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The place of numbers 13-14(star) and numbers 20:2-12(star) in the priestly narrative (Pg)

Boorer, S. (2012) The place of numbers 13-14(star) and numbers 20:2-12(star) in the priestly narrative (Pg). Journal of Biblical Literature, 131 (1). pp. 45-63.


Among scholars who adhere to an originally independent or once separate Priestly narrative (Pg) there is an emerging debate as to whether Numbers 13-14* and 20:2-12* (1) are to be included in Pg. Traditionally these texts have been incorporated as part of pg. (2) Recently, however, this has been questioned, with several scholars advocating that Pg concludes in the Sinai material, either in Exodus (3) or in Leviticus. (4) Moreover, this latter position, which excludes Num 13-14*; 20:2-12* from Pg is interrelated with the view that the establishment of the sanctuary and/or its cult within the Sinai material is the climax of Pg, where Pg's overall purpose is to be found, and therefore forms its conclusion. (5) This is an understandable development since there is a tendency among those scholars who incorporate Num 13-14*; 20:2-12* into Pg but see the primary concern of Pg to reside in the setting up of the cultic community at Sinai to have little success in accounting adequately for Num 13-14*; 20:2-12* within the theological horizon of Pg as a whole. (6)

In this article, therefore, I will address the issue of whether Num 13-14* and 20:2-12* are to be seen as part of Pg. I will seek to show that these texts form an integral part of Pg. This will be argued primarily on the grounds of the correspondences and interplay of motifs and themes between these texts and Pg texts preceding them; and, since conceptions regarding which texts belong to Pg are intimately connected with the attempt to make sense of Pg as a whole, I will argue that these texts interact with preceding Pg texts in such a way that they can be seen to play an integral role within Pg's theological horizon.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Publisher: Society of Biblical Literature
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