Our Virtual Bookshelf displays books written and edited by former IIAS fellows that were initiated or completed during their stay at the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies, and which acknowledge the IIAS in print. The books are the natural outcome of our visiting Research Group members’ stay at the IIAS – reading, studying, interacting with colleagues – and we are pleased to present them to you.

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The Formation of the Pentateuch: Bridging the Academic Discourses of Europe, Israel, and North America. Gertz et al co-eds.

The Formation of the Pentateuch: Bridging the Academic Discourses of Europe, Israel, and North America. Gertz et al co-eds.

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The Pentateuch lies at the heart of the Western humanities. Yet despite nearly two centuries of scholarship, its historical origins and its literary history are still a subject of intense discussion. 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 accomplished over the last two centuries. The past forty years of scholarship have witnessed not simply a proliferation of intellectual models, but the fragmentation of discourse within the three main research centers of Europe, Israel, and North America. Even when they employ the same terminology (redactor, author, source, exegesis), scholars often mean quite different things. Concepts taken for granted by one group of scholars (such as the existence of the Elohist source) are dismissed out of hand by other scholarly communities.
In effect, independent and sometimes competing scholarly discourses have emerged in Europe, Israel, and North America. Each centers on the Pentateuch, each operates with its own set of working assumptions, and each is confident of its own claims. This volume seeks to stimulate international discussion about the Pentateuch in order to help the discipline move toward a set of shared assumptions and a common discourse. With the wide range of perspectives examined, this publication is an invaluable resource for subsequent research.

See also: Humanities, 2016