Ministry of the Word
  Pentateuch. Intro
 

 

29th June 2008
Fr JUDE
INTRODUCTION TO THE PENTATEUCH
I    The Torah.
II   Author of the Pentateuch
III Author of the P Questioned
IV. The Tradition in the P
V. The characteristics of the Tradition
 
à*I) The Torah (Heb) The first 5 Books of the Bible written in Hebrew.
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.
à*i) Torah : They are instructions, practical rules of behavior, Authoritative statements in a doubtful situation. It could also mean a threat or a promise or a plea of a prophet.
 
Is 1:10 > Hear the word of the Lord ------- Threat plea
Is 2:3 > ---that he may teach us his ways, that we may walk in his path.—Typical Torah
Ps 19:7-13 –Law, decree, precepts, commandment, fear of the lord, ordinance-- Real Torah
In Deu there are 613 precepts
àThe 10 commandments & the 613 precepts of in Deu- Jesus put them in only one commandment Love your God with all your heart, love your neighbour as your self.
à*ii) Torah is a Story with a message / stories containing instructions
 
Anecdote: (Grandfather--You must get old one day half for you when you get old—(Sirach Ch 3)
 
For the Jews all the stories in the Pentateuch is Torah—found in Gen, Exo, Numbers
Jews had gone & settled in other countries, so the rabbis in Jerusalem translated the heb. Bible into Gk.
 
à*By the 3 BC the (Heb) Torah was translated in to Greek from Hebrew       Penta = 5
à*The Torah came in to existence in the 4th BC Century.      PENTATEUCH<
à*The T was already in existence, compiled & edited by the 5th century BC. Teuchios=containers 
à* In Hebrew 5 books were called Torah, --& in Greek the 5 books were called the Pentateuch.
à Later the whole Gk Bible was translated in to Greek ( the Jewish Bible) called the
    Septuagint = 70 = LLX Because 70 scholars did this translation.
à The Jewish Bible contains 39 OT +27 in the NT ==================66 Books
à The Catholic Bible contains 39 + 7 Deutero Canonical Books + 27 NT books= 73 Books
à The Heb Bible did not have #s in 1214 AD Steven Langton gave Chapter #s.
                                                 In 1528 AD Sanctes Pagninus gave Verse #s.
 
II) The author of the Pentateuch:
It was thought that the 5 books of the P were written by Moses
Exodus & Deu. Moses is the central figure
 
Ex 17:14             --- It gave the impression that Moses wrote.
Ex 24:4
Ex 34:27-28
#s 33:2
Deu 31:19-22
 
2. Jewish Tradition: The Jews believed that Moses was the author of the P Jn 5:45-47
   - Philo of Alexandria, Flavius Josephus: Jewish historians that Moses in Deu 34:4 wrote of his death.
3. Tradition of the church: For nearly 15 centuries the church believed that Moses was the author of    
    the P
- During the Renessance / reformation The church researched weather Moses did or did not write the P    
    in the 16th Century.
 
 
 
III) Authorship of Moses Questioned.
à They were analyzing the text, at the literal level, not the Church teachings.
à They studied the P in the Heb version (in its original form)
à Gen 13:7 How did Abraham know that the Canaanites & the Perizzites lived there.
à There were different names used for God. Yahweh, Elohim
    YHWH = sacred name for God Gen 4:26
   Elohim = generic term for God
    Gen 3:13, 14. I am who I am   I am God. You don’t need to know any thing more than this
àThere were doublets. 2 stories of the same incident:
  Like 2 stories of creation. Gen 1:1-2:4a; Gen 2:4b-25
  
à There were alarming inconsistencies : some obvious facts
   Obvious Facts: Death of Moses in Deu 34:4
                         Written by some one else 34:10
  Various Formula  Deu. 34:6
à   The number of animals Gen 6:19 one, one pair each
                                        Gen 7:2 7 pairs clean, 1 pair unclean
 à Joseph the dreamer Gen 37:21-22   Reuben
                                          37:26-27   Judah
à   Father in law of Moses Ex 2:18 Reuel
                                       Ex 3:1   Jetro
à Tents of Meeting #s 2:2 middle of the camp
                             Ex 33:7 Outside the camp
à Building of Alters Ex 20:24; Deu 12:4-5; 26. God chooses only one alter in Jerusalem
   Different names for YaHWeH. The Heb had no vowels they had 22 consonents.
àThere are 2 similar lists of descendents: 4:17-18 = descendents of Cain
                                                        5:12-23 = descendents of Kenan
àAbraham & Sarah--------------there are 2 accounts.
Gen 12:10-20 = Abraham.
Gen 20:1-18    = Abraham
Gen 26 :1-17   = Isaac
 
CONCLUSION: Thus the combination of the above factors led scholars to recognize that the P was more complex than it appeared & it could not be possibly be of one author Moses.
 
