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Zoroastrian and Hindu Connections in the Priestly Strata of the Pentateuch: The Case of Numbers 31:19-24

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AbstractPrevious studies have traced important parallels between biblical and Iranian and Indic traditions. As opposed to the meticulous philological work invested in the field of ancient near eastern parallels, however, the Indic and Iranian parallels to the Bible were often invoked in a very general manner and no attempt was made to locate these parallels textually through careful philological investigation.The article demonstrates that, later additions to the priestly strata of the Pentateuch can be significantly illuminated by exploring Indic and Zoroastrian parallels. Through a close examination of Numbers 31:19-24 and its parallels from the Indic and Iranian literatures, the study surmises that particularly the late additions in the biblical text bear resemblance and are connected to the Indic and Iranian traditions. Following an internal analysis of the biblical text, which presents exegetic difficulties that indicate the existence of later interpolations in the text, the study examines Zoroastrian and Hindu parallels relevant to the biblical passage. The light shed by these parallels greatly aids in solving the difficulties and discrepancies inherent in the biblical text.

Affiliations: 1: Harvard


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