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Understanding The Pentateuch By Structuring The Desert: Numbers 21 As A Compositional Joint

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Chapter Summary

Martin Noth has set a landmark with his exegesis of Joshua, in which he neglected the traditional sources and found the Deuteronomistic History instead. This chapter focuses on the significance of "space" and "land" in the book of Numbers, especially in its latter part. The starting point of his argumentation is the proposal of structuring Numbers in five parts: Num 1:1-10:10; 10:11-14:33; 15:1- 20:28; 21:1-25:18; 25:19-36:13 predominantly-overlaying the twofold structure of an old and a new generation. The chapter draws some lines of the origins of the narrative material behind the text, respectively behind the redactional layers of the book of Numbers, by taking Numbers 21 as example. This sheds light on the interrelation between historical (diachronic) and compositional (synchronic) analysis. The fringe of the book has shown a far reaching perspective, beyond the borders of the book of Numbers and even beyond those of the Pentateuch.

Keywords: Joshua; narrative material; Numbers 21; Pentateuch



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