Full Text for Reintroducing Moses: A Brief Literary Critical Study (Text)

Clul-~:ctlt Semitic scholarship js fortunate in having at its dis- l~osal an array of arcbacological. and litcr;ir!- il~at~rial. that was previouily buriecI in the sands and car.es of the Near East. Tl~cse most recent c'lisco\.eries l?romise to xexard tttc in^-estigato~: with many helpful insights int:o the 0l.d Testau~ent. One examplc might ~vhet the rcacler's :!pp"ite for some additionai, csplol-ator? reading. The 'IIittites, on ancient Sear Eastern pcople of tllc nlitl-seconct- niillenii~nl BC, 1la.i.c left us e:euterotlomy did not conle from ;\loses, br~t rather re- ceived their final form only in the ninth to sixth centuries B. C. I<. A. Kitchen, 1ect;lrer in the School of Oriental Stuclies nt Li\,erpool Cnivcrsit)~, has asked the clucstion 11 this inar?l~er: if tllcse 11-01-lcs [Exodus and Ilcuieronomy'! first took fixed literary fornl only in the ninth to sixth ccnturies .B.C. anci onrvard, ~vhy ;mi how shoulcl thcir ~vritcrs (or redactors) so easily hc ablc to rcproducc covenant--forms that had fallen orit of customary use 300 to GOO years earlier (i.e. aftcr about 1200 B.C>.), ancl entire]! fail to reflect the first- millenium coi'enant-forms that were cornn~onl!~ used in thcir own day? 'rh:is question, in contemporary ternis, is alci~z to sollieone ask- irig iis if wc were really the authors of n Shakespearian play that was mrltteii in fl nrvless, Elizabethan English. It's llard to conceive that even our most inventijre literary genius would purport to be capable of such a task. Shakespeare alone could fashion such a work. Kitchen is saying that neither should we expect such flawless reproduction froin some later redactor of the Pentateuch. How much more natural it is to vietv the material (in this case, Fxoclus and Deuteronomy), as having been written by someone in ~llilieu of thc 16th-13th cen- tr~ry 13.C.-exactly that time in which this type of literary form was being employed! Sclio!ars must now consider the possibility, even the probability that the Judaic covenant has jts origins in the Rlosaic era. lI0W