03 Introduction to the Pentateuch
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What is the "Pentateuch"?
Greek word for "five books"
What is "Torah"?
Hebrew word for "Law" or "divine teaching"
Content of Genesis
- "primeval history," from creation to Abraham
- the stories of the patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (Israel), and his twelve sons, especially Joseph
Content of Exodus ("going out")
- God freeing the Israelites from slavery in Egypt through the leadership of Moses
- acceptance of a covenant with God
- closes with instructions for building the Tabernacle or Tent of Meeting and the Ark of the Covenant
Content of Leviticus
- focuses on Israel's official worship
- contains laws and commandments God gave to his newly sanctified people, as their part in the covenant
- regulates sacrifices, feasts, the priesthood (Levitical), ritual obligations
Content of Numbers
- concentrates on the holy army of Israel, including its numberial strength and its march through the desert
- adds more laws and regulations
- continues the story of Israel's wanderings in the desert, including a 40-year punishment for rebellion against God and Moses
Content of Deuteronomy ("recapitulation of the Law" or "second Law")
Moses' "farewell speech" - portrayed as a speech summarizing the meaning of the exodus and Israel's time in the desert on the verge of entrance into the Promised Land
Narrative outline of the Pentateuch
- Primeval history or human origins
- The exodus, through which God saves his people
- Establishment of the covenant and Israel's way of life
- Journey to the Promised Land
- Moses' farewell speech
Whom did St. Jerome believe to be the author of the Pentateuch?
Ezra, who wrote the Pentateuch based of the notes handed down from Moses
Who proposed the Documentary Hypothesis?
Julius Wellhausen (1878)
Definition of Documentary Hypothesis
a theory which postulates that the Pentateuch was composed by the amalgamation of sections and sub-sections derived from four independent source-documents, J [Yahwist], E [Elohist], P [Priestly], and D [Deuteronomist]
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