Study the Torah with Academic Scholarship

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Torah, Composition

What Ancient Scrolls Teach Us about the Torah’s Formation

Examining ancient Egyptian papyri, as well as scrolls from animal skins in Levantine sites such as Deir Alla and Qumran, highlights how scribes would add text to preexisting scrolls and showcases the limited size of scrolls intended for regular use.

Prof.

David M. Carr

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Genesis, Exodus, and the Composition of the Torah

The story of the ancestors in Genesis serves as a prequel to that of Moses in Exodus. Originally, however, each were self-standing accounts of Israel’s origin. They were combined for the first time by the Priestly author in the post-exilic period.

Prof.

Konrad Schmid

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The War Against Midian: A Study for How the Priestly Torah Was Compiled

In revenge for the Midianite seduction (Num 25), Phinehas takes the sacred utensils from the Tabernacle and leads the war against Midian (Num 31). Many details in this story contradict other Priestly texts, giving us a glimpse into how the Priestly Torah was compiled.

Dr.

Ariel Kopilovitz

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Why I am a Torah-True Jew

Prof. Rabbi

Judith Hauptman

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The Grain and Pomegranates of Mei Merivah (מי מריבה)

If the people are thirsty for lack of water, why complain to Moses that they “have no grain or pomegranates”? Together with other textual anomalies, this narrative discontinuity suggests that interwoven into the water-at-Merivah story is a fragment from a different story: the missing opening verses of the non-Priestly account of the spies.

Prof. Rabbi

David Frankel

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Deuteronomy: The First Torah

Before the Five Books of Moses were compiled as a complete work, evidence from Deuteronomy as well as from Joshua and Kings shows that Deuteronomy itself was known as “the Torah.”

Dr.

David Glatt-Gilad

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Theology, Not Biblical Studies

Dr.

Tova Ganzel

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How the Concept of Mosaic Authorship Developed

In the Persian period, the Torah, which is made up of various law collections, was ascribed to Moses as revealed by YHWH. A parallel development was taking place in Achaemenid Persia that sheds light on this process: The sacred texts called the Avesta, that contain the law​​ (dāta) and tradition (daēnā) of Zoroastrianism​, were being collectively ascribed to Zarathustra (Zoroaster) as revealed by Ahuramazdā.

Dr. Rabbi

Yishai Kiel

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The Challenges of Ancient Near Eastern Antecedents to the Torah

Thoughts on Torah Min HaShamayim

Dr. Rabbi

Michael Harris

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The Ancient Practice of Attributing Texts and Ideas to Moses

Ancient scribes would write as if Moses was the author, or they would claim that a tradition was originally stated by Moses, but they did not intend to convey a historical fact with this description. Instead, they meant that a given tradition was “authentically” Jewish, or God’s will and that Moses would have approved. I call this phenomenon “Mosaic Discourse.”

Prof.

Hindy Najman

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Why Deuteronomy Has an Account of Aaron's Death in the Wrong Place

Bewildered, Rashi asks why Deuteronomy records Aaron’s death at Moserah (not Mt. Hor) and why it does so in the middle of Moses’ description of his (second) forty-day stay upon Mount Horeb. Academic biblical scholarship sheds light on these questions.

Dr.

David Ben-Gad HaCohen

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Socio-Religious Background and Stabilization

Prof.

Emanuel Tov

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Understanding Deuteronomy on Its Own Terms

Deuteronomy, or Mishneh Torah, means “repetition of the law,” however, the author of Deuteronomy does not present the books as a repetition, but as the original revelation to Moses at Horeb, written down on the Plains of Moab.

Prof.

Itamar Kislev

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Who Wrote the Torah According to the Torah?

Jewish and Christian tradition ascribes authorship of the Pentateuch to Moses in the 13th century B.C.E. Is this what the Pentateuch itself implies about who wrote it and when?

Prof.

Christopher A. Rollston

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