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The Divine Symphony
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The Divine Symphony


Jewish Publication Society 2003

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In this fascinating book, Knohl shares his understanding of how the Torah was edited into its final form. He bridges the gap between ancient Israel (c.1400–586 B.C.E.) and Second Temple times (c.536 B.C.E.–70 C.E.) by showing the continuity between these eras and the gradual evolution of the biblical worldview, which formed the foundation of later rabbinic Judaism. The book focuses on the editing of the Torah, interpreting the textual evidence, most notably contradictions and redundancies, to show that the idea of a pluralistic understanding of Revelation can be traced back to the editing of the Torah itself.

Knohl's interpretation of biblical composition challenges a popular trend in contemporary biblical scholarship: the idea that ancient Israel never existed as a historical reality, but was invented and "retrojected" back in time by later Israelite priests as part of their national myth.

Key Features

  • Shows the harmony among competing ideologies in the Torah
  • Analyzes the authorship of the Torah
  • Includes two appendixes and indexes


  • The Editing of the Torah
  • The Uniqueness of the Priestly Torah
  • Knowing Good and Evil: God and Humanity in J's Story of Beginnings
  • Good, Evil, and Holiness in Isaiah and the Holiness School
  • Israel's Debate over God's Sanctuary
  • Israel's Debate over King and Messiah
  • New Conceptions of Evil and Suffering during the Period of Exile and Return
  • The Emergence of the Sects in Ancient Judaism

Praise for the Print Edition

. . . This book is to be praised as an invigorating celebration of the different voices of the biblical tradition.

Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology

Through judicious use of critical scholarship and Jewish exegetical traditions, [Knohl] explores and even celebrates diversity of opinion on core issues. . . . well worth reading.

Religious Studies Review

There is much to like about this short work.... provocative and worthy of consideration.

Theological Studies

Product Details

  • Title: The Divine Symphony
  • Author: Israel Knohl
  • Publisher: Jewish Publication Society
  • Publication Date: 2003
  • Pages: 200

About Israel Knohl

Israel Knohl is chair of the Bible Department of Hebrew University and on the faculty of the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. He is the author of The Sanctuary of Silence and The Messiah Before Jesus. Knohl brings to his book an impressive background in Dead Sea Scrolls scholarship, research in messianism, and a thorough grounding in Rabbinics—a breadth of expertise rare among academics.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition

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