentateuch in order to help the discipline move toward a set of shared assumptions and a common discourse. With the wide range of perspectives examined, this publication is an invaluable resource for subsequent research." - De Gruyter
From Paradise to the Promised Land: An Introduction to the Pentateuch by
"Desmond Alexander provides an introduction that considers the Pentateuch as a whole, both thematically and theologically. The Pentateuch is presented as a unity, yet the variety of topics within it receive substantial and penetrating treatment. It is the sort of study that many readers and their teachers have long wanted on this first section of the Old Testament."
-- J. Gordon McConville, University of Gloucestershire
Handbook on the Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy by
"In this introduction to the first five books of the Old Testament, Victor Hamilton moves chapter by chapter through the Pentateuch, examining the content, structure, and theology. Hamilton surveys each major thematic unit of the Pentateuch and offers useful commentary on overarching themes and connections between Old Testament texts." - Baker Academic
Inconsistency in the Torah: Ancient Literary Convention and the Limits of Source Criticism by
"This book proposes a new approach to the Pentateuch’s narrative and legal inconsistencies that scholars have taken as signs of fragmentation and competing agendas. Recent studies of the scribal culture of the ancient Near East reveal that the models of textual growth hypothesized by biblicists often find no basis in the empirical evidence of these neighboring cultures. It reveals precursors for a variety of Pentateuchal inconsistencies in the narrative literature of the ancient Near East, deliberately deployed by a single agent. It explores the inconsistencies between the Pentateuch’s law corpora and arguing the view that these collections conflict with one another rests on an anachronistic understanding of ancient Near Eastern and biblical law as statutory law. It maintains that the historical critical approach to the Pentateuch has relied upon scholarly intuition concerning the inconsistencies found in the text. " - OUP
Introduction to Reading the Pentateuch by
"When Jean Louis Ska's Introduzione alla lettura del Pentateuco was first published in Italy, it was quickly hailed as the most attractive and usable introduction to the Pentateuch to appear in modern times. Because of its strengths, it was soon translated into French. The English translation published by Eisenbrauns has been completely reviewed and updated (including the bibliography) by Ska. Among the book's many strengths are its close attention to the ways in which modern cultural history has affected Pentateuchal interpretation, attention to providing the kinds of examples that are helpful to students, presentation of a good balance between the history of interpretation and the data of the text, and the clarity of Ska's writing. For both students and scholars, many consider this book the best contemporary introduction to the Pentateuch." - Eisenbrauns
The Pentateuch by
"This book introduces students with a little background in biblical studies to the scholarly study of the Pentateuch (Genesis to Deuteronomy). Existing introductions to the Pentateuch are either mainly concerned with historical criticism or taken up with a survey of the contents of the five books, or both. This book is distinctive in that every chapter is concerned with the whole Pentateuch, and in that it approaches the subject from three completely different points of view, following the way in which biblical scholarship has developed over the past 30 years. The first part attempts to understand the text as it stands, as narrative, law and covenant. The second surveys the work that has been done on the history and development of the text, and its historicity. The third is concerned with its reception and interpretation. There are many detailed examples throughout, and aids to study include tables and boxes in the text, questions to enable students to come to grips with the issues either in private study or in class, and detailed guides to further reading." - SCM Press
The Pentateuch by
"The Pentateuch, in the Core Biblical Studies series, will introduce the Five Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. It will combine a purely literary approach to reading the final form of the Pentateuch with a historical reading of the text. The literary approach will emphasize the structural role played by the so-called toledoth (generations) formulae that trace the history of humankind from Adam, through the ancestors of Israel, and finally to Moses and Aaron as the founders of Israel’s priesthood. The historical reading of the text will challenge the older model of source analysis to argue instead for a model that traces the composition of the Pentateuch from its origins in northern Israel during the 9th-8th centuries B.C.E., (E), through its subsequent editions in Judah during the 8th-7th centuries B.C.E,. (J and D), and finally through the final redaction in the Persian period, (P). " - Abingdon Press
The Pentateuch by
