There are, it should be said, some passages where scholars have not been unanimous about the recognition of the sources, and here caution is necessary. And in the future, he says, these tasks are to be performed by Levites vv. A distinguishing mark of this book was that in Genesis and the beginning of Exodus up to ch. A commentary is an aid towards informed reading of a text, and not a substitute for it. The work on oral tradition and theological interpretation that we reviewed earlier was based on the assumption that the classical Wellhausen theory of Pentateuchal origins is correct.
Among Protestant Christian scholars there has been a further group consisting mainly of Scandinavian scholars, who, for a distinctive reason, have rejected many of the conclusions of the documentary theory. However, as we shall see, these stories were intended to convey a much more profound meaning than that. The early Christian church, which was predominantly Greek-speaking, tended to accept this wider canon of books. In a number of ways it was argued that the Priestly texts must be later than those in Deuteronomy and Ezekiel. A somewhat smaller group of readers studies the Bible as a monument to important movements of religious thought in the past, whether or not they themselves have any personal commitment to the religious systems it represents.
The call not to be afraid is characteristic of Deutero-Isaiah Isa 40—55. 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. The laughter of Sarah, like that of Abraham in 17:17, involves a play on words and is an expression of unbelief about the news that the visitors have brought. But in the case of Gen 6:1—4 Van Seters may be right: this story is very much the odd one out among the stories in Gen 1—11 and perhaps it does have a distant origin. The year 1862 was auspicious for the development of Pentateuchal study in England and Germany. And Mosaic authorship is a theory which seems to account less well for the phenomena than critical theories; so at least the majority of scholars have believed.
On a more theological level it has been argued that the promises to the patriarchs in Genesis were greatly multiplied and enlarged by redactors working at a time when one of the themes of these promises, the possession of the land of Canaan, was threatened in the late monarchy or even the exilic period by the appearance of the great imperial powers of Assyria and Babylon. Recently, however, literary critics have begun to argue that alongside much anonymous, reworked 7 material, there are also books and sections of books which do betray the presence of genuinely creative writers: the popular idea of biblical 'authors', that is, is not always wide of the mark. The great majority of Bible readers have a religious motivation. Ezekiel tries to show that God is utterly just, and that those who complain of his injustice are in fact themselves to blame for what has befallen them. Contents: General introduction -- Introduction to the Old Testament -- Introduction to the Pentateuch -- Genesis -- Exodus -- Leviticus -- Numbers -- Deuteronomy. Canonical approaches emphasize that religious believers are entitled to put their own questions to the text, and this must be correct, though it would be a disaster if such a conviction were to result in the outlawing of historical-critical method in its turn. In some cases these may be due to the use of dialect forms, though this is not certain.
For these reasons, then, Wellhausen concluded that the regulations about the priesthood, which are absolutely central to P, could not have originated before Ezekiel, but only afterwards. The story of Joseph chs. This conclusion does not make such a commentary 'non-critical', but is arrived at by carefully sifting the various critical hypotheses that have been presented by previous scholars. About the coherence and original independence of the bulk at least of the P material, it seems to me, there is little doubt, and equally about the separate character and development of Deuteronomy. See Rendtorff 1985; Smend 1981. Expert scholars will likewise find much of interest, particularly in areas other than their own specialities.
The implication that there are other human beings on the earth shows that the story is not in fact a continuation of ch. One might legitimately wonder whether there can be any brief answer to the question which is not open to some objection or another! A further recent development concerns the dating of J. The creation story, however, is ignored though cf. And that was its purpose. This interest in things literary is related to the growing interest in the Bible by people who do not go to it for religious illumination so much as for its character as classic literature, and it is a trend that seems likely to continue. Many, however, especially in Greekspeaking areas such as Egypt, also had a high regard for other books, including what are now the deuterocanonical or apocryphal books, along with others which are no longer in any Bible. Nevertheless, while the list may have a pre-exilic basis, its present context is in a historical work of the exilic period the Deuteronomistic History , so that it is not clear evidence of pre-exilic practices.
Deuteronomy: from the D source, with the exception of a few passages, mostly at the end. It is only questions arising out of these descriptions which the methods proposed are capable of answering: that is the questions of students of literature and of preachers and systematic theologians. Convictions about the justice of God are crucial to the way the story of Israel is told in the historical books: Kings and Chronicles in particular are concerned to show that God is always just in his dealings with his people. Nowadays, however, a great deal of serious scholarly work is being done on literary aspects of the Bible, and many commentaries are written with the needs of a literary, rather than a religious, readership in mind. An Example of a Source-Critical Argument: The Analysis of the Flood Story Gen 6—9 into its sources. . Earlier and later legal collections from Mesopotamia are also known: the Code of Ur-Nammu 21st cent.
To many, however, this would not be theological enough to do justice to the strongly religious element that pervades the story from beginning to end. The one-volume Bible commentary, as this genre developed through the twentieth century, aimed to put into the hands of readers everything they needed for the study of the biblical text. It provides new insights into the reception of the books and the different ways they have been studied, from historical-critical enquiry to modern advocacy approaches such as feminism and liberation theology. As far as 1 is concerned, I think we are at a stage when all the emphasis is on late elements of the Pentateuch, and some scholars write as though that is all there is. Thirdly, we find what is sometimes called mantic wisdom, which draws on ancient Near-Eastern traditions about the interpretation of dreams and portents to gain insight into the future, and this is manifested by Joseph in Genesis, and in the book of Daniel.