Article

Pentateuch

Thomas B. Dozeman

in Biblical Studies

ISBN: 9780195393361
Published online September 2010 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195393361-0092
Pentateuch

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The Pentateuch includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The literary category of the Pentateuch reflects the traditional Jewish grouping of these books together as the Torah. The thematic design of the five books of the Pentateuch can be divided into two unequal parts: Genesis and Exodus–Deuteronomy. Genesis traces the ancestral origins of Israel. It is composed in narrative, with no single character dominating the story. Genesis narrates the creation of the world (Genesis 1–11) and the ancestral origins of Israel (Genesis 12–50) through a series of genealogies that narrow from all humanity (2:4a, heaven and earth; 5:1, Adam; 6:9, Noah; 10:1, Noah’s sons; 11:10, Shem) to the Israelite ancestors (11:27, Terah; 25:12, Ishmael; 25:19, Isaac, 36:1, Esau; 37:2, Jacob). Exodus through Deuteronomy recounts the Israelite salvation from Egypt, the wilderness journey, and the revelation of law at the divine mountain. These books are a mixture of narrative and law, with Moses emerging as the central character. The story is framed by his birth (Exodus 2) and death (Deuteronomy 34) and recounts his leadership of the Israelites over two generation. Moses liberates the first generation of Israelites from Egypt (Exodus 5–14), leads them in the wilderness (Exodus 15–18; Numbers 11–21), and mediates divine law at the mountain of God. He repeats the revelation of law to the second generation on the plains of Moab (Deuteronomy).

Article.  14387 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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