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Pentateuch, Hexateuch, or Enneateuch? Identifying Literary Works in Genesis through Kings.

Pentateuch, Hexateuch, or Enneateuch? Identifying Literary Works in Genesis through Kings. Edited by THOMAS B. DOZEMAN; THOMAS ROMER; and KONRAD SCHMID. Ancient Israel and Its Literature, vol. 8. Atlanta: SOCIETY OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE, 2011. Pp. x + 313. $39.95 (paper).

The essays contained in this volume are loosely bound by an interest in identifying literary works in the Pentateuch (Genesis-Deuteronomy) and the Former Prophets (Joshua-Kings). The contributions are unified by little other than their adherence to a model of composition that emphasizes the formative role played by editors (or "redactors") in the composition process. The redactor steps into the role of the author, adapting and reshaping the earliest sources to the point that their origin is forever obscured. The focus of this research is therefore on discerning the latest redactions that shaped the Pentateuch and other literary productions. As noted by the editors in their introductory remarks, this type of historical-critical interpretation represents a marked shift from older methods of interpretation such as source criticism and tradition-historical criticism. The former focused on the source documents J, E, and P within the literary context of the Hexateuch, which offered a narrative of a land promised and finally attained by conquest in the book of Joshua. Tradition history sought to demarcate separate blocks of tradition, separating the books from Genesis through Kings into a Tetrateuch (Genesis-Numbers) and the books from Deuteronomy through Kings into a Deuteronomistic History (henceforth, DtrH).

While moving beyond the constraints of the traditional divisions made by the source-critical and tradition-historical methods, most modern redaction-critical scholarship has encountered new and perplexing difficulties in locating the boundaries of the literary works in Genesis through Kings. The eleven contributions to this volume, which are the outcome of a two-year consultation between the Pentateuch Section and the Deuteronomistic

History Section of the Society of Biblical Literature, represent an attempt at a rapprochement. They seek to use the new presuppositions of redaction criticism to examine anew the larger literary units in Genesis-Kings, and to identify the compositional processes that gave us these books as they exist today. The editors have organized the essays into two categories. In the first category ("Methodological Studies"), the four contributors tackle broad questions regarding the appropriate methodology for isolating literary works in Genesis through Kings. In the second category ("Case Studies"), the seven essayists investigate specific texts in order to explore the literary connections between the Pentateuch and the Former Prophets.

In the first of the four articles dealing with methodology, Konrad Schmid describes Martin Noth' s pivotal role in understanding the Tetrateuch/Pentateuch as a literary work distinct from the DtrH and observes that the strict separation made by Noth between the two units became the prevailing consensus of the late twentieth century. Noth's primary arguments were twofold: 1) that the book of Joshua shows no sign of the traditional sources J, E, and P, and 2) that the Tetrateuch exhibits no indication of Deuteronomistic editing. Schmid then casts a critical eye on what he argues was a scholarly compromise between Martin Noth and Gerhard van Rad that led to the misguided harmonization of the two theories of the DtrH (Noth) and the Hexateuch (von Rad). These two theories have subsequently been shown not to work well together, thanks in large part to the work of John Van Seters, Hans Henrich Schmid, and Rudolf Rendtorff in the 1970s. Current research has continued to indicate the unsustainability of the "gentlemen's agreement" between Noth and von Rad.

Thomas Romer begins his essay by offering a comprehensive examination of the major shifts that have taken place in the historical and critical research into the Hebrew Bible in the past century or so, and then turns to an examination of the major proposals for the identification of the Hexateuch, the DtrH, and the Enneateuch. He notes that the arguments for and against the existence of these literary units are linked to specific models for the formation of the Hebrew Bible. Romer's own model proposes the existence of a "Deuteronomistic Library" in the Babylonian period, which included the scroll of Deuteronomy, the scrolls of Joshua-Kings, as well as some prophetic scrolls edited by the same Deuteronomistic group (such as Jeremiah and Hosea). A separate "Priestly Library" contained scrolls that, together with the scrolls from the Deuteronomistic Library, were later used to form the Pentateuch and then the Prophets. According to Romer, it was the so-called "Holiness School" that later removed the scroll of Deuteronomy from the Deuteronomistic Library, and appended it to an original Priestly document. With Deuteronomy as the new conclusion to the Torah, the Holiness School now had an explanation for the revelation at Sinai. Romer therefore sees the separation of Deuteronomy from Joshua-Kings as the origin of the Pentateuch.

Like Schmid and Romer, Erhard Blum bluntly articulates the central problem that is at the foundation of the disagreement among Hebrew Bible scholars, i.e., the question over whether interpretations are dealing with actual or imaginary literary works. In the first section of his article, Blum attempts to address this problem by exploring the "multivalent internal indicators" for connecting the books of Genesis through Kings, while at the same time arguing for a break in the canon between Deuteronomy and Joshua that dates back at least to the Hellenistic period. According to Blum, "the simultaneity of independence and continuity seems to be an essential structure of a written canon, in which each instance of innercanonical intertextuality also represents a kind of 'intratextuality' " (p. 47). This insight does little to dispel the uncertainty surrounding the identification of original literary works, however.

