Convergence and Divergence in Pentateuchal Theory: Bridging the Academic Cultures of Israel, North America and Europe (Research Group Conference)

Sun, 12/05/2013 to Mon, 13/05/2013


Jan Christian Gertz, Heidelberg University
Bernard M. Levinson, University of Minnesota
Konrad Schmid, University of Zurich
Baruch J. Schwartz, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem


The Pentateuch lies at the heart of the Western humanities. Yet despite nearly two centuries of critical scholarship, the human origins of this monument of civilization remain shrouded in the past. Indeed, the traditional conception of a unified, self-consistent foundation narrative has long been given up. Critical scholarship has isolated multiple layers of tradition, inconsistent laws, and narratives that could only have originated from separate communities within ancient Israel, and were joined together at a relatively late stage by a process of splicing and editing.

Recent developments in academic biblical studies, however, jeopardize the revolutionary progress that has been made over the last two centuries. The so-called “Documentary Hypothesis” has dominated academic discourse on the Pentateuch since the end of the nineteenth century. More recently, however, the source-critical method has come under unprecedented attack. In fact, in many quarters it has been rejected entirely. While new perspectives are constantly being generated to replace traditional paradigms, the past forty years of scholarship have witnessed not simply a proliferation of intellectual models, but the fragmentation of discourse, especially among Israeli, European, and North American scholars.

This conference seeks to further international exchange and re-establish a shared intellectual dialogue. Presentations will be offered by a group of twenty-five international scholars, drawn from the fields of Biblical Studies, Second Temple/Dead Sea Scrolls, and Jewish Studies, with extensive time for discussion and debate.


Lecture recording (1) >

Lecture recording (2) >



Joel Baden, Yale University
Mark J. Boda, McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton
David Carr, Union Theological Seminary, New York
Cynthia Edenburg, The Open University of Israel
Jan Joosten, University of Strasbourg
Reinhard G. Kratz, University of Göttingen
Christoph Levin, University of Munich
Noam Mizrahi, Tel Aviv University
Christoph Nihan, University of Lausanne
Thomas Römer, University of Lausanne & Collège de France, Paris
Christopher Rollston, George Washington University
Dalit Rom Shiloni, Tel Aviv University
Michael Segal, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Jean Louis Ska, Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome
Jean-Pierre Sonnet, Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome
Jeffrey Stackert, University of Chicago
Jakob Wöhrle, University of Münster
David Wright, Brandeis University
Molly Zahn, University of Kansas