Cover image for The Wilderness Itineraries: Genre, Geography, and the Growth of Torah By Angela Roskop

The Wilderness Itineraries

Genre, Geography, and the Growth of Torah

Angela Roskop

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$52.50 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-1-57506-212-9

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History, Archaeology, and Culture of the Levant

The Wilderness Itineraries

Genre, Geography, and the Growth of Torah

Angela Roskop

As we read the wilderness narrative, we are confronted with a wide variety of cues that shape our sense of what kind of narrative it is, often in conflicting ways. It often appears to be history, but it also contains genres and content that are not historiographical. To explain this unique blend, Roskop charts a path through Akkadian and Egyptian administrative and historiographical texts, exploring the way the itinerary genre was used in innovative ways as scribes served new literary goals that arose in different historical and social situations. She marries literary theory with philology and archaeology to show that the wilderness narrative came about as Israelite scribes used both the itinerary genre and geography in profoundly creative ways, creating a narrative repository for pieces of Israelite history and culture so that they might not be forgotten but continue to shape communal life under new circumstances.

 

  • Description
  • Table of Contents
As we read the wilderness narrative, we are confronted with a wide variety of cues that shape our sense of what kind of narrative it is, often in conflicting ways. It often appears to be history, but it also contains genres and content that are not historiographical. To explain this unique blend, Roskop charts a path through Akkadian and Egyptian administrative and historiographical texts, exploring the way the itinerary genre was used in innovative ways as scribes served new literary goals that arose in different historical and social situations. She marries literary theory with philology and archaeology to show that the wilderness narrative came about as Israelite scribes used both the itinerary genre and geography in profoundly creative ways, creating a narrative repository for pieces of Israelite history and culture so that they might not be forgotten but continue to shape communal life under new circumstances.

The itinerary notices also play an important role in the growth of the Torah. Many scholars have expressed frustration with historical criticism because it seems at times to focus more on deconstructing a narrative than explaining how this composite text manages to work as a whole. The Wilderness Itineraries explores the way that fractures in the itinerary chain and geographical problems serve both as clues to the composition history of the wilderness narrative and as cues for ways to navigate these fractures and read this composite text as a unified whole. Readers will gain insight into the technical skill and creativity of ancient Israelite scribes as they engaged in the process of simultaneously preserving and actively shaping the Torah as a work of historiography without parallel.

Preface

List of Abbreviations

The Torah as History: Rethinking Genre

Emplotment and Repertoire: A Reading Strategy

Itineraries: Their Forms and Contexts

Experimenting with Genre: Using Sources and Shaping Narratives

An Israelite “Annal”

The Routes of the Wilderness Sojourn: Itineraries and Composition History

Geography: Embedding Text in Culture

Epilogue

Indexes

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