The Ark and Its Making

in Horizons in Biblical Theology
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Abstract

It is a privilege to offer this brief contribution to the memory of the Rev. Professor Markus Barth, whose gracious ways and dedicated scholarship were such a fine witness to the Lord he loved and served. To those who were fortunate to know him his vibrant presence and cheerful spirit is very much alive and with us still. The centrality and theological importance of the Ark as symbol of the presence of Israel's God cannot be disputed, although the date and therefore the purpose of the instructions for making it have been debated for ages. No one disputes that all of these instructions for the tabernacle and its furnishings, and the narrative of their construction, are Priestly writings (P), but the time when they were written is still being discussed. The literary critical view, since Wellhausen, has been that they are post-Exilic; the traditional view, asserted again by Cassuto1 and others, is that they are pre-Exilic. This note does not intend to add another suggestion to that debate, but to study the form of the text for what it may contribute to our understanding of the content.

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