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The History of the Pentateuch

SNF Sinergia Project

Logos of the Universities of Tel Aviv, Lausanne and Zurich, and the SNF

The History of the Pentateuch: Combining Literary and Archaeological Approaches

The Pentateuch is one of the most important and most intensively researched bodies of literature in the Western world, and its impact on history, literature, art, philosophy, culture, and religion is tremendous. Critical analysis of the Pentateuch arose in the 17th century and has made significant progress to the present day. However, all the manuscripts we have postdate the composition of the Pentateuch by several centuries, and the earliest evidence at our disposal occurs in the Dead Sea Scrolls. This situation presents a considerable challenge for reconstructing the history of the Pentateuch, largely obscuring the time, place, and authorship of its various texts.

This project strives to develop new methodological approaches to this problem by combining literary and archaeological / historical approaches. It brings together the expertise of scholars in the fields of Pentateuchal studies, archaeology, history, and historical geography, comprising three subprojects.