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The Pentateuch: A Social-Science Commentary

, 2004
ISBN: 9780567658791

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This overview of the Pentateuch reviews the various historical-critical attempts to read it based on ideas about the social evolution of Israel’s religion and culture. Among the questions it addresses are: Is the Pentateuch an accumulation of folk traditions?; Is it a work of ancient historiography?; And is it a document legitimizing religious reform? Van Seters, in dialogue with competing views, advocates a compositional model that recognizes the social and historical diversity of the literary strata. He argues that a proto-Pentateuchal author created a comprehensive history from Genesis to Numbers that was written as a prologue to the Deuteronomistic History (Deuteronomy to 2 Kings) in the exilic period and later expanded by a Priestly writer to make it the foundational document of the Jerusalem temple community.

With Logos Bible Software, The Pentateuch: A Social-Science Commentary is completely searchable, with passages of Scripture appearing on mouseover, as well as being linked to your favorite Bible translation in your library. This makes these texts more powerful and easier to access than ever before for scholarly work or personal Bible study. With the advanced search features of Logos Bible Software, you can perform powerful searches by topic or Scripture reference—finding, for example, every mention of “Pentateuch,” or “covenant.”

Resource Experts
  • Foreword by the editors
  • Guidebook to the Pentateuch
  • Bibliographical references and indexes

Top Highlights

“I also think it unlikely that the whole of P was written for this single occasion. Yet the P narrative (Pg) is a single unified composition written in the late Persian period and reflecting the general circumstances and ideological issues of that time.” (Page 189)

“The greatest weakness of the Documentary Hypothesis is its lack of clarity about the literary role and function of the ‘redactor’ and how one can identify redactional activity in a text.” (Page 41)

“The division into books does not correspond to the works of the different authors and is entirely secondary” (Page 16)

“Isaiah and the latter’s appeal to Abraham and the theme of divine blessing of the Patriarch” (Page 60)

  • Title: The Pentateuch: A Social-Science Commentary
  • Author: John Van Seters
  • Editors: Diana Edelman and Brian B. Schmidt
  • Publisher: T & T Clark
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 233

John Van Seters is a distinguished professor emeritus at University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and currently lives in Canada. He is the author of The Life of Moses, Prologue to History, and In Search of History.


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    Digital list price: $34.99
    Save $9.00 (25%)