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Torah, Dating Texts

Balaam the Seer Is Recast as a Villain

The oldest biblical sources see Balaam as a great seer, but as time goes on, biblical texts portray him in an increasingly negative light. The key to this shift lies in Deuteronomy’s attitude to Israel and gentiles.

Prof.

Alexander Rofé

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How Exodus Revises the Laws of Hammurabi

A close look at the laws of assault recorded in Exodus’ Covenant Collection demonstrates that the author knew the Laws of Hammurabi and revised them to fit with Israelite legal and ethical conceptions.

Prof.

David P. Wright

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The Tabernacle: A Post-Exilic Polemic Against Rebuilding the Temple

The Priestly Torah discusses the Tabernacle at extraordinary length, emphasizing its portability. Nothing in P ever says this structure was meant to be temporary. P’s Tabernacle was not foreshadowing the Temple, but was a polemic against Haggai and Zechariah’s agitation to build the Second Temple.

Dr. Hacham

Isaac S. D. Sassoon

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King David and Oedipus Rex

Reading the Succession Narrative as Anti-Monarchic Greek Tragedy

Dr.

Richard Lederman

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When Did "Fire Go Forth from Heshbon"?

Contrary to the biblical account of the Israelite conquest and burning of Heshbon in Numbers 21, the archaeological remains of Tell Hesban (biblical Heshbon) demonstrate that it was not settled until centuries after the conquest and settlement period and not burned until over half a millennium later!

Dr.

Elizabeth Bloch-Smith

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Sukkot in Ezra-Nehemiah and the Date of the Torah

According to Ezra (3:4) and Nehemiah (8:14-15) the returnees celebrated the holiday of Sukkot according to the law as it “was written,” but differences between their celebrations and the prescriptions in the Torah suggest that the laws they had written were slightly different than ours. Was the Torah finalized by the time Ezra-Nehemiah was written?

Dr.

Lisbeth S. Fried

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Amos' Puns in the Northern (Israelite) Dialect

And what they reveal about his identity

Dr.

Tania Notarius

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Dating Deborah

The Song of Deborah (Judges 5) is often seen as an ancient text, perhaps one of the oldest in the Tanach, but analysis of its language and contents suggests that it is a later Deuteronomistic composition.[1]

Dr.

Serge Frolov

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Was the Joseph Story Written in Egypt During the Persian Period?

Egyptologists have long searched the details of the Joseph story for clues to when the story was written. Does the Jewish experience as a diaspora community in Egypt hold the clue to the story’s origin?

Dr.

Shirly Ben-Dor Evian

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Megillat Esther: Reversing the Legacy of King Saul

One of the main themes in Megillat Esther is the death of Haman, the descendent of Agag, last king of Amalek, at the hands of Mordecai and Esther, Benjaminites from the family of King Saul. Is this just a coincidence?

Prof.

Marc Zvi Brettler

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