Jewish tradition holds that Moses wrote the Torah. But as scholars have long recognized, neither Moses nor any other single author is responsible for Judaism’s central text. In these discussions, close reading of the text will reveal the presence of multiple authors in the Torah. We will think about how and why (and when!) the Torah was composed and created. And we will try to understand how knowledge of the Torah’s origins influences our reading of it today. What does it mean to read a text that doesn’t provide a clear story, or consistent laws, or even a coherent concept of God?
Joel Baden is a Professor of Hebrew Bible at Yale Divinity School. He is the author, most recently, of The Book of Exodus: A Biography (Princeton University Press, 2019). His other books include J, E, and the Redaction of the Pentateuch (Mohr Siebeck, 2009); The Composition of the Pentateuch: Renewing the Documentary Hypothesis (Yale University Press, 2012); The Promise to the Patriarchs (Oxford University Press, 2013); The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero (HarperOne, 2013); Reconceiving Infertility: Biblical Perspectives on Procreation and Childlessness (with Candida Moss; Princeton University Press, 2015); and Bible Nation: The United States of Hobby Lobby(with Candida Moss; Princeton University Press, 2017).
Sponsor: Temple Emanuel