Michaelis, Moses, and the Recovery of the Bible

Michael C. Legaspi

in The Death of Scripture and the Rise of Biblical Studies

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780195394351
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199777211 | DOI:


Michaelis, Moses, and the Recovery of the Bible

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This chapter describes Michaelis’s efforts to remake the figure of Moses and reexamine biblical law. Michaelis was not alone among early modern interpreters in wanting to reinterpret the significance of the great prophet. He portrayed Moses as an enlightened statesman committed to philosophical monotheism, tolerance, and happiness. He also saw Moses as a poetic genius, the author of the book of Job, and a sublime moralist; his portrait of Moses as a classical paragon rested on erudite foundations. Michaelis denied that the Old Testament, as scripture, had any kind of direct relevance or authority in modern life. His work on Moses showed how a scholar could apply the tools of history and philology to remake the biblical tradition and see the value of biblical figures by new, non-confessional lights.

Keywords: Michaelis; Moses; biblical law; job; philology

Chapter.  11705 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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