"The Oxford Bible Commentary is a Bible study and reference work for 21st century students and readers that can be read with any modern translation of the Bible. It offers verse-by-verse explanation of every book of the Bible by the world's leading biblical scholars. From its inception, OBC has been designed as a completely non-denominational commentary, carefully written and edited to provide the best scholarship in a readable style for readers from all different faith backgrounds. It uses the traditional historical-critical method to search for the original meaning of the texts, but also brings in new perspectives and insights - literary, sociological, and cultural - to bring out the expanding meanings of these ancient writings and stimulate new discussion and further enquiry. Newly issued in a series of part volumes, the OBC is now available in an affordable and portable format for the study of specific sections of the Bible. The Pentateuch, or Torah ('the law'), comprises the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Commentaries are preceded by introductions to the Old Testament and to the Pentateuch as a whole." - OUP
Pentateuch, Hexateuch, or Enneateuch by
"The identification of literary works in the Pentateuch and the Former Prophets is a hallmark of the modern historical-critical interpretation of the Hebrew Bible. The theories of a Tetrateuch, a Hexateuch, or a Deuteronomistic History have played a central role in recovering the literary history of the Pentateuch and the Former Prophets. The breakdown of these methodologies in recent research has forced scholars to reevaluate the criteria for identifying literary works in the formation of the Hebrew Bible. The present volume explores anew, without presupposition or exclusion, the criteria by which interpreters identify literary works in these books as a resource for recovering the composition history of the literature. It also brings North American and European approaches to the topic into a common discussion." - SBL Press
The Pentateuch: A Social-Science Commentary by
"In this magisterial overview of the Pentateuch John Van Seters reviews the various historical-critical attempts to read it that arise from notions about the social evolution of Israel’s religion and culture. Is the Pentateuch an accumulation of folk traditions, a work of ancient historiography, a document legitimizing religious reform? In dialogue with competing views, Van Seters advocates a compositional model that recognizes the social and historical diversity of the literary strata. Van Seters argues that a proto-Pentateuchal author created a comprehensive history from Genesis to Numbers that was written as a prologue to the Deuteronomistic History (Deuteronomy to 2 Kings) in the exilic period and later expanded by a Priestly writer to make it the foundational document of the Jerusalem temple community." - T&T Clark
The Pentateuch: Introducing the Torah by
"The Pentateuch is the heart of the Hebrew Bible and the foundational document of Judaism. It is also the focus of tremendous scholarly debate regarding the complex history of its composition, the historical background for its primeval history, ancestry narratives, and laws, the theological purposes of its final redaction, and its diverse interpretation in communities today. This textbook introduces students to the contents of the Torah and orients them to the key interpretive questions and methods shaping contemporary scholarship, inviting readers into the work of interpretation today." - Fortress Press
The State of the Pentateuch: A Comparison of the Approaches of M. Noth and E. Blum by
“This dissertation at the Melbourne College of Divinity (1996) was supervised by A.F. Campbell. Its purpose is "to evaluate R. Rendtorff's claim that, once the implications of the form-critical and tradition-historical method are properly appreciated and the method consistently applied, a division of the Pentateuch into continuous "sources" can no longer be justified or considered useful as a model by which to understand the process of transmission", and this is done by examining the contrasted treatments by Martin Noth and Erhard Blum of the story of Jacob and Laban in Gen. xxv 19-xxxiii 17.” – J.A. Emerton
Traditions of the Bible by
"James Kugel's The Bible As It Was (1997) has been welcomed with universal praise. Here now is the full scholarly edition of this wonderfully rich and illuminating work, expanding the author's findings into an incomparable reference work. Focusing on two dozen core stories in the Pentateuch--from the Creation and Tree of Knowledge through the Exodus from Egypt and journey to the Promised Land--James Kugel shows us how the earliest interpreters of the scriptures radically transformed the Bible and made it into the book that has come down to us today. Kugel explains how and why the writers of this formative age of interpretation--roughly 200 B.C.E. to 150 C.E.--assumed such a significant role. Mining their writings--including the Dead Sea Scrolls, works of Philo and Josephus and letters of the Apostle Paul, and writings of the Apostolic Fathers and the rabbinic Sages--he quotes for us the seminal passages that uncover this crucial interpretive process. For this full-scale reference work Kugel has added a substantial treasury of sources and passages for each of the 24 Bible stories. It will serve as a unique guide and sourcebook for biblical interpretation." - Harvard University Press
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