My dissertation will investigate the manner in which the Pentateuch was received by later biblical authors, its reception history. There are various content-related discrepancies between the Pentateuch's presentation of the early history of Israel and that same history depicted in non-Pentateuchal texts. In studying these historical differences, my dissertation will contribute to our understanding of the intertextual relationship between texts in order to determine the quality of the influence of the Pentateuch upon later biblical authors. The dominant approach to this issue relies on a linear model of composition informed by the Documentary Hypothesis. The Pentateuch is regarded as among the earliest written biblical texts. Further, the Pentateuch, once completed, is thought to have been regarded and received as an authoritative text, even before the completion of the entire canon. Thus, the dominant thought is that the discussions of Israel's history in non-Pentateuchal texts are dependent upon the Pentateuch's narrative. The possibility that the discrepancies are evidence of historical traditions independent from the Pentateuch is discounted.
My study will demonstrate that this is not an adequate resolution for the presence of historical discrepancies. Through a critique of the Documentary Hypothesis and the linear model of composition, I will demonstrate that this view stands on shaky ground.
Both the Documentary Hypothesis and the linear model of composition have come under heavy criticism in the past few decades, and insights from these works will inform my approach to the texts. Further, the dominant approach maintains a contradictory approach to the composition of biblical texts. The Pentateuch is regarded as a standard and dominant history, while the historical retrospectives in non-Pentateuchal texts are reckoned as subjective, ideologically conditioned texts. There has been no cogent defense of what criteria allow for this bifurcation. Finally, the dominant approach has, by and large, used intertextuality as a tool for detecting positive relationships between texts, i.e., dependence and influence. What it has ignored, however, is that intertextuality also encompasses the converse; quite often, texts are written to reject the message of previous texts and to propose an alternative message.
Through an intertextual analysis of texts that is not burdened by a linear model of composition and influence, with a focus on lexical and rhetorical content, I will show that the case for dependence upon the Pentateuch has been overstated. There are, in fact, significant points of contrast between the texts, particularly on the ideological level, that indicate against a dependence upon or borrowing from the Pentateuch. This aspect of my study will be informed F. V. Greifenhagen's work on the ideological function of Egypt within the Pentateuch. I will present, then, an alternative means of resolving the presence of historical discrepancies, one that de-emphasizes the authority of the Pentateuch on later biblical writers. Though the later authors may have been aware of the Pentateuch, a desire to conform to its presentation of the past was not a strong motivating factor.
This alternate model will be informed by a study of select texts from the Second Temple Period. There is much literary evidence from this period that the Pentateuch was not regarded as authoritative. This forces us to rethink the status of the Pentateuch after its completion. While it would eventually come to be regarded as the dominant portrayal of the past, Second Temple literature shows that this attitude was not immediately pervasive. This then provides a framework by which we can understand the origin of historical discrepancies and the nature of the later biblical authors' reception of the Pentateuch.