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Supplementary Hypothesis

The Bronze Plating of the Altar: Numbers Versus Exodus

After Korah’s failed rebellion, God commands Elazar to plate the altar with the bronze firepans of the two hundred and fifty tribal leaders (Num 17). But didn’t Bezalel already plate the altar in bronze as God commanded when it was first built (Exod 27 and 38)?

Dr. Rabbi

David Frankel

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The Sacrifice of Isaac in Context

Recovering a Lost Ending of the Akedah

Dr.

Tzemah Yoreh

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Datan and Abiram: A Rebellion of the Shepherds in the Land of Israel

The biblical text is unclear about why Datan and Abiram are rebelling. A careful look at their words shows that they are complaining about the land they are already living in.

Dr. Rabbi

David Frankel

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The Three Redactional and Theological Layers of the Plagues

The plague story expanded over time in three main stages: The oldest stage (E) has Moses perform 3 plagues on his own; this was revised to create a story of an all-powerful God performing 8 plagues (J), utilizing Moses as a mouthpiece. Finally, the Priestly redactor revised this into our familiar narrative of 10 plagues, in which God uses the miracles to announce himself to Egypt and the world.

Dr.

Tzemah Yoreh

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The Proto-Story of Shechem and Jacob's Daughter

Turning the brothers’ unprovoked attack on Shechem into Simeon and Levi’s rescue of Dinah

Dr. Rabbi

David Frankel

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When Pharaoh's Stubbornness Caught God by Surprise

A Supplementary Approach to the Theological Conundrum of Pharaoh’s Heavy Heart

Dr. Rabbi

David Frankel

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Debates Over Centralizing Sacrificial Worship and Eating Non-Sacrificial Meat

Moses’ first set of laws in Deuteronomy (11:31–12:28) requires the Israelites to destroy Canaanite sites of worship and to centralize sacrifice for Yahweh at the site of His choosing. It also allows them to eat meat without sacrificing the animal, under particular conditions. A close look at the terms of Moses’ speech shows that the text has been supplemented no less than three times.[1]

Dr.

Simeon Chavel

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Israel's Departure from Egypt: A Liberation or an Escape?

The oldest layer E has the Israelites pushed out by the Egyptian people under the king of Egypt’s nose during the plague of darkness and Moses splitting the sea on his own. J then revised this account to create a story of an all-powerful God smiting the firstborn sons, forcing Pharaoh to give in, and then drowning Pharaoh and his army in the sea when Pharaoh changes his mind. Finally, the Priestly redactor adds details, expands the numbers of both the Egyptians and the Israelites, and puts in his signature theological innovation: God changes Pharaoh’s mind for him and forces him to give chase.

Dr.

Tzemah Yoreh

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Noah's Four Sons

Does the Supplementary Hypothesis explain the existence of a fourth son that found his way back into Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer and the Quran?

Dr.

Tzemah Yoreh

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Apportioning the Land: By Lot and By Population?!

Making sense from a redactional and historical perspective of the Torah’s two contradictory methods for how to divide the land among the tribes.

Dr.

Itamar Kislev

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How Ancient Scribes Tried to Make Sense of the Composite Story of Baal Peor

Dr.

Itamar Kislev

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The Backstory of the Spy Account

Early Judahite authors supplemented ancient Israelite traditions of conquest through the Transjordan with the spy story to explain why Israel entered Canaan from the east rather than from the south.

Dr.

Jacob L. Wright

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How the Israelite Family Was Put Together: The Twelve Sons of Jacob

The older Northern version of the Jacob story was heavily supplemented by later Southern authors, yielding more sons of Jacob, new explanations of their names, and a much more fecund Leah.

Dr.

Tzemah Yoreh

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The Covenant in Moab: Deuteronomy Without Horeb

Deuteronomy has Moses receiving a revelation at Horeb, but only teaching the Israelites its contents decades later in the Land of Moab. This two-step revelatory process, which is presented as two covenants (Deut 28:69), masks an earlier form of Deuteronomy that had no record of a Horeb revelation. 

Dr. Rabbi

David Frankel

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Speculating about the Original Text of the Decalogue

The Seven Commandments: The Supplementary Approach at Work

Dr.

Tzemah Yoreh

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