A Hypertextual Commentary

by Bartosz Adamczewski (Author) Jan Burzyński (Revision)
©2020 Monographs 268 Pages


This monograph demonstrates that the books of Exodus–Numbers, taken together, are the result of one, highly creative, hypertextual reworking of the book of Deuteronomy. This detailed reworking consists of around 1,200 strictly sequentially organized conceptual, and at times also linguistic correspondences between Exodus–Numbers and Deuteronomy. The strictly sequential, hypertextual dependence on Deuteronomy explains numerous surprising features of Exodus–Numbers. The critical analysis of Exodus–Numbers as a coherently composed hypertextual work disproves hypotheses of the existence in these writings of Priestly and non-Priestly materials or multiple literary layers.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Acknowledgments
  • Contents
  • Introduction
  • Sequential hypertextuality
  • Exodus–Numbers and Deuteronomy
  • Date of composition
  • Place of composition
  • Chapter 1. Exodus as a sequential hypertextual reworking of Deut 1:1–12:12
  • 1.1. Exod 1 (cf. Deut 1:1–39b)
  • 1.2. Exod 2 (cf. Deut 1:39c–46)
  • 1.3. Exod 3 (cf. Deut 2–3)
  • 1.4. Exod 4:1–17 (cf. Deut 4:1–18)
  • 1.5. Exod 4:18–31 (cf. Deut 4:19–35)
  • 1.6. Exod 5:1–6:1 (cf. Deut 4:36–5:3)
  • 1.7. Exod 6:2–7:13 (cf. Deut 5:4–16)
  • 1.8. Exod 7:14–11:10 (cf. Deut 5:17–31)
  • 1.9. Exod 12:1–13 (cf. Deut 5:32–6:15)
  • 1.10. Exod 12:14–28 (cf. Deut 6:16–25)
  • 1.11. Exod 12:29–51 (cf. Deut 7:1–12)
  • 1.12. Exod 13:1–16 (cf. Deut 7:13–15)
  • 1.13. Exod 13:17–14:31 (cf. Deut 7:16–21)
  • 1.14. Exod 15:1–21 (cf. Deut 7:21b–26)
  • 1.15. Exod 15:22–16:36 (cf. Deut 8:1–14)
  • 1.16. Exod 17 (cf. Deut 8:15–9:3)
  • 1.17. Exod 18–31 (cf. Deut 9:4–11)
  • 1.18. Exod 32–33 (cf. Deut 9:12–29)
  • 1.19. Exod 34 (cf. Deut 10:1–5)
  • 1.20. Exod 35 (cf. Deut 10:6–11:32)
  • 1.21. Exod 36–40 (cf. Deut 12:1–12)
  • Chapter 2. Leviticus as a sequential hypertextual reworking of Deut 12:13–17:13
  • 2.1. Lev 1–7 (cf. Deut 12:13–18b)
  • 2.2. Lev 8–9 (cf. Deut 12:18c–28)
  • 2.3. Lev 10 (cf. Deut 12:29–14:3)
  • 2.4. Lev 11 (cf. Deut 14:4–21e)
  • 2.5. Lev 12–22 (cf. Deut 14:21f–29)
  • 2.6. Lev 23:1–14 (cf. Deut 15:1–16:8)
  • 2.7. Lev 23:15–22 (cf. Deut 16:9–11)
  • 2.8. Lev 23:23–44 (cf. Deut 16:12–17a)
  • 2.9. Lev 24–25 (cf. Deut 16:17b–20)
  • 2.10. Lev 26–27 (cf. Deut 16:21–17:13)
  • Chapter 3. Numbers as a sequential hypertextual reworking of Deut 17:14–34:12
  • 3.1. Num 1–2 (cf. Deut 17:14–20)
  • 3.2. Num 3–8 (cf. Deut 18:1–7a)
  • 3.3. Num 9:1–11:3 (cf. Deut 18:7b–14)
  • 3.4. Num 11:4–12:16 (cf. Deut 18:15–22)
  • 3.5. Num 13:1–26 (cf. Deut 19)
  • 3.6. Num 13:27–14:45 (cf. Deut 20:1–17)
  • 3.7. Num 15:1–18:32b (cf. Deut 20:18–20)
  • 3.8. Num 18:32c–19:22 (cf. Deut 21:1–23:1)
  • 3.9. Num 20:1–22:1 (Deut 23:2–5b)
  • 3.10. Num 22:2–25:19 (cf. Deut 23:5c–9)
  • 3.11. Num 26 (cf. Deut 23:10–30:20)
  • 3.12. Num 27 (cf. Deut 31:1–8)
  • 3.13. Num 28–31 (cf. Deut 31:9–32:45)
  • 3.14. Num 32–33 (cf. Deut 32:46–51)
  • 3.15. Num 34–35 (cf. Deut 32:52–33:29)
  • 3.16. Num 36 (cf. Deut 34)
  • General conclusions
  • Bibliography
  • Primary sources
  • General
  • Israelite-Jewish
  • Graeco-Roman
  • Secondary literature
  • Index of ancient sources
  • Series Index

