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UMD HIST 282 - Biblical Source Criticism

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HIST 282/JWST 234History of the Jewish People IBiblical Source Criticism1. Documentary Hypothesis Sources called J, E, D, and P used in makeup of Pentateuch (Torah). The exercise on the Flood story willgive you insight into how source critics read the Pentateuch. While the four-source theory is widelyheld, many scholars reject the model as a whole (while still accepting the idea of a text made up ofsources and subsequent editing). Even among those who hold the theory there is much debate oversuch issues of as dating.D (“Deuteronomy”) is easiest to identify, since it more or less corresponds to a book. The language ofDeuteronomy is distinctive within the Pentatech, as are specific concerns such as worship of God onlyin one place (centralized cult). Noting passages such as covenant at Mts. Ebal and Gerizim (nearShechem), some scholars suggest D emerged in the northern Kingdom. But the ideas and languagehave clearly shaped the (southern, Judahite) book of Kings, and Hezekiah’s and Josiah’s reforms seemclosely connected with D’s ideas about centralized cult. Josiah’s reform and celebration of Passover issaid to follow the “discovery” of a “book of the law (torah)” during Temple renovations (2Kgs 22:1–13). Was this the book of Deuteronomy as some scholars suggest? Still others see D as later than this.J (for Jehovah, as earlier scholars spelled the name of Israel’s god, YHWH, usually translated LORD).Seems to have “southern” associations (e.g., J’s material on Abraham places him in Mamre nearHebron; J’s version of the sale of Joseph features Judah rather than Reuben). Traditionally dated to10th C, but on little evidence.E (for Elohim, “God,” the name that E uses until Exod. 3:13–14). Seems to have “northern” associations(emphasis on Bethel; both E and Deuteronomy refer to Horeb rather than Sinai as the place of God’scovenant). Dated to 9th/8th C, but again, little evidence.P (for “Priests). For the periods from creation to the selection of Moses, P uses Elohim, as in the Noahstory, until God reveals himself to Moses (“but my name the LORD I did not make known to them,”Ex. 6:3). Dates given for P range most widely. Some see its origins as early as the 8th century BCE,others quite late (the present form of Chronicles is from about 400, and many scholars associate Pand Chronicles). Another point of debate is the relative date of D and P (centralized cult is one of theissues in the debate): some see P as the latest strand of the Torah; but others scholars date P earlierthan D.2. While the details above apply to the Pentateuch, the methods of analysis apply to otherBiblical works as well.For instance: in 1 Samuel 16:14–23 David is introduced as a skilled warrior brought into the Saul’sservice to play the lyre. Then in 1 Sam. 17:12 and following David is introduced again, this time as ayoung shepherd sent by his father to bring supplies to his brothers, who kills Goliath with a sling.Interestingly, a version of the Bible circulated in antiquity without this second introduction of David(1 Sam. 7:12–30), because it is missing in early manuscripts of the Greek translation of the bible.Incidentally, the Bible tells us elsewhere that Goliath was killed by someone else (Elhanan of YaareOrgim of Bethlehem, 2 Sam 21:19; in 1 Chron. 20:5 “brother of Goliath”). 3. Also applies to legal material.In Deut. 16:1–8 the Passover sacrifice can come from the flocks or the herds (i.e., sheep/goats or cattle),“and you shall cook it” (Hebrew root: b-sh-l). In Exodus 12:8–9 the sacrifice is said to be a lamb; and“They shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread .... Do not eat any of it raw or cooked(b-sh-l) in water.” Thus there appear to be differences in basic rules and procedures for how thesacrifice is to be carried out. These differences were noticed at an early date, since 2 Chronicles35:7–13 seems to purposely harmonize them. Josiah is said to celebrate Passover and contribute“lambs and kids from the flock ... and bulls” and “they boiled (b-sh-l) the passover lamb with fire, andthey boiled (b-sh-l) the holy offerings [i.e., the bulls] in pots ....” That is, two different kinds ofsacrifices are actually referred to in Deuteronomy and Exodus (only one is the Passover proper) andthey are prepared differently, and the expression “boiled … with fire” for the Passover may imply“roasting.”Religion of the Bible/Religion of IsraelBiblical Cultic CalendarsaExod. 23 Exod. 34Deut. 16bLev. 23“Passover” offering [Not mentioned here; Exodus 12 outlines Passover]Ref. (out of order, in 34:25) to Passover sacrificeMonth (new moon?) of AbibSacrifice at “the place that the Lord will choose as a dwelling for his name”cCommemorates Exodus1/14d[Distinct from “unleavened bread”]“Unleavened Bread”(Massot)7 days in the monthof AbibCommemorates exodusSim. to Ex. 23Commemorates exodus[no clear separationfrom the preceeding]1/15, 7 daysNo historical commemorationOffering of the Sheaf (‘Omer)brought “after the Sabbath”e“Firstfruits”(also “Weeks”)First fruits First fruits of the wheat harvestSeven weeks from when the sickle is first put to the grain7 weeks after sheaf offering; ritual involves offering based on new grain“Trumptets”Later Jewish tradition: “New Year”7/1[Why is this celebrated?]“Day of Atonement” 7/10atonement; practiceself-affliction“Ingathering”also “Booths,” Heb. SukkotIngathering, “at theend of the year”Ingathering “Booths”, after harvest “from threshing floor and from winepress” 7/15, 7 days plus 8th day “of convocation”“take” branches of specified trees [why?] Dwell in booths, I made Israel dwell in booths in the wilderness ...Notes:a See also Num. 28–29. Very similar to Lev. 23, but with attention to sacrificial requirements. No historicalcommemorations specified.b This seems in part to be a revision of Exodus 23. Although the passage retains the earlier formulation “Threetimes a year all your males shall appear ...” (Deut. 16:16), it also has more inclusive rules in keeping with the ideasof Deuteronomy: “you, your sons, and your daughters, your male slaves and your female slaves, the Levites residentin your gates ....” (Deut. 16:11, also 16:14)c Characteristic of Deuteronomy, and repeated in this chapter for the other festivals. Compare Exodus


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