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Elephantine and the Torah

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Chapter Summary

Many Jewish texts were or could be fictitious or idealized, but the Elephantine texts show a community going about its daily business. This chapter looks at some of the areas that seem to relate to biblical teaching, especially the pentateuch. One question to be answered is whether the present text of the "Five Books of Moses" is presupposed. Many legal and quasi-legal texts are known from Elephantine. What is surprising is that the name "Moses" is found nowhere in the these texts. The chapter provides examples of the terminology, divine names, temple of Yhw, Passover, sabbath, and divorce that appear in Elephantine Texts. Putting all the information together, there seems to be good evidence that the torah as we know it - the "five books of Moses" - is a product of the Persian period.

Keywords:Elephantine; Hebrew; Jewish community; pentateuch; Sabbath; Torah; Persian period



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