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The books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers are traditionally regarded as three separate books of the Pentateuch. However, taking into consideration the relatively weak boundaries between them, they can also be regarded as one literary work.1 The narrative unity between Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers is provided, for example, by the progressively ordered chronological remarks in Exod 19:1; 40:17; Lev 7:35–38 (cf. 1:2); 8:33–36; 9:1; Num 1:1.18; (cf. 9:1); 10:17; 33:38,2 which conceptually and linguistically correspond to the chronological remark in Deut 1:3. Therefore, these three books can be treated as one literary work. Moreover, this monograph demonstrates that the books of Exodus–Numbers, taken together, resulted from a consistent hypertextual reworking of the book of Deuteronomy. This fact additionally proves that Exodus–Numbers should be regarded as one literary work.

The style of this monograph is highly repetitive, resembling that of Num 33:5–49. This ‘minimalistic’ style of scholarly analysis directs the attention of the reader to the hitherto unknown phenomenon of over 1200 sequentially arranged, conceptual, but often also linguistic, hypertextual correspondences between Exodus–Numbers and Deuteronomy. The discovery of this phenomenon radically changes our understanding of the books of Exodus–Numbers: their origin, literary character, and theological ideas. It reveals that Exodus–Numbers as a whole, and not just some fragments thereof (the story of the moulded calf etc.), was consistently written as a hypertextual reworking of Deuteronomy.

The English translations of the Hebrew words, phrases, and sentences of Exodus–Numbers, which are used in this monograph, are often as literal as possible, even at the cost of incorrectness of the English grammar and style ←11 | 12→(‘do’ instead of ‘make’ etc.), to show the linguistic and conceptual connections between Exodus–Numbers and Deuteronomy, which are often only detectable in the original Hebrew text.

Sequential hypertextuality

The methodological approach adopted in this monograph is not based on any widely used modern exegetical method. These methods are generally based on various presuppositions, for example, that the biblical texts are similar to other ancient texts, that they have some diachrony, that they have some internal narrative coherence, that they convey some coherent ideas, etc., which are not necessarily true. The approach adopted in this monograph is therefore based on a close reading and a comparative analysis of the biblical texts as we have them, with paying particular attention to the order of their ideas and to their minor, somewhat surprising details, which are rarely scrutinized by other scholars. Thus, in a critical and verifiable way, it explains numerous data of the biblical texts which are very difficult to explain with the use of more widely known biblical methods, a feature which from a general methodological point of view constitutes its greatest advantage over them.3

For example, Reinhard G. Kratz, in a way which is typical of modern historical-critical biblical scholarship, argues that grammatical, lexical, narrative, and conceptual irregularities or peculiarities as well as literary techniques such as the Wiederaufnahme in the Pentateuch should be taken as indications that different literary layers, works of different hands, are potentially present in a given text.4 However, as has also been noted by other scholars, ‘the warrants for dividing a text into sources or layers are often arbitrary, hidden behind expressions such as “smooth” (What constitutes a smooth text?) and “awkward” (What makes it awkward?), and one person’s sign of composition history is often another person’s literary device.’5

←12 | 13→

Most modern scholars fail to take into due consideration the fact that literary irregularities or peculiarities (but rather not evident errors) as well as Wiederaufnahmen may also result from a consistent but somehow imperfect creative reworking of an earlier text in a later one, written by a single author as one literary work. Accordingly, these literary phenomena need not be explained diachronically as resulting from the activities of different hands over a long period of time. They may also be explained as resulting from a creative use of one or more earlier texts by a single author.

