Inconsistency in the Torah: Ancient Literary Convention and the Limits of Source Criticism

Autor Joshua A. Berman
en Limba Engleză Hardback – 26 oct 2017
Inconsistencies in the Torah is a critical intellectual history of the theories of textual growth in biblical studies. The historical critical approach to the Pentateuch has long relied upon scholarly intuition concerning some of its narrative and legal discrepancies, which scholars have taken as signs of fragmentation and competing agendas. Those hypotheses are, Joshua A. Berman argues, based on anachronistic, nineteenth-century understandings of ancient Near Eastern and biblical law as statutory law. Indeed, the Pentateuch's inconsistencies are not dissimilar to types of narrative inconsistencies from Egyptian monumental inscriptions and the historical prologues of the Hittite vassal treaty tradition. Berman here explores the inconsistencies between the Pentateuch's four corpora of law by surveying the history of legal theory and its influence on the critical study of biblical law. He lays bare how the intellectual movements of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries impeded the proper execution of historical critical method in the study of the Pentateuch. Ultimately he advocates a return to the hermeneutics of Spinoza and the adoption of a methodologically modest agenda. This book is a must-read for Biblicists looking to escape from the impasse and extreme fragmentation gripping the field today.
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ISBN-13: 9780190658809
ISBN-10: 0190658800
Pagini: 320
Dimensiuni: 236 x 160 x 31 mm
Greutate: 0.58 kg
Editura: Oxford University Press
Colecția OUP USA
Locul publicării:New York, United States


I find Berman's call for understanding the Hebrew Bible as a product of the Ancient Near East literary milieu to be foundational. I would argue that in his book, nonstandard, alternative perspectives can be found and built upon, instead of fundamentalist apologetics. As such, the book will engage both avid students who enjoy learning about the history and modern ideas entertained in current historical criticism, as well as scholars who now will have to deal with the substantial challenges Berman raises against the modern practice of the method.
There is much of value in the detailed textual analysis that Berman offers
I highly recommend this monograph. Berman offers important challenges to the field of pentateuchal studies in particular and biblical studies as a whole. While engaging in this dialogue may not help the field of biblical studies to reach a greater level of consensus, it will certainly make for more thoughtful scholarship.
[A] a scintillating work that manages to challenge nearly every received canon in Pentateuchal source criticism.
Berman's book is a helpful foray into the area of 'biblical criticism criticism.'

Notă biografică

Joshua A. Berman is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Hebrew Bible at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. He is the author of Created Equal: How the Bible Broke with Ancient Political Thought.