Taking the adage 'let the text speak for itself' as its point of departure, this study focuses on the question what part is played by texts as scripture in the Hebrew Bible. The word 'scripture' here covers scrolls and other manuscripts appearing in various places in the Hebrew Bible; the four most important of these are the subject of this study. These are the narratives in which a document turns out to be the central motif: Deuteronomy 9–10, 31; 2 Kings 22–23 Jeremiah 36 and Nehemiah 8.
The exegesis shows many interrelations and cross-references between the narratives, and the special role reserved for the 'book of the torah'. The final conclusion is that the use of the 'book of the torah' as a literary motif brings a specific cohesion to the Hebrew Bible. For this reason, this study distinguishes between 'torah' as a literary phenomenon within the Old Testament stories, and the Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. Analogously, a distinction is also made between 'scriptural' and 'Scriptural'.
This study offers an interpretation that aims to find (the meaning of) the structure of texts within the canon of the Hebrew Bible, and is also theological, i.e., takes into account the fact that these texts are a coherent whole testifying to the God of Israel. Thus, its scope is the theology of the Hebrew Bible. The results of the investigation are presented in a form befitting this field of activity: Paxt I, Reading, is concerned with reading and interpreting the texts. In order to nevertheless provide the reader with an impression of the whole, a brief summary of the argument is given here by way of introduction.
Chapter 1 offers an exegesis of Deut. 9:7–10:11; 31:9–13, 24– 26. Deut. 9–10 is familiar to us as the story of the adoration of the golden calf, also found in the book of Exodus. Upon closer scrutiny, the version Deuteronomy offers is not so much about the molten image as about the stone tablets upon which the Ten Words are inscribed.
Moses is commanded to lead the people to the land promised by YHWH. Deut. 9–10 starts with what happened on Mount Horeb, as the 'point of departure' of Israel's journey: from YHWH Moses receives the stone tablets containing the Ten Words of the covenant. When he descends from the mountain, Moses sees how
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Publication information: Book title: Reading Scripture in the Old Testament: Deuteronomy 9-10, 31, 2 Kings 22-23, Jeremiah 36, Nehemiah 8. Contributors: G. J. Venema - Author. Publisher: Brill. Place of publication: Boston. Publication year: 2004. Page number: xi.
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