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.
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- Foreword by the editors
- Guidebook to the Pentateuch
- Bibliographical references and indexes
- 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
About John Van Seters
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.