How the “Torah of Moses” Became Revelation

An Early, Apocalyptic Theory of Pentateuchal Origins

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism
David Lambert Department of Religious Studies 125 Carolina Hall Campus Box 3225, Chapel Hill, nc 27599-3225

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Noting that, in the Hebrew Bible, law, but not narrative, is attributed to Moses, this paper argues that the notion of the “Torah of Moses” as revealed literature, word for word dictation to Moses, is to be traced to a late Second Temple construction of the Pentateuch as apocalypse. The move is evident in the Book of Jubilees, who introduces his work with a detailed account of revelation at Sinai that includes his own work, the “Divisions of the Times,” an apocalypse, but not the “Torah of Moses.” However, as Jubilees overlaps with Genesis in great measure and, it is argued, refrains from alluding to the Pentateuch throughout, the claim would seem to be that the “Divisions of the Times” actually preceded the Pentateuch as one of its sources. The implications of this view for understanding Rewritten Bible and interpretation in the late Second Temple period are considered.

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