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The Moses Story: Literary-Historical Reflections

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Building on recent trends in scholarship, this article studies the formation of the written Moses story as a discrete literary unit, as opposed to primarily treating its stories as mere components in the broader formation of the Pentateuch. After a review of how study of the Moses story has and has not been linked with broader trends in pentateuchal research, the article traces six relatively reconstructable stages in the formation of the Moses story, from at least one pre-D Moses composition (now truncated through its combination with Deuteronomy) to the harmonization of parts of that story with Deuteronomy in Second Temple manuscript traditions and the differentiation of a “Torah of Moses” from the historical books of Joshua and following. Notably, even late stages such as P (and the combined P/non-P Hexateuch) that combine the Moses story with other literary unities (e.g. Genesis traditions) still preserve structural and other signs of the independent origins of the Moses story vis-รก-vis the materials that precede and follow it.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-03-01

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  • Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel is a new, peer-reviewed, quarterly journal focusing primarily on the biblical texts in their ancient historical contexts, but also on the history of Israel in its own right. Each issue has a topical focus. The primary language is English, but articles may also be published in German and French. A specific goal of the new journal is to foster discussion among different academic cultures within a larger international context pertaining to the study of the Hebrew Bible and ancient Israel in the first millennium B. C. E.
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