The main difference between the approach presented in this monograph and in traditional historical-critical analyses lies in the different perceptions of the role of ancient authors in their dealing with earlier texts. In their historical-critical approach, modern scholars often methodologically compare the Pentateuchal authors to scribes copying and reworking earlier manuscripts, so that in their opinion there is no great difference between textual formation and textual transmission.6 In the research on hypertextuality, however, the Pentateuchal authors are credited with much more freedom and creativity in their dealing with earlier literary works, and their activities are perceived as significantly differing from those of later copyists of their works. Although the biblical writers at times evidently borrowed some texts almost verbatim, they also creatively, with the use of much imagination and often purely conceptual and/or linguistic associations, reworked the contents of earlier literary works. The evidently different ways of, on the one hand, quite faithful use of Mesopotamian flood narratives and, on the other hand, very creative use of Transjordanian Balaam traditions (known to us from the Deir ‘Alla inscriptions) should warn us against a too limited view of the creative abilities and intentions of the Pentateuchal authors.

The methodological approach based on the concept of hypertextuality was already adopted and refined in my earlier monographs concerning various biblical writings. These studies revealed that the sequentially arranged, hypertextual connections between the New Testament Gospels and their hypotexts can be counted not in tens, as I had earlier thought, but in hundreds.7 The present ←13 | 14→monograph likewise presupposes and develops the results of my earlier study on Exodus–Numbers, in which I argued that there are thirty-one sequentially arranged, hypertextual connections between Exodus–Numbers and Deuteronomy.8

According to the French literary theorist Gérard Genette, hypertextuality can be defined as any relationship uniting a text B (which is in such a case called hypertext) to an earlier text A (which is called hypotext), upon which it grafts itself in a manner that is not that of commentary.9 Accordingly, a hypertextual relationship of a given text to a hypotext by definition does not consist in directly commenting on the hypotext, its ideas, literary features, phraseology, etc. Therefore, a hypertextual relationship may include some linguistic connections between the hypertext and the hypotext, but it may also be purely conceptual. For this reason, although the presence of shared language, especially unique to two given texts, is a useful preliminary indicator of some kind of literary relationship between them, the volume of shared language should not be regarded as the primary criterion for detecting literary dependence between two given texts, especially ancient Near Eastern texts.10

My analyses of the phenomenon of hypertextuality in biblical writings reveal that the most important criterion for detecting a hypertextual relationship between two given biblical writings is the criterion of the order of their hypertextual correspondences. If two given works reveal conceptual and/or linguistic correspondences which follow a sequential pattern, it is reasonable to argue that the author of one of these works in a hypertextual way reworked the other ←14 | 15→work, preserving the basic sequence of its ideas, concepts, literary motifs, etc. In such a case, the relationship between these works may be called sequential hypertextuality.

Jeffrey M. Leonard makes use of this criterion in his identification of the allusive technique called ‘narrative tracking.’11 Leonard’s criterion of detecting the mimicking of the narrative structure of an earlier text in a later text can certainly be applied to the narrative parts of Deuteronomy and Exodus–Numbers (the initial elapse of time between two Israelite generations, the Israelites becoming numerous in the exile, the proposal to deal wisely with the Israelites, commanding the Israelites, the exhortation not to be afraid of the pagan enemy, etc.). However, the phenomenon of the common order of ideas, concepts, motifs, specific vocabulary, etc. can be much broader than that of the presence of ‘narrative tracking’ because it can also be detected in non-narrative or only partly narrative texts.

In the cases in which the level of verbal agreement between the conceptually corresponding fragments of two given works is very low, and consequently the relationship between both works is truly hypertextual, the criterion of order is particularly useful. In such cases, the weakness of purely linguistic signals of literary dependence (quoted or imitated sentences, reproduced characteristic phrases, characteristic vocabulary, etc.) is recompensed by the consistency of the strictly sequential reworking of the conceptual elements (ideas, images, arguments, references to time, directions of movement in space, actions taken, features of the characters, etc.) of one work in the other one.

