Anchoring Revelations in the Authority of Sinai: A Comparison of the Rewritings of “Scripture” in Jubilees and in the P stratum of Exodus

in Journal for the Study of Judaism
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As a contribution to the on-going scholarly process of developing a new paradigm for the study of authoritative Scripture within Second Temple Judaism, this paper investigates the use of one particular authority-conferring strategy both within the Scriptural texts themselves and in a prominent example of “rewritten Scripture.” After some introductory reflections on the notion of “Authoritative Scripture,” it specifically explores how the tradition of the theophany at Sinai functions in the book of Jubilees and in the Priestly layer within the Pentateuch. As such, it also attempts to bring classical redaction criticism of the biblical texts into dialogue with the study of other Second Temple Jewish writings.

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  • 2

    Mladen Popović“Introducing Authoritative Scriptures in Ancient Judaism,” in Authoritative Scriptures in Ancient Judaism (ed. Popović; JSJSup 141; Leiden: Brill2010) 1-17 at 1.

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  • 3

    For this title cf. Anneli Aejmelaeus“What We Talk about When We Talk about Translation Technique,” in X Congress of the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies: Oslo 1998 (ed. Bernard A. Taylor; sblscs 51; Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature 2001) 531-32.

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  • 4

    See Molly M. Zahn“Talking about Rewritten Texts: Some Reflections on Terminology,” in Changes in Scripture: Rewriting and Interpreting Authoritative Traditions in the Second Temple Period (ed. Hanne von Weissenberg Juha Pakkala and Marko Marttila; bzaw 419; Berlin: de Gruyter 2011) 93-119 esp. 93.

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  • 5

    See Peter W. Flint“The Shape of the ‘Bible’ at Qumran,” in Judaism in Late Antiquity Part Five: The Judaism of Qumran (ed. Alan J. Avery-Peck Jacob Neusner and Bruce D. Chilton; 2 vols.; ho 56; Leiden: Brill 2001) 2:45-103 esp. 56-58.

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  • 6

    See Zahn“Talking about Rewritten Texts” 97.

  • 7

    Comp. however Hindy Najman“The Symbolic Significance of Writing in Ancient Judaism,” in The Idea of Biblical Interpretation: Essays in Honor of James L. Kugel (ed. Hindy Najman and Judith H. Newman; JSJSup 83; Leiden: Brill 2004).

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  • 8

    Popović“Introducing” 2.

  • 12

    See Zahn“Talking about Rewritten Texts” 116.

  • 17

    See e.g. James C. VanderKam“Revealed Literature in the Second Temple Period,” in From Revelation to Canon: Studies in the Hebrew Bible & Second Temple Literature (JSJSup 62; Leiden: Brill2000) 1-30; as well as his earlier study “Authoritative Literature in the Dead Sea Scrolls” dsd 5 (1998): 382-402. Florentino García Martínez “Rethinking the Bible: Sixty Years of Dead Sea Scrolls Research and Beyond” in Popović Authoritative Scriptures in Ancient Judaism 19-36 at 31 refers to Jubilees and the Temple Scroll as “the two best examples of rewritings . . . that we can ascertain were accepted as authoritative by certain groups.”

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  • 19

    See Michael SegalThe Book of Jubilees: Rewritten Bible Redaction Ideology and Theology (JSJSup 117; Leiden: Brill2007); as well as Segal “The Relationship between the Legal and Narrative Passages in Jubilees” in Reworking the Bible: Apocryphal and Related Texts at Qumran (ed. Esther G. Chazon Devorah Dimant and Ruth A. Clements; stdj 58; Leiden: Brill 2005) 203-28; and Segal “The Composition of Jubilees” in Enoch and the Mosaic Torah: The Evidence of Jubilees (ed. Gabriele Boccaccini and Giovanni Ibba; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 2009) 22-35.

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  • 25

    Cf. John J. Collins“Changing Scripture,” in Changes in Scripture23-46 at 36 who notes that Jubilees’s authority “does depend on the setting at Sinai and the reader’s acceptance that a foundational revelatory event occurred there.”

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  • 26

    See Hindy NajmanSeconding Sinai: The Development of Mosaic Discourse in Second Temple Judaism (JSJSup 77; Leiden: Brill2003) 44-46.

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  • 29

    Kugel“The Figure of Moses” 92.

  • 30

    Ibid.92.

