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The Yahwist

A Historian of Israelite Origins

John Van Seters

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The Yahwist

A Historian of Israelite Origins

John Van Seters

This book on the Yahwist comes at the end of a long career of research on the Pentateuch in general and the Yahwist in particular. Van Seters’s interest in the Yahwist was stimulated by the 1964 presidential address of the Society of Biblical Literature, given by Professor Fredrick Winnett, “Rethinking the Foundations,” which focused on the Yahwist in Genesis. This interest followed a path of work on issues surrounding the Yahwist that culminated in three volumes, Prologue to History: The Yahwist as Historian in Genesis (1992), The Life of Moses: The Yahwist as Historian in Exodus–Numbers (1994), and A Law Book for the Diaspora: Revision in the Study of the Covenant Code (2003).

 

  • Description
  • Table of Contents
This book on the Yahwist comes at the end of a long career of research on the Pentateuch in general and the Yahwist in particular. Van Seters’s interest in the Yahwist was stimulated by the 1964 presidential address of the Society of Biblical Literature, given by Professor Fredrick Winnett, “Rethinking the Foundations,” which focused on the Yahwist in Genesis. This interest followed a path of work on issues surrounding the Yahwist that culminated in three volumes, Prologue to History: The Yahwist as Historian in Genesis (1992), The Life of Moses: The Yahwist as Historian in Exodus–Numbers (1994), and A Law Book for the Diaspora: Revision in the Study of the Covenant Code (2003).

Over the last few years, it has become clear to Van Seters that readers of the three volumes on the Yahwist, which total more than 1,000 pages, easily lose sight of the Yahwist’s work as a whole and the way in which it provides a historical prologue and framework for D and the DtrH. In this book, Van Seters seeks to provide a summary sketch of the J history and to make clear how the Priestly corpus has been composed as a supplement to the Yahwist with a radically different form and point of view that has obscured the Yahwist’s historical narrative and theological perspective. Part one lays out in simple terms the basic form, structure, and theological perspective of the Yahwist’s history, where it has been interrupted by the inclusions of P, and how it is integrated into DtrH. The essays in part two are intended to bring the scholarly discussion of Van Seters’s earlier books on the Yahwist more up to date, and their order corresponds roughly to the order of the narrative in the first part of the book. Some of these articles have been published previously, but others are new and quite recent, including “The Yahwist as Historian.

Preface

Acknowledgments

Prologue

Abbreviations

Part 1: An Outline of the Yahwist’s Antiquities of Israel

1. Introduction

2. The Primeval History from Creation to the Tower of Babel

3. The History of the Patriarchs

4. The Sojourn in Egypt and the Exodus

5. From the Red Sea to Sinai

6. Israel at Sinai

7. The Desert Journey from Sinai to Kadesh

8. The Final Push: From Kadesh to the Jordan River

9. Observations on J’s Sources, Literary Techniques, and Ideological Perspective

Part 2: Studies in Defense of the Yahwist

10. Is There Any Historiography in the Hebrew Bible? A Hebrew-Greek Comparison

11. Author or Redactor?

12. The Report of the Yahwist’s Demise Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

13. The Yahwist Flood Story and the Babylonian Flood Tradition

14. The Covenant of Abraham in Genesis 15

15. The Silence of Dinah (Genesis 34)

16. The Joseph Story: Some Basic Observations

17. The Israelites in Egypt (Exodus 1–5) within the Larger Context of the Yahwist’s History

18. The Itinerary from Egypt to the Jordan River: A Study in J’s Historiography

19. The Altar Law of Exodus 20:24–26 in Critical Debate

20. The Tent of Meeting in the Yahwist’s Sinai-Wilderness Story: A Test Case

21. Deuteronomy between Pentateuch and the Deuteronomistic History

Bibliography

Index of Authors

Index of Scripture

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