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The Composition of the Pentateuch: A New Theory (Third part)

The elements of  the so-called Deuteronomism are the centralization of worship in the Temple of Jerusalem, the confession of faith in JHWH, the search for identity of Israel and the corresponding uniqueness of the Law. The phenomenon called “Deuteronomism” is the fundamental reform that led the formation of Judaism of the times…

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The Pentateuch – Introduction (First part)

Jews call the sacred text “TANAK,” an acronym composed by the first letters of the three parts of  the Hebrew Bible: the Torah (the Law), Nevi’im (The Prophets), Ketuvim (The Writings). The Torah corresponds exactly to our Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy). The Prophets are divided into “former prophets” and “latter prophets”. The former…

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The Composition of the Pentateuch: A New Theory (Second part)

The post-exilic reforms of the jewish community were inspired by the so called King Josiah‘s Reform (cfr. 2 Kings 22-23; 2 Chr 34). The first reform was the centralization of worship in Jerusalem.  Deuteronomy 12 – the chapter which opens the so-called “Deuteronomic Code” (Deut 12-26) – speaks about that reform.…

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The Composition of the Pentateuch: A New Theory (First part)

Although the book of Deuteronomy is located at the end of the Pentateuch it plays a central role in the formation of the Pentateuch. Substantially Deuteronomy invites the readers to remember (in Heb. zaqar) and to listen (in Heb. shama) the commands given by God to Moses and to observe them in everyday…

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The Pentateuch: A Long History of Study and Research (Sixth part)

The source P. This “source” presents a considerable amount of difficulties. At first it was called Elohist (by the French physician Jean Astruc), then “priestly code” (hence the initials “P”) or “priestly tradition”. Classically it is believed that P has represented the last editorial phase of the Pentateuch, giving it the…

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The Pentateuch: A Long History of Study and Research (Fifth part)

Deuteronomy (D) and Deuteronomist. In the nineteenth century, scholars discussed a lot about the origin of the Pentateuch. Wellhausen, for example, maintained that there were originally two parts (Dt 1-4:44; 12-26; 27; 4:45-11:39; 28-30) which were then merged together in the final redaction of the Pentateuch. Regarding the dating of the source,…

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The Pentateuch: A Long History of Study and Research (Fourth part)

The Elohist. This source is called Elohist because before the Sinai’s accounts God is always called Elohim. In the early stages of research on the Pentateuch it was regarded as the most important source, as was attributed to this source what will be later assigned to the source P. It is the…

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The Pentateuch: A Long History of Study and Research (Third part)

Source Yahwist (J).  This source is related to the first documentary hypothesis also called “Graf-Wellhausen hypothesis”. It is based on the presence of YHWH name starting from the chapter of Genesis 1-3. The source’s tone is light and free, and it begins from creation to reach the Davidic kingdom. The dating is very…

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The Pentateuch: A Long History of Study and Research (Second Part)

The scholar who more than any other has influenced the studies on the formation of the Pentateuch is certainly Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918). He began his academic career as a theologian at the University of Greifswald, from which, however, resigned for the incompatibility of his studies with the academic task of training future pastors of…

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The Pentateuch: A Long History of Study and Research (First Part)

Until the sixteenth century, no scholar doubted that Moses was the material author of the Pentateuch. Moses wrote all the books of the Pentateuch. The first to doubt this paternity was the German scholar Andreas Rudolph Bodenstein Karlstadt (1480-1541) who observed that Moses could never write about his death, as…

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