Academic journal article Jewish Bible Quarterly

The Pentateuch Quoted Intact: Evidence from Ezekiel and Psalms

Academic journal article Jewish Bible Quarterly

The Pentateuch Quoted Intact: Evidence from Ezekiel and Psalms

Article excerpt

EZEKIEL

In an oft-quoted paper (1) written over a decade ago, (2) William Propp summarized the arguments pro and con as to whether the postulated Priestly source (P) might ever have existed as an independent work. According to the Documentary Hypothesis, P is one of the ancient documents that would later, along with other documents by other authors, be combined by a redactor to form the Torah we have today. Two of the stronger arguments for the position that there was once a separate P document are the presence of inconsistencies and doublets in the Torah as well as the claim that the reconstructed P narrative reads quite well, at least at certain junctures. (3) In an attempt to bolster the claim that P existed as an independent source, Propp endeavored to show that "a fragment of the intact Priestly source can be excavated out of the book of Ezekiel." (4) ... In this paper, I will show, as Burrows first did nearly a century ago, (5) that, in contrast, the author of Ezekiel was familiar with the entire Pentateuch, as were other biblical writers, such as the author of Psalm 106.

The gist of Propp's argument is as follows: (a) Exodus 2:23b-25 is attributed to P. (b) The Septuagint vorlage of Exodus 2:25 is posited to have read vayivada aleihem ("He made Himself known to them") (6) instead of the masoretic reading va-yeda Elohim ("and God knew"). (c) The next text in Exodus assigned to P is Exodus 6:2-9. (7) (d) Ezekiel 20:5-9 (especially verses 5 and 9) resembles both Exodus 2:25 and 6:2-9: The phrase va-ivada lahem in Ezekiel 20:5 resembles the Septuagint vorlage of Exodus 2:25, va-yivada aleihem, and the nodati aleihem in Ezekiel 20:9 resembles the nodati lahem in Exodus 6:4. (e) Therefore, Propp argued, Exodus 2:25 "originally flowed into Exodus 6:2" in the purported P document. (8)

Aside from the fact that one of the arguments required the use of a reconstructed vorlage, there are several themes in Ezekiel 20:5-9 that are not found in Exodus 2:23b-25 or 6:2-9. Nowhere in Exodus 2:23b-25 or 6:2-9 do we find the concepts of taking the Israelites out of Egypt to a land flowing with milk and honey (Ezek. 20:6), that the Israelites needed to cast off the abominations of Egypt (Ezek. 20:7), nor the idea that the Israelites did not heed God, but that He rescued them from Egypt anyway for the sake of His Name (Ezek. 20:8-9). In contrast, the Exodus text has a completely different idea, that of God rescuing the Israelites because of His covenant with the patriarchs (Ex. 2:24; 6:3-5, 8).

M. Burrows, in his book on Ezekiel, cited two strong arguments that the author of Ezekiel was familiar with the entire Torah, (9) which Propp attempted to refute. (10) The first example is from Ezekiel 27, which lists, according to my count, eleven nations exclusively from the section of Genesis 10 (the Table of Nations) ascribed to P (11) by both Friedman and Propp, (12) and three nations exclusively from the section of Genesis 10 (13) assigned to the postulated J source. (14) Burrows' second major argument compares Ezekiel 8:4 with passages from Exodus 24:10-18, where verses 10-15a are ascribed to E and verses 15b-18 are ascribed to P. (15) Burrows argues that the author of Ezekiel uses expressions from the text of Exodus 24. (16) At the end of the paper, Propp is willing to concede "that Ezekiel may have known both the composite Torah and the separate P and non-P sources." (17) However, I maintain that if the author of Ezekiel was familiar with the composite Pentateuch, it would be historically less likely that in another passage Ezekiel would just quote and preserve the text of P. Similarly, R. L. Kohn recently demonstrated that "the language and content of Ezekiel bear striking resemblance to that of the Priestly Source (P) of the Torah" and also that "the book of Ezekiel contains language and concepts associated with the book of Deuteronomy ([postulated source] D)." (18) She does this using examples of shared terminology, (19) as well as passages that reflect both sources, (20) although she concludes that because Ezekiel did not know the whole Torah, he must have anticipated the Torah's production rather than quoted from it. …

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