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Jewish Concepts of ScriptureA Comparative Introduction$
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Benjamin D. Sommer

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814740620

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814740620.001.0001

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The Pentateuch as Scripture and the Challenge of Biblical Criticism

The Pentateuch as Scripture and the Challenge of Biblical Criticism

Responses among Modern Jewish Thinkers and Scholars

(p.203) Chapter 12 The Pentateuch as Scripture and the Challenge of Biblical Criticism
Jewish Concepts of Scripture

Baruch J. Schwartz

NYU Press

This chapter discusses how severe challenges to traditional Judaism emerged from the so-called “Higher” Criticism of the Pentateuch. Higher Criticism proceeds from the realization that the solution to the exegetical issues that make the Torah so difficult to follow lies in determining how the text was composed. Almost every reaction to the challenges posed by Pentateuchal criticism manifests itself among Jewish scholars who have attempted to respond to it. Such a fact is enough to indicate that there is no definitive “Jewish” response to the critical study of the Pentateuch. The chapter examines some of the trends of Jewish scholarship, and indicates that Jewish criticism of the Pentateuch may be divided into two main types: that which has arisen out of religious motives and that which has been primarily academic in character.

Keywords:   Pentateuch, Higher Criticism, Torah, Jewish scholarship, Pentateuchal criticism, religious criticism, academic criticism

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