Neither does Blum's discussion of the methodological problem that confronts the interpreter when faced with the variety of literary relationships between the books, namely, the difficulty of distinguishing limited additions to specific texts from larger-scale redactional activity that is intended to create a literary work. To illustrate the complexities that arise from the distinction between intertextual references between independent books and intratextual correlations suggestive of a more systematic redaction, Blum examines the recent hypotheses offered by E. Aurelius and R. Kratz. He concludes by offering his own proposals based on a third class of textual indicator: "internal self-referential definitions of literary units" (p. 58). The final pages of his article focus on how the internal references to the "Torah" within the Pentateuch function as indicators of a literary work.

David Carr takes a different tack in his discussion of the problem of identifying literary works in the Pentateuch and the Former Prophets. Steering clear of the internal textual analyses that characterize the approach of Romer and Blum, Carr instead compares the overlapping historical narratives in Samuel-Kings and Chronicles in the hopes that this type of "empirical" analysis can shed light on the relationship between the Pentateuch and the Former Prophets. Following the empirical investigation of material shared and not shared by Samuel-Kings and Chronicles, Carr arrives at the conclusion that the Chronicler must have had a version of Samuel-Kings that was both shorter and perhaps different from the version preserved in the extant manuscript of Samuel-Kings in the MT. When comparing the shared material in Chronicles and the DtrH with links to the Pentateuch, Carr finds instances of Pentateuchal themes to be quite rare. This may attest to a time when the tradition had not yet been coordinated with the Torah. When he examines the material that is peculiar to Chronicles and the DtrFl respectively, Carr finds numerous connections to the Pentateuch. Fie argues that this state of affairs reflects a time in the redaction of these two works when they underwent a process of expansion and harmonization with the Torah. The differences between Chronicles and Samuel-Kings may be indicative of the way that redactors bound the Torah to the Former Prophets, and therefore can serve as an example of how ancient traditions were expanded.

The "Case Studies" section begins with the article by Suzanne Boorer, who focuses on the nature of the Priestly narrative material, particularly as this relates to the question of whether the basic P narrative extends beyond Genesis-Numbers into the book of Joshua. She argues that the P-style texts in Joshua are not genuine priestly material but were added by later redactors in an attempt to create a Hexateuch. Christoph Levin is interested in determining how early redactional versions of blocks of tradition might have been shaped and expanded by the Enneateuch's division into nine scrolls.

Cynthia Edenburg revisits the Eden and Cain stories found in the narrative of Genesis 2-4 with an eye towards investigating whether the sin and exile paradigm might have played a role in the compositional history of the Enneateuch. Michael Konkel investigates the innerbiblical links between Exodus 32-34 and the rest of the Enneateuch in order to determine whether the post-Priestly redactor of this passage was working within the framework of an Enneateuch. Konkel concludes that this was not the case, arguing that this late redaction of Exodus 32-34 was establishing intertextual links with an independent DtrH, and that the Pentateuch and the Former Prophets were originally two separate works.

Thomas Dozeman notes the important position of Joshua between the Pentateuch and the Former Prophets, and reminds his readers that the question of the compositional history of this book is complicated by the fact that the MT and LXX canons preserve different versions. Dozeman concludes that the editor(s) of Joshua in the emerging MT were operating within the context of a Pentateuch, whereas the redactor(s) of the LXX version were working within the literary horizon of something more like the Enneateuch.

Christoph Berner compares the "parallel motifs and narrative traits" found in the account of the exodus (Exodus 1-15) and in the story of Solomon's forced labor and the subsequent revolt of Jeroboam (I Kings 1-12), concluding that these two passages were not composed within the context of an original literary Enneateuch. The text in 1 Kings developed later and is dependent on the Exodus story, which in turn suggests that the Enneateuch developed from the Pentateuch.

The focus of Felipe Wissmann's essay is the judgment texts in the books of Kings--those speeches in which prophets, kings, or Yahweh pass judgment on the actions of the ruler or the people. Wissmann concludes that the redactor of Kings did not draw his judgment formulas from the book of Deuteronomy but instead was influenced by the prophetic texts. He goes on to suggest that Deuteronomy was not originally connected to Kings and therefore rejects the hypothesis of a DtrH in Deuteronomy-2 Kings. This proves, according to Wissmann, that the division between the Torah and the Former Prophets was a very ancient one.

On the subject of style, the density and at times incomprehensibility of the English style of the articles in this volume lessens the effectiveness of the authors' arguments. In terms of an overarching narrative that might connect the disparate views represented in this volume, unfortunately there is little that unites these redaction-critical studies other than a desire to discern solid criteria for identifying literary works in Genesis-2 Kings. Each of the scholars arrives at the problem of identifying the fundamental literary units of the Enneateuch with a certain set of presuppositions that colors his interpretation of the textual data. Phrasing the title of the volume as a question is certainly an appropriate decision on the part of the editors, as the cumulative effect of the variety of approaches presented in this volume is to leave the question of literary boundaries quite open-ended.

The lack of a consensus in biblical scholarship is discouraging for a researcher who hopes to see progress in identifying the primary large-scale literary units of the Enneateuch. Nevertheless, the eleven essays give the researcher a good sense of the manifold problems in identifying literary units with which current specialists are grappling.


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Author:Whisenant, Jessica
Publication:The Journal of the American Oriental Society
Article Type:Book review
Date:Apr 1, 2015
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