The criterion of the common order of the conceptually and/or linguistically corresponding elements is particularly compelling if it refers not only to larger thematic sections or pericopes, but also to individual sentences or even clauses, phrases, and words. In such cases, the argumentative force of this criterion is very high, even if the level of verbal or formal agreement between the compared texts is quite low. It should be admitted that the detection of a sequence of several similar elements, which is often used in structuralist-oriented scholarship for postulating the existence of various chiastic, concentric, and parallel patterns in biblical texts (ABCDC’B’A’ etc.), can be regarded as more or less subjective.12 ←15 | 16→However, the degree of interpretative objectivity is much higher if the detected common sequence of conceptually corresponding elements consists of tens or hundreds of sequentially arranged items.

Moreover, instead of placing great emphasis on the presence or absence of shared language in two given texts, the analysis of literary dependence, especially that of a highly creative, hypertextual kind, may be based on the criterion of noticing and explaining the presence of somewhat surprising features in the later text.13 David M. Carr points to the presence of such features in the so-called ‘blind motifs.’14

Such particular, surprising, innovative, atypical features, which go beyond evoking general associations with other texts (achieved with the use of familiar motifs, formulaic language, type-scenes, literary genres, etc.), point to literary, reinterpreting dependence upon an earlier text, and not merely oral transmission of traditional material, which could be freely used by the author in his creative literary activity.15

←16 | 17→

The not easily perceivable, rarely noticed, somewhat surprising features of a given literary work can often be explained if this work is an imperfect literary reworking of another text, in which such problems and surprising features are absent. In fact, every reworking of something else leaves some traces, and even a gifted and creative author is not always capable of eliminating all of them, especially if they are barely noticeable.16 A careful analysis of such minor, intriguing literary features, which are often neglected or only superficially explained by most commentators, may give important clues to the discovery of a hypertextual relationship of a given text to a hypotext. Moreover, it can help to ascertain the direction of literary dependence between two given writings.17

In particular, in the analysis of the phenomenon of sequential hypertextual reworking in the Hebrew Bible it is important to pay close attention to various intriguing linguistic phenomena in the Hebrew text of its writings: the use of the same Hebrew root in semantically apparently unrelated words, plays with the meaning of proper nouns, the use of ambiguous words and phrases, surprising combinations of words in phrases, linguistic differences between parallel accounts, the interpretative function of the masoretic punctuation of Hebrew homographs,18 etc.

←17 | 18→

It should also be noted that the crucial hermeneutical disposition for analysing hypertextual correspondences in the Bible consists is the use of the faculty of imagination19 in order to detect imaginative, creative, at times purely conceptual correspondences between various ideas, images, statements, and words in the biblical texts.20 In imagination, as is well known, the sky is the limit. Therefore, in this respect the methods of midrashic and allegorical interpretation used by ancient rabbis and church fathers at times better reflected the complex meaning of the biblical texts, with their metaphors, allusions, word-plays, hidden polemic, and narrative illustrations of various theological and legal ideas, than do modern, often too ‘arid’ exegetical methods, which aim at being scholarly objective, and consequently prefer the more evident, but in fact more superficial level of meaning.

Therefore, if the Bible resembles a work of art, then the exegete needs a good, gifted, but also trained ‘ear’ or ‘eye,’21 as well as broad scholarly knowledge (and not merely following a widely used interpretative procedure), to detect signals of creative, hypertextual reworking of another work in a given biblical writing.22

The problem of adequate scholarly interpretation of the Bible, including Exodus–Numbers, is additionally complicated by the question how typical the Bible is among ancient literary works. Modern biblical methodology assumes that the biblical writings generally resemble other ancient literary works of similar literary genres (literary legends, genealogies, folk tales, family sagas, historical narratives, collections of laws, etc.), and therefore it is possible to understand adequately the biblical writings by using methods developed in literary criticism to interpret literary works which belong to a given literary genre. However, my own research on the phenomenon of sequential hypertextuality in biblical writings shows that the Bible may be quite unique in its extensive, systematic, detailed use of the procedure of sequential hypertextual reworking of earlier ←18 | 19→texts. Therefore, in order to maintain the standards of interpretative objectivity, the biblical writings should be analysed against the background of other writings of the same kind, so in this case other biblical, hypertextual writings, and not merely other ancient texts of only apparently similar literary genres.