  • 31

    As aptly noted by Thomas Römer“How Many Books (Teuchs): Pentateuch, Hexateuch, Deuteronomistic History, or Enneateuch?” in Pentateuch Hexateuch or Enneateuch? Identifying Literary Works in Genesis through Kings (ed. Thomas B. Dozeman Thomas Römer and Konrad Schmid; sblail 8; Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature 2011) 25-42 at 29: “The idea that there was an original Hexateuch and not a Pentateuch is as old as the Documentary Hypothesis . . . [and it] arose because of the idea that the book of Joshua is the fitting conclusion to the narration that starts with the promise of the land in the book of Genesis so that the end of J and E (and also P) should be preserved in Joshua.” This preoccupation with the idea of a Hexateuch may readily be seen from the title of Julius Wellhausen’s Die Composition des Hexateuchs und der Historischen Bücher des Alten Testaments (3rd ed.; Berlin: Georg Reimer 1899). Likewise Abraham Kuenen Historisch-critisch onderzoek naar het ontstaan en de verzameling van de boeken des ouden verbonds(Leiden: Engels en zoon1887) 5-331 discusses the growth of the Hexateuch as a whole before proceeding to the books of Judges Samuel and Kings.

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  • 37

    So Römer“Le Pentateuque toujours en question” 360.

  • 38

    So Reinhard G. Kratz“Der vor- und der nachpriesterschriftliche Hexateuch,” in Abschied vom Jahwisten: Die Komposition des Hexateuch in der jüngsten Diskussion (ed. Jan Christian Gertz Konrad Schmid and Markus Witte; bzaw 315; Berlin: de Gruyter 2002) 295-323 at 295.

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  • 41

    Cf. e.g. de Pury and Römer“Le Pentateuque en question,” 71: “Tout le monde reconnaît que P connaît et réinterprète les textes présacerdotaux”; and Reinhard G. Kratz, “The Pentateuch in Current Research: Consensus and Debate,” in The Pentateuch: International Perspectives31-61 at 38: “the Priestly text from beginning to end cannot be understood without knowledge of the non-P material to which it refers.” See also the “practically universal claim” noted by Joel S. Baden The Composition of the Pentateuch: Renewing the Documentary Hypothesis (abrl; New Haven: Yale University Press 2012) 188 who nevertheless disagrees with it.

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  • 43

    David M. CarrThe Formation of the Hebrew Bible: A New Reconstruction (Oxford: Oxford University Press2011) 296. See recently also Philippe Guillaume Land and Calendar: The Priestly Document from Genesis 1 to Joshua 18 (ots 391; New York: T&T Clark 2009).

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  • 46

    See Norbert Lohfink“Die Priesterschrift und die Geschichte,” in Congress Volume Göttingen 1977 (ed. John A. Emerton; VTSup 29; Leiden: Brill1978) 189-225. He notes in “The Strata of the Pentateuch and the Question of War” in Theology of the Pentateuch: Themes of the Priestly Narrative and Deuteronomy (Edinburgh: T&T Clark 1994) 173-226 at 200: “At this point the last of the arcs drawn from the beginning has reached its end.”

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  • 47

    See Konrad SchmidThe Old Testament: A Literary History (trans. Linda M. Maloney; Minneapolis: Fortress2012) 148.

  • 53

    Thus Jean-Louis SkaIntroduction à la lecture du Pentateuque: Clés pour l’interprétation des cinq premiers livres de la Bible (Le livre et le rouleau 5; Brussels: Lessius2000) 303: “l’une des plus compliquées de tout le Pentateuque.”

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  • 54

    As noted by Reinhard G. KratzThe Composition of the Narrative Books of the Old Testament (trans. John Bowden; New York: T&T Clark2005) 137: “The many toings and froings Moses’ repeated ascending and descending alone make it clear that many interests and hands have been at work on the present composition.” Nevertheless in response to the many works emphasizing the disparateness of traditions in these chapters some attempts have been made to highlight their coherence and even their literary unity; see particularly Erhard Blum “Israël à la montagne de Dieu: Remarques sur Ex 19-24; 32-34 et sur le contexte littéraire et historique de sa composition” in Le Pentateuque en question 271-300 and T. D. Alexander “The Composition of the Sinai Narrative in Exodus xix 1-xxiv 11” VT 49 (1999): 2-20. Thus it is evident that as aptly noted by William H. C. Propp Exodus 1-18: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (AB 2; New York: Doubleday 1999) 141 “depending on presuppositions and temperament one scholar’s break will be another’s artistic effect.”

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  • 57

    As argued by ChildsExodus500-501.

  • 58

    See WellhausenDie Composition des Hexateuchs81-98.

