The Place of the Law in the Religion of Ancient Israel

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Over a hundred years ago, Wellhausen's revolutionary aim in his "Prolegomena" was to prove that the Priestly legal sections of the Pentateuch reflect postexilic Judaism and must be considered a deviation from the prophetic religion which preceded it. The present study points out the biased assumptions underlying Wellhausen's theory and the fallacies in this thesis. A strong case is made for the antiquity of the Priestly Code and its antedating the Book of Deuteronomy in light of many parallels between the Priestly Law and ritual texts from the Ancient Near East, and an examination of the mythic outlook in P which distinguishes it from both Deuteronomy and Second Isaiah.
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Biographical Note

Moshe Weinfeld, Ph.D., Hebrew University, Jerusalem, is Professor (Emeritus) in Biblical Studies in the Department of Bible at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. His most important books are Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic School (Oxford, 1972) and Deuteronomy 1-11 (AB, New York, 1991).

Review Quotes

' …this short and stimulating book should be widely read.'
B.S. Jackson, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, 2005.

Table of contents

PART ONE
A REVISION OF WELLHAUSEN’S PROLEGOMENA
1. The Basic Prejudice of the Prolegomena
2. Wellhausen’s Literary Criticism and Its Fallacy
3. Social and Cultic Institutions in the Priestly Source Against Their Ancient Near Eastern Background
4. Wellhausen in Light of his Contemporaries

PART TWO
THEOLOGICAL FEATURES IN THE PENTATEUCH
5. Theological Currents in Pentateuchal Literature
6. God the Creator in the Priestly Source and Deutero-Isaiah
Appendix. Concerning the Sabbath and Circumcision in P

Bibliography
Indices

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