Notes on the Penteteuch: Deut. 1 - 3

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The little code in Exod. It is worth noting that the prescriptions in the code itself are essentially matters of worship and ritual, and that they are found also in Exod. Only in one instance is there a material variation: in the Decalogue carved images are forbidden Exod. Clearly we have here a case of a doublet of the type that we have seen already in dealing with the narrative portions of the Pentateuch, and we may safely assume that the two codes belong to the two elements that we have already noted, J and E.

A brief glance over the two makes it clear that, while the code in xx-xi has distinct affinities with the E narrative; that of Exod. Here, again, we have a clear case of two parallel documents, which in this instance, seem to have been nearly identical.

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It is enough to note here the use of the divine name "God," cp. It is true that "Yahweh" occurs in this code, but, as we have seen p.

Genesis Exodus Numbers Deuteronomy. Detailed analysis of the whole of the Pentateuch is here, naturally, impossible. Differences in minor points are to be observed in the assignment of various parts of many passages, especially in Exodus and Numbers, but, on the whole, the following division may be accepted as a general approximation.

For discussions of individual points the reader is referred to any scholarly modern commentary on the separate books. The Century Bible , the Camb. An analysis such as this looks complicated and arbitrary, but a careful reconstruction of the two narratives of the Flood, or the reading of such a translation as that found in the National Adult Schools Union's Genesis in Colloquial English will serve to show, by the completeness and the accuracy of the two narratives, how fully the process is justified. In style and general character it is utterly unlike anything else in the Pentateuch, and is probably based on independent reminiscences, handed down through centuries, of events recorded, not in Palestine, but in Mesopotamia.

It may be remarked that verses 20, 21 are best regarded as a later note appended by some scribe imbued with the style and language of Deuteronomy. See below pp.

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Here again we have a passage where two narratives are very closely interwoven, especially in verse 7, though here it is possible to apportion the words with some degree of certainty between them. In the earlier part of this chapter only fragments represent the J account. It was probably so similar to E that the compiler did not think it necessary to preserve both. Verse seven may be an insertion from a later time, though derived from a comparatively early source.

Its closest affinities, however, are with P. This passage, like many others in Exodus and Numbers, contains a certain amount of material that must have been introduced by the compilers.

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Such material is not especially indicated in this analysis, but is included in the passage concerned. Thus, an addition made to a section predominantly J is not separately specified, but is included in the same section as the basic sentences. For fuller discussion of the general question: see below, P. The provenance of verses is uncertain, and some editors would regard them as a redactional addition. Verses are clearly such as addition; their tone and style strongly recall those of Deuteronomy.

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The "Song" is possibly later than any of the main documents, and may have been inserted by a comparatively late editor. It remains to add only that we may for the present regard the whole of Leviticus as coming under the general head of P. Our next step must be to inquire whether we can go farther in the analysis of the three main strata that have been already indicated. In other words, can we assume that there ever were such documents as J , E , and P , and, if there were, is it possible that they themselves were composite before they reached the compilers who united the three into a single whole?

If we read through each of the three groups separately, the first impression made upon us, especially in Genesis, is that we have a number of more or less isolated stories that have been put together by a compiler; many, if not all, of the sections are apparently self-contained, and can be read without reference to what precedes and what follows. There is, admittedly, a certain unity of subject, and there is a background with which the original reader may be expected to be familiar; but to take a single example, the narratives assigned to the J and E sections of Exodus and Numbers are in no sense a history of Israel during the wilderness period.

And there is no certainty that the events between the great Covenant and the arrival in Moabite territory there are very few of them are placed even in chronological order. Such narratives as appear in P are obviously designed to serve as a framework for the legal including the ritual sections, and, as such, have a greater appearance of unity, even on the surface. Yet here also it might conceivably be maintained that the narratives come from a circle of storytellers and not from a document in the strict sense of the term.


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More detailed examination, however, shows that the connection between the various stories is often too close to be the result of casual synthesis. Griffin The P narratives in Genesis, for instance, are linked together in a way that cannot be explained simply by a theory of editorial redaction. The final compiler would not have taken the trouble so to modify the P story of Creation as to make it anticipate that of the Flood, nor would he have edited the P Flood story in such a way as to make it follow on the story of Creation.

