Fishbane’s Chronology of Sources

This may be a two-parter. Remember that I’m looking at Michael Fishbane’s Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel (New York: Oxford, 1988).

I looked at my notes today, and Fishbane seems to rely on a specific chronology in terms of the biblical writings. For him, the Pentateuch came before the prophets. Within the Pentateuch, Exodus is earlier than Leviticus, which is earlier than Numbers, and Deuteronomy is the latest Pentateuchal book of all. In fact, Fishbane says Deuteronomy is heir to the J, E, and P traditions (164). Joshua is later than Deuteronomy. Job is later than Psalms, which is later than the priestly blessing in Numbers. Isaiah is later than II Samuel.

Tomorrow, I’ll discuss where Fishbane seems to depart from this model. But, overall, he does view the Pentateuch as prior to the other books of the Bible.

What’s my point? I’m just trying to identify a pattern in Fishbane in terms of what appeals to what (in his model of inner-biblical interpretation). And I think I’ve found one. But I’ll be second-guessing myself on this tomorrow.

Also, there’s an issue of Fishbane’s ideology. There are scholars such as John Van Seters who place parts of the Pentateuch in exilic times. Julius Wellhausen (who helped develop the documentary hypothesis) believed that the prophets came before the law, an idea that offended Jewish scholar Yehezkel Kaufmann and other Jewish scholars. At Jewish Theological Seminary, in fact, Solomon Schechter delivered a scathing paper entitled “Higher Criticism or Higher Anti-Semitism?,” or something like that. In the eyes of prominent Jewish scholars, placing P later than the prophets made Judaism look like a ritualistic degeneration from a purer religion of justice and righteousness. Fishbane seems to agree with Jewish scholars, for he places P before the prophets.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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