By Jeremy Hughes

This e-book is anxious basically with the chronology of the Hebrew Bible in its numerous textual varieties. The valuable thesis is that those chronologies are basically schematic and will be visible as legendary expressions of a trust that human background is ordered in line with a divine plan.

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Extra resources for Secrets of the Times: Myth and History in Biblical Chronology

Example text

It is unlikely, however, that the genealogy of Exodus 6 is a late invention; more probably it is actually rather older than P's chronology, but was discarded by the Priestly historian because it conflicted with this chronology. 14-30 may have been unaware of the discrepancy with P's chronology (or did not consider it important), but it evidently did not escape the notice of later chronologists, and in the textual traditions behind SP and LXX the problem was resolved by extending the 430 years spent in Egypt to include a previous period of 215 years in Canaan.

The absence of direct Biblical evidence specifying a period of 50 years from the first temple's destruction has already been noted. g. ) have argued that the absence of a specific Biblical reference to this 5O-year period, or to a 48o-year period from the foundation of the first temple, offers grounds for doubting the reality of the schematic pattern noted by Wellhausen. This argument is not convincing. The pattern discovered by Wellhausen is only part of a wider schematic chronology, which shows a similar parallelism of 2 x 290 years from the flood to the entry into Egypt, centring on the birth of Abraham.

20. 7 (P) Moses was 80 years old when he first confronted Pharaoh, and since this is supposed to have happened during the final year of Israel's stay in Egypt there are 350 (430 - 80) years remaining to be accounted for over three generations. If we assume that Joseph was 39 or 40 when Jacob entered Egypt (see p. ) Levi must evidently have been over 40 on that occasion, which means that 40 + years of Levi's age of begetting elapsed before the entry into Egypt. The genealogy in Exodus 6 cannot therefore be reconciled with P's chronology unless one is prepared to assume that Levi, Kohath, and Amram fathered their respective children at an average age of 130 years (3 x 130-40 = 350).

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