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By Joel S. Baden

The promise of land and progeny to the patriarchs-Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob-is a significant, routine characteristic of the Pentateuch. From the start of the tale of Abraham to the final second of Moses's existence, this promise types the guiding theological assertion for every narrative. but literary and ancient inquiries ascribe the promise texts to quite a few assets, layers, and redactions, elevating questions about how the promise functioned in its unique manifestations and the way it may be used to appreciate the formation of the Pentateuch as an entire.

Joel S. Baden reexamines the patriarchal promise in its historic and contemporaneous contexts, comparing the advantages and disadvantages of either final-form and literary-historical techniques to the promise. He will pay shut realization to the methodologies hired in either documentary and non-documentary analyses and goals to convey source-critical research of the promise to endure at the realizing of the canonical textual content for modern readers. The Promise to the Patriarchs addresses the query of ways the literary-historical viewpoint can light up or even deepen the theological which means of the Pentateuch, rather of the promise on the middle of this principal biblical corpus.

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Extra resources for The Promise to the Patriarchs

Example text

Isaac sent Jacob off, and he went to Paddan-Aram” (28:2, 5). ’ Thus he named him Israel. . God parted from him at the spot where he had spoken to him” (35:10, 13). 39 Even Exodus 6 reads beautifully without the reference to the promises in 6:3–4: “God spoke to Moses and said to him, “I am Yahweh. . I have now heard the moaning of the Israelites because the Egyptians are holding them in bondage” (6:2, 5). As observed above, the ability to remove a passage without disrupting its context is not peculiar to secondary insertions; it is the case for perfectly original passages as well, as these examples demonstrate, for no classical scholar would ever have thought to attribute the priestly promise texts to a later hand.

If these are in fact deuteronomic insertions, then it is further remarkable that they should have been placed only in J contexts, and nowhere in E. 27 The third passage commonly ascribed to a “deuteronomic” editor, Exod 32:13, is so ascribed not because it contains any particularly deuteronomic language—which it does not—but rather because the broader context of which it is a part is paralleled closely in D. The parallels between Exod 32:7–14, in which Yahweh tells Moses about the people’s construction of the golden calf and threatens to destroy them and Moses in turn pleads that Yahweh should spare the people, and Deut 9:12–14, 26–29, in which Moses recalls this moment in his grand historical recollection before the law-giving in the plains of Moab, are indisputable, and some dependence of one passage on the other requires no further justification.

There are two possibilities for the relationship between the two texts. Either the author of D saw that there was a more logical way to order the events at Horeb than he found in E and made the change accordingly, or a deuteronomic editor—who, like any editor, had the freedom to place his insertions wherever in the preexisting text he chose—decided to consciously present a different, less logical sequence of events when he went to put his deuteronomic stamp on the earlier E material. Of these, the former is by far the more likely.

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