  • 63

    See e.g. Joseph Blenkinsopp“Structure and Meaning in the Sinai-Horeb Narrative (Exodus 19-34),” in A Biblical Itinerary: In Search of Method Form and Content: Essays in Honor of George W. Coats (ed. Eugene E. Carpenter; JSOTSup 240; Sheffield: Academic Press1997) 109-25who argues that Exod 19-34 is essentially a relatively coherent deuteronomistic reworking of older traditions; see also Blenkinsopp The Pentateuch: An Introduction to the First Five Books of the Bible (abrl; New Haven: Yale University Press 1992) 189-94. Likewise Erhard Blum Studien zur Komposition des Pentateuch (bzaw 189; Berlin: de Gruyter 1990) 45-99 considered it a significant example for his KD. Although he rejects the idea of a deuteronomistic redaction a very similar scenario has actually been suggested by John Van Seters The Life of Moses: The Yahwist as Historian in Exodus-Numbers (cbet 10; Kampen: Kok Pharos 1994) 286: “The [post-dtr] Yahwist has also transformed the event from a simple convocation to hear the law as in Deuteronomy into a ceremonial event with careful preparation and a final solemn act of consecration and sacrifice.”

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  • 64

    See particularly Eckart Otto“Die nachpriesterschriftliche Pentateuchredaktion im Buch Exodus,” in Studies in the Book of Exodus61-112 esp. 77-82 and Reinhard Achenbach “The Story of the Revelation at the Mountain of God and the Redactional Editions of the Hexateuch and the Pentateuch” in A Critical Study of the Pentateuch: An Encounter between Europe and Africa (ed. Eckart Otto and Jurie LeRoux; Altes Testament und Moderne 20; Münster: Lit Verlag 2005); cf. Thomas Römer “Provisorische Überlegungen zur Entstehung von Exodus 18-24” in “Gerechtigkeit und Recht zu üben” (Gen 1819): Studien zur altorientalischen und biblischen Rechtsgeschichte zur Religionsgeschichte Israels und zur Religionssoziologie: Festschrift für Eckart Otto zum 65. Geburtstag (ed. Reinhard Achenbach and Martin Arneth; bzabr 13; Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz 2009) 128-54. Although scholars do not concur on the precise extent of these post-Priestly redactions many tend to consider Exod 19:3-8 as a late redactional insertion; see also Jean-Louis Ska “Exode 193b-6 et l’identité de l’Israël postexilique” in Studies in the Book of Exodus 289-318; and Ludwig Schmidt “Israel und das Gesetz: Ex 193b-8 und 243-8 als literarischer und theologischer Rahmen für das Bundesbuch” zaw 113 (2001): 167-85.

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  • 65

    ChildsExodus500-501.

  • 69

    See SchmidThe Old Testament150.

  • 71

    Thus according to e.g. Ralph W. Klein“The Message of P,” in Die Botschaft und die Boten: Festschrift für Hans Walter Wolff zum 70. Geburtstag (ed. Jörg Jeremias and Lothar Perlitt; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener1981) 57-66esp. 62 and Baruch J. Schwartz “The Priestly Account of the Theophany and Lawgiving at Sinai” in Texts Temples and Traditions: A Tribute to Menahem Haran (ed. Michael V. Fox et al.; Winona Lake Ind.: Eisenbrauns 1996) 103-34 esp. 133.

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  • 73

    See DozemanExodus431.

  • 76

    See NajmanSeconding Sinai16-17.

  • 77

    So KugelA Walk through Jubilees7.

  • 79

    See e.g. VanderKamThe Book of Jubilees141-43.

  • 80

    See e.g. Christophe Nihan“The Holiness Code between D and P: Some Comments on the Function and Significance of Leviticus 17-26 in the Composition of the Torah,” in Das Deuteronomium zwischen Pentateuch und Deuteronomistischem Geschichtswerk (ed. Eckart Otto and Reinhard Achenbach; frlant 206; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2004) 81-122.

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  • 82

    NihanFrom Priestly Torah to Pentateuch619; cf. Nihan’s essay “Israel’s Festival Calendars in Leviticus 23 Numbers 28-29 and the Formation of ‘Priestly’ Literature” in The Books of Leviticus and Numbers 177-231 at 231: “Perhaps more than any other portion of the Torah the Priestly literature is the product of a creative yet highly coherent process of reception revisions and re-formulation spanning the totality of the Persian period . . . continuously adapting the doctrine of previous generations of scribes to the ever-changing historical circumstances in order to meet the religious and political requirements of their time.”

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  • 84

    See e.g. Eugene Ulrich“Empirical Evidence for Scribal and Editorial Transmission of Second Temple Religious Literature,” in Insights into Editing in the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East (ed. Reinhard Müller Juha Pakkala and Bas ter Haar Romeny; cbet; Leuven: Peeters; forthcoming).

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