IV) The Traditions of the Pentateuch.
1. In the 18th century there were serious Questioning, they put forward 2 possibilities:
a)     Either several author wrote different documents, or fragments of documents, & they were entirely compiled into one work.
b)     One author wrote the basic narrative & in the course of time they were supplemented & amplified by a number of other authors.
2. Jean Astruc 1753 a count physician studied Genesis.
He came to certain conclusions.
à He used ancient material to write his document.
à In one document Moses used Yahweh & Elohim for God,
à besides Moses might have used other document fragments to give a faith message in the    
    context of Judaism. Jews were monotheist.
à In the middle of the 19 century there was a 4 document theory.
à According to the theory the P was a result of a combination of 4 documents that were    
    originally independent & separate.                              Exile in Babylon 587-537=50 yrs
 
 
Julius Welhausen was the person who gave these documents shape, He made a synthesis,
he proposed a documentary hypothesis. He also gave the following dates.for the-4 Traditions:
 
Post 538 BC    P = Priestly Document
9th Cen BC   Y(J) = Yahwist Documents
8th Cent BC     E = Elohist Documents
7th Cen BC      D = Deutronomist Document.
These 4 major written sources were eventually combined in the post exilic period, under the guiding hand of the Priestly tradition, & probably a final redactor (editor)
 
3. According to the present  biblical scholarship the 4 documents are conceived more flexible as traditions which incorporated any # of earlier oral & written traditions.
Each of the 4 texts had it own history in the form of a tradition, often centauries old oral form. The writings were influenced by the environment & the circumstances in which they were passed on.
The sentiments of ancient Israel in particular where the places, where the oldest tradition received their form. Bethel, Shechem, in the north, Hebron to the south. It was at these places that the greatest deeds of God were recalled in rites & stories & with them. Also the epic of their ancestors. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (patriarchs)
The 4 tradition were living traditions, each generation passed them on in the light of their experiences, these hold true for the customs & laws just as much for the stories.
The priests at the sanctuaries in the spirit of tradition had to issue norms for behaviour in the new situation.
 
The Oldest Documents (todays standing present dating)
Y (J) = 10th Centuary
E      = 9th centuary
D     = 7th centuary
P     = 5th centuary.
The Jewish Bible contains Books of law, Prophets, Writings = 39 Books
& the 5 books at the end of the exile
By the end of the 5th cen the Torah was complete.
 
V) The Characteristics of the 4 Traditions:
 
Y(J) Document:
The Y documents was handed in the Southern Territories = Hebron;
here the Y version of Joseps story originated,
it was put together in the reign Sakora in the 2nd half of the 5th cen.
The characteristics of the Y doc. Refer to God as Yahweh.
It has a special vocabulary. A vivid and colourful style, & a delicate psychological perception. The J document shows God as a anthropomor ( as a person).
The yahwist is keeping aware of the forces of evil at work in the world.He has no illusion of humanity & he unpittifully expresses human weekness.But he has confidence in nature & her laws.
The Yahwist demands of man faith & courge & confidence in the traditions & in the life nations.
The author emphesises the absolute freedom of Gods choice by contesting the automatic rights of the first born.
Ex Able Cain, Isaac Ishmail, Jacob Esaw, Judah over his 3 elder brothers
We find Y writings in Gen, Exo, #s.
 
 
 
E Documents:
It existed among the tribes of central Palestine, the territories of Epherin, & possibly Bathel & Shekel.
Its likely date is the 2nd half of the 9th century.      
E refers to God as Elohim.
E has been associated with the traditions of the northern Kingdom.
The emphasizes morality & the proper response of Israel ie faith & fear of the Lord.
It also emphasizes the transcendence ie beyond human thinking, transcendence applies to God. God remains invisible, he speaks from the midst of fire & clouds, frequently in dreams or he act through the mediums of angels.
The authors sense of sin is more refined then that of J.
For him Law is more moral then cultic.
 
D the Deutronomist:
i) It was from the northern kingdom that Gods law book had its origin.
After the destruction of the northern kingdom in 721 BC faithful worshipers of Yahweh fled to Judah in the south & there they cultivated a # of their own traditions.
In the book of D which contains D traditions came to be written in the 1st half of 7th Cen BC,
it formed the basis of the reforms of Joshaiah. 628-622 BC the reforms yrs Josaiah in the southern kingdom of Judah.
The characteristics of D insists on the fear & love of God in terms of obedience to the divine command.
ii) Deuteronomic Equation:   obey ---prosper               Ex: Josha 1:1-9; 23: 23:3-60
                                         disobey---perish
                                                                               herem=devoted to God—destructions
The doctrines in the D tradition is not formed in oratorical exhortation style.
The essential purpose of D is the revival of mosaic teachings as it was understood in the 7th Cen BC.
 
P Documents:
P has a special interest in genealogies, & the functioning of the sanctuaries, the sacrifices & the feasts & everything belonging to liturgy.
P came in to existence in the priestly circles of Jerusalem. P is specially interested in the organization of the sanctuaries, sacrifices & feasts & in the person & religious function of Arron & sons.
The style is dry & technical.
The transcendence of God is highlighted. Man must reach God by fidelity to the traditional laws & prescriptions Lev 92.
The P tradition that gave it definitive form to the Pentateuch in Gen, Ex, #s, & Lev
P is concerned with Qs of cult & rituals.
P speaks of the presence of God in terms of glory & the tabernacle Exo 16:10; 40:34-38.
 
CONCLUSION:
Moses lived in the 13 cen BC during the reign of Seti the I, Ramesses II.
Several centauries before Moses some of the oral traditions were already formed.
They were in respect to the ancestors Israel & the tradition existing in the Cannanite sanctuaries. Moses stands at the very heart of the Exodus experience. In this sense therefore Moses may be said to be the author of the Pentateuch.
The traditions have their center & their significance in him
His works gathered & developed & adapted by other authors to the changing social & economic circumstances thus lived on in the history of Israel.
 
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