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The E narratives in Genesis are, perhaps, less closely connected than those of either of the other strata, yet a common thread and purpose can be traced through many of them. E in Exodus and Numbers, on the other hand, does present us with something like a continuous history, at least up to the Covenant and after the removal from Moabite territory. And we may make the same remark of J, though there appear to have been several stages in the growth of this document before it reached the form in which it was combined with E.


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The last remark introduces our second question. Are the three primary documents themselves compilations from earlier works? It may be said at once that there are occasionally indications in the narratives that suggest that the answer should be in the affirmative. Once or twice, even within the limits of J and E respectively, we find traces of doublets. We have, for instance, two presentations of Noah.

The two presentations are not incompatible, but they suggest a different origin. Now it is quite possible that the two should have had the same origin. But, in view of other facts, the natural supposition is that the studies are drawn from different sources, and that that in which Isaac appears is due to a later edition - we can go no further than that of the original collection. It is usual, then, to recognise that in J we have a comparatively short early collection, which was gradually enlarged by the addition of fresh material, drawn from the same general cycle of narratives, but finding its place in the final collection at different times.

Different scholars somewhat variously define the limits of the original "book ". Eissfeldt Hexateuchsynopse [] has gone so far as to make a clear distinction between this older compilation, which he calls "L" - a Lay document, and the later elements, to which he would confine the symbol J. Morgenstern see The Oldest Document of the Hexateuch [] has isolated a primitive document which he calls K, and which, he believes, has been subjected to repeated revision. Most scholars, however, are content to use "J1," "J2," etc. Similar phenomena, though they are less obvious, have been detected in E.

But when we turn to P, we find more than anywhere else, clear and distinct evidence of compilation from earlier sources. The first, and most obvious early element and it should never be forgotten that all scholars have recognised that there are very early elements in P, whatever may be the date of its final form is a collection of laws, mainly dealing with ceremonial purity, now found in Lev.

The impression is borne out by two other considerations. In the first place, we find here a number of laws, which are repeated elsewhere, though usually with slight differences. Thus we have injunctions as to the observance of the Sabbath xix. Molten images are forbidden xix. A fallow year is to be observed xxv. The Lex talionis is repeated, almost in the same words as in Exod. All this, and much more, suggests an independent code. Still more striking is the general tone, which resembles Deuteronomy from which, however, the code is widely removed in point of style in its humanitarianism and its exclusiveness.

In substance it shows striking in similarities with Ezekiel, especially with chs. The greater part is devoted to laws of ceremonial cleanliness, with special reference to the priesthood, and the thought is constantly repeated that, since Yahweh is holy, His people must be holy also. It is from this latter feature that the code derives its modern name of the "Law or Code of Holiness ", and its common designation by the letter H. We may add that, in the opinion of some scholars, even H in its present form, has been produced by the expansion of an original nucleus.

Similar phenomena, though less clearly marked, suggest that there are other elements to be found within the limits of P, even after H has been isolated.

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5. Analysis and Synthesis of the Book of Deuteronomy

It is possible to trace a regular continuity throughout the whole of the Pentateuch, and to observe the sections that do not fit in with it, except on the assumption that they are later insertions, due to a series of revisions. Beginning with the story of creation this groundwork of P proceeds, by means of genealogies, to link the beginning of the world with the birth of Moses, pausing only to describe at some length the Flood, and Abraham's purchase of the field of Machpelah. The real interest of the narrative begins with the revelation to Moses. This is followed by the deliverance from Egypt P mentions five plagues only, three of which are identical with plagues named in J, and the other two appear to be alternative forms of two others found in the older source , including fairly full prescriptions for the observance of the Passover.

The miraculous crossing of the Red Sea is then described, and, after an account of the sending of the Manna, the people are brought to Sinai. Moses ascends into the mountain, and receives instructions as to the making of the Ark, the building of the Tabernacle, and the consecration of Aaron and his family. These instructions are carried out. The Law is then given from the Tabernacle, dealing first with various types of offerings and sacrifices, then passing on to forms of "uncleanness", i.

This section of the Law concludes with the ritual of the Day of Atonement. At this point the priestly writers embodied H, adding notes from time to time. Once or twice new laws are inserted; e.

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