Was There Doctrinal Dissemination in Early Yahweh Religion?

In: Biblical Interpretation
Author: Noll1
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  • 1 Brandon University

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Recent research on scribal practice demonstrates that the scrolls of the Jewish canon were produced by a tiny elite class who did not attempt to disseminate the contents of the scrolls to the largely illiterate Hebrew-speaking peoples. However, the Bible contains a number of passages that describe or command dissemination of their contents (e.g., Deut. 31:10-13), as well as stories about individuals who try to influence common religious belief and practice (e.g., 1 Kigs 18:17-40). These biblical commandments and stories frequently persuade researchers that something like a "doctrinal dissemination" must have been common among pre-Hellenistic Yahwists. Recent research by anthropologists observing processes of religious dissemination is pertinent to this question, calls common assumptions about dissemination into question, and supports the recent conclusions about Hebrew scribal practice.

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