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There has been a widely accepted view that the recognition of the Pentateuch as a distinct corpus goes back to the late fifth or early fourth century BCE and is coterminus with the end of its compositional development. First, as we shall see below, there are many scholars who do not view Deuteronomy as the conclusion to a literary corpus but a work that continues on into Joshua and perhaps beyond. Both approaches make the Pentateuch problematic 3 from the perspective of a literary history.

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Secondly, this convergence of canonicity with the final stage of literary history has led increasingly in recent years to the literary study of the Pentateuch in its final canonical form. It is the unity of authority by the attribution of these books to Moses as the medium of divine inspiration. This cannot be the basis for any literary analysis of the Pentateuch or part of it.

Unless one can convincingly demonstrate such a design by careful critical analysis, the concept of a Pentateuch remains problematic for any literary analysis of the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament. Nevertheless, the term Pentateuch remains as the subject of this introduction because it is the term used in scholarship for a field of academic inquiry, even when its unity and limits are in question. Indeed, this book intends to show how the literary and historical-critical study of the Pentateuch has made the very concept of the Pentateuch problematic.

Once the decision is made to separate the question of canon from the literary history of the Bible, then a literary history of the biblical text cannot arrive at the final form of the Pentateuch. What we will be concerned with is the development of the literary strata that we discover in the Pentateuch, their relationship to each other and to the rest of the books that follow the Pentateuch in the Hebrew Bible. The purpose of this book is to introduce the student to the historical-critical method of Pentateuchal study, which is the indispensable basis for a social-scientific commentary of the five books within the Pentateuch.

There are many hermeneutical methods applied to the interpretation of the Bible, many different ways of reading the texts of the Pentateuch. This will be followed by a brief survey of the rise of the historical-critical method from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries and the dominant methods and schools of the literary, form-critical and traditio-historical methods.

The Pentateuch Fortress Commentary on the Bible Study Edition Fortress Commentary on the Bible pdf d

Limitations of space will only permit rather selective treatment of major figures. The emphasis will be on the continuing impact of these figures and their views in current Pentateuchal study.

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Bible - Old Testament: Pentateuch

It has been frequently stated that Pentateuchal studies have been in a state of flux and upheaval since the mids. As one who has been among those at the center of this state of affairs, I will give an account, as I see it, of how this upheaval came about. I will try to sort out the current issues under discussion and the models of literary criticism that are now being used. In spite of the apparent chaos rendered by the demise of the older consensus, there is greater attention to basic methodological issues than ever before.

Rashi: commentaries on the Pentateuch by Rashi

The second half of the book will be an attempt to construct a history of the literary development of the Pentateuch. It will advocate the view that the Pentateuch as we now have it was the product of literary activity in a few clearly identifiable stages, leaving distinct literary strata, over a period of a little more than two centuries from the late monarchy to the late Persian periods.

The proposal will be made in dialogue with the other literary methods set out in the previous chapters, but space limitations will mean that I will need to rely on more detailed argument in other publications.

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  7. A major point of contention will be the relative chronological order of the literary strata and the dating of these strata within the larger history of Israel. Ana Rodrigues rated it it was amazing Jun 23, Micah rated it really liked it Feb 15, Isaac S rated it really liked it Jul 13, Kuzriel rated it liked it Mar 21, Rebecca Shamsian added it Jun 23, Zach Perkins marked it as to-read Nov 26, Daniela Neusner marked it as to-read Oct 10, Jeramiah Giehl marked it as to-read Jan 31, Stephen marked it as to-read Mar 03, Joseph Deutsch marked it as to-read Mar 13, Ian Smith added it Apr 04, Julie marked it as to-read Sep 03, Erin Morey marked it as to-read Mar 25, Katy Sisko marked it as to-read Jul 11, Charles Nunno marked it as to-read Oct 23, Richard Tines marked it as to-read Oct 24, Avram Mizrahi marked it as to-read Jan 02, Tasha-Lee marked it as to-read May 08, There are no discussion topics on this book yet.

    In dialogue with competing views, Van Seters advocates a compositional model that recognizes the social and historical diversity of the literary strata.

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    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. This social-science commentary on the Pentateuch is renowned as one of the most influential volumes on this group of texts.


    For the new edition Van Seters has revised several sections of the text, updating and integrating new bibliographical items, and refining the text where necessary. A reflective preface summarizes these changes and developments for the reader's convenience.