A Prophet Like Moses: Prophecy, Law, and Israelite Religion

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9780199336456: A Prophet Like Moses: Prophecy, Law, and Israelite Religion

Jeffrey Stackert addresses two of the oldest and most persistent problems in biblical studies: the relationship between prophecy and law in the Hebrew Bible and the utility of the Documentary Hypothesis for understanding Israelite religion. These topics have in many ways dominated pentateuchal studies and the investigation of Israelite religion since the nineteenth century, culminating in Julius Wellhausen's influential Prolegomena to the History of Ancient Israel. Setting his inquiry against this backdrop while drawing on and extending recent developments in pentateuchal theory, Stackert tackles the subject through an investigation of the different presentations of Mosaic prophecy in the four Torah sources. His book shows that these texts contain a rich and longstanding debate over prophecy, its relation to law, and its place in Israelite religion.

With this argument, A Prophet Like Moses demonstrates a new role for the Documentary Hypothesis in discussions of Israelite religion. It also provides an opportunity for critical reflection on the history of the field of biblical studies. Stackert concludes with an argument for the importance of situating biblical studies and the study of ancient Israelite religion within the larger field of religious studies rather than treating them solely or even primarily as theological disciplines.

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About the Author:

Jeffrey Stackert is a biblical scholar who specializes in pentateuchal theory, Israelite and Mesopotamian religions, and interactions between biblical and non-biblical ancient Near Eastern texts. He received the 2010 John Templeton Award for Theological Promise for his first book, Rewriting the Torah: Literary Revision in Deuteronomy and the Holiness Legislation.


"Stackert's book remains well worth studying for its thought-provoking challenge to classical Documentarian and non-Documentarian approaches to the study of Pentateuchal theologies and the history of Israel's religion."--The Journal of Religion

"In A Prophet Like Moses, Jeffrey Stackert offers a very intelligent and engaging book. Comparing ancient Near Eastern prophetic texts and grounding his approach in the current (and notably debated) 'Neo-Documentary Hypothesis,' Stackert examines the prophetic dimensions of Moses' identity and the different views of prophecy in the Pentateuchal sources. The book marks a significant contribution to biblical scholarship. Clear and well written, insightful-and highly recommended." --Mark S. Smith, Skirball Professor of Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, New York University

"An elegant and important contribution to current scholarship on the Pentateuch. Stackert reframes Wellhausen's central questions about law and prophecy and delivers a compelling analysis of the distinctive positions in the Pentateuchal sources. It will evoke controversy in some quarters, but it is very solid scholarship." --Ronald Hendel, Dabby Professor of Hebrew Bible, University of California, Berkeley

"Stackert complicates the historical relationship between law and prophecy, by identifying an anti-prophetic tendency in the Elohist source in the pre-exilic period. In so doing, he undercuts the developmental view of Israelite religion associated with Wellhausen. This is a bold and ambitious book which is sure to ignite a debate that has far-reaching implications for our understanding of the religion of Israel." --John J. Collins, Holmes Professor of Old Testament, Yale

"...A Prophet Like Moses is valuable for research relating to the prophetic nature of the Torah and Moses, as it presents a ground-breaking and unique perspectives on how to understand the relationship between prophecy, law, and Moses. Stackert's nuanced approach, additionally, demonstrates a focused approach on the history of Israelite religion and may be used as a guide for future research due to how it understands the complex dynamics of law and prophecy. And because his focus draws on the historical dynamics of law and prophecy, it opens doors for much future research regarding each source's unique time period. In conclusion, Stackert's nuanced analysis of the Hebrew Bible and willingness to look beyond generalized dynamics between law, prophecy, and Moses allow his work to potentially become a launch pad for future studies exploring the nature of the multi-faceted, historically rooted, theological traditions of ancient Israel." --The Biblical Review

"It isStackert s literary approach employing Neo-Documentarian lenses that sets this work apart as significant. While particular readings of texts within Stackert s analysis might open debate, he sets the course for how to read Torah texts. They are literary creations, he contends, advocating a particular moment of Israelite religion situated within a larger social context with conflicting and developing ideas. In this way, Stackert advocates for scholars to embody a 'reflexive critique,' reading texts for literary artifacts but carefully checking any impulse to stake historical claims based on theological positions."--Biblical Interpretation

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