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Summarize and Critics on Torah (Pentateuch) - Essay Example

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Summarize and Critics on Torah (Pentateuch)

Friedman does not spend much time dealing with the obviously oral origins of the words, but instead bases his reading on textual elements, from which scholars are able to tease apart the contributions of four separate writers and to hypothesize the literary steps taken by the editor who combined all four into a single, coherent, and cohesive document. Friedman reports on ten disparate categories through which we can discern the four authors: doublets, terminology, contradictions, consistent characteristics, narrative flow, historical referents, linguistic classifications, relationships among sources, references in other parts of the bible, and editorial marks.
Doublets refer to "cases of two variations of the same story in the Pentateuch" (Friedman, 1992, p. 609). This essay refers to twenty-seven different places in the Torah where the same story has been told in slightly different ways, for instance, the order of creation in Genesis, which is presented differently in 1:1-2:3 than in 2:4-25. There are even examples of triplets, three versions of the same story. The second category, terminology, refers to different names being used, especially for God. This is most important because, "these differences of terminology fall consistently into one or another group of doublets" (Friedman, 1992, p. 610). One set will always use the term "God" while the other will always use "Yahweh," suggesting two different authors with two different ways of talking about the deity. For scholars, this is the key to determining the number of different authors, referred to as D, E, P, and J. Friedman lists twenty-four examples of characteristic phrases.
Contradictions, often found by examining the doublets, demonstrate multiple traditions. When the one doublet contradicts another, it seems most likely that they were not written by the same author. The fifteen contradictions Friedman provides demonstrate that the different authors had different versions of the same story, although they do not agree on the details. On the converse side, there are also consistencies. These are thematic ["There are no angels in P" (Friedman, 1992, p. 611)], literary ["The word grace/graciousnever occurs in P" (Friedman 611)], and character-oriented ("In P Aaron and Miriam are identified as the brother and sister of Mosesbut they are never identified as his siblings in J, E, or D" (Friedman, 1992, p. 611)]. Friedman has twenty examples.
Narrative flow discusses stories that can be seen as continuous. Although some complete stories are broken up by other material, using the previous criteria, scholars are able to determine how the parts fit together, and where they have been interrupted. Friedman shows us eleven such markers. Then, there is the matter of historical evidence, which is very important to scholars of a literary (rather than divine) Torah. Although, biblically, the entire Torah was received by Moses on Sinai, "Each of the four component texts of the Torah contains a number of elements that reflect the place and time in history ...Show more


The article "Torah (Pentateuch)" by R. E. Friedman provides a scholarly look at the Five Books of Moses. Although the Torah is usually seen as religious in nature, the scholarly article is not at all religious. While this kind of writing is certainly no substitute for a careful reading of the primary material-the Torah itself-modern readers can employ such writing to come to a greater understanding of the ancient document, which continues to influence our world today…
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Summarize and Critics on Torah (Pentateuch) essay example
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