Exodus–Numbers and Deuteronomy

As is well known, there are several basic models used by modern scholars to explain the literary origin of the Pentateuch. Almost all of them postulate a diachronically complex origin of the books of the Pentateuch.23 In recent scholarship, there is a general consensus that the most plausibly identifiable type of material in the Pentateuch is the Priestly material, source, or layer.24 Among the main problems discussed today is the question of the relationship between the Priestly and the non-Priestly material, the problem of the end of the Priestly writing, and the question whether various texts regarded as non-Priestly are in fact pre-Priestly or post-Priestly.25 Therefore, the problem of the literary relationship between Exodus–Numbers and Deuteronomy is rather seldom analysed in recent scholarship.

The thesis that various parts of Exodus–Numbers are literarily dependent on Deuteronomy is not knew. In the second half of the twentieth century, it was formulated in terms of the use of Deuteronom(ist)ic ideas,26 redactional layer,27 ←19 | 20→and/or literature28 by the hypothetical Yahwist. Other scholars postulated the dependence of other parts of Exodus–Numbers, especially the so-called Holiness Code, on Deuteronomic legislation.29 However, these hypotheses did not gain universal support from the exegetes. Moreover, they did not refer to the whole work of Exodus–Numbers, especially to its numerous sections widely regarded as Priestly. Besides, they did not present any coherent view on the use of the Deuteronom(ist)ic literature by the postulated Yahwist.

A survey of modern research on the presence of Deuteronomic and Deuteronomistic elements in Genesis–Numbers has recently been done by Hans Ausloos.30 In the conclusion of his study, the Flemish scholar states, ‘Our survey of the origins, evolution and heyday of interest in passages akin to Deuteronomy in Genesis–Numbers should have made it clear that the issue is and remains one of the most important difficulties facing Pentateuch research. […] Research into the Deuteronom(ist)ic problem in Genesis–Numbers has reached something of an impasse.’31 However, Ausloos’s study is methodologically restricted to the ‘Deuteronom(ist)ic passages’ in Genesis–Numbers, that is, to the passages which exhibit a relatively high level of agreement in its form (vocabulary, style, and/or compositional features) and/or content (theological themes and concepts) with passages in the Deuteronom(ist)ic literature.32 Ausloos’s key example in this respect is Exod 23:20–33. Therefore, although his study declaratively aims ‘to provide a detailed status quaestionis concerning the relationship between the books Genesis–Numbers and the so-called Deuteronom(ist)ic literature,’33 it does not refer to the problem of the relationship between Deuteronomy and Exodus–Numbers as a whole, but only to some selected fragments of these works.

←20 | 21→

The problem is additionally complicated by the fact that numerous modern scholars divide the fragments of Exodus–Numbers into various layers, redactions, rewritings, etc., which in their opinions may predate or postdate Deuteronomy. Accordingly, in this exegetical approach a given text can be regarded as both pre-Deuteronomic and post-Deuteronomic.34 Therefore, the scholarly ideas concerning the direction of dependence between Exodus–Numbers and Deuteronomy are at times very complex.

Reinhard Achenbach argues that both the order and the contents of Deut 14 reflect the form and the contents of Lev 11. However, he performs no in-depth analysis of the direction of the dependence between these two texts.35 On the other hand, the German scholar rejects Benjamin Kilchör’s idea that Deut 15 must be literarily younger than the Holiness Code and argues that Lev 25:2–7 reinterprets Deut 15:1–11, and Lev 25:8–55 reformulates and innovates Deut 15:12–18.36

Joel S. Baden argues that the story of the judges in Exod 18 and the story of the elders in Num 11 cannot be dependent on Deut 1:9–18 because Exod 18 refers to Jethro, and Num 11 refers to the prophesying elders, elements which are contrary to the Deuteronomic idea of the uniqueness of Moses.37 Likewise, Baden argues that Exod 34:1–5 cannot be dependent on Deut 10:1–5 because Exod 34:1–5 is lacking the thrice-repeated reference to the ark, which is present in Deut 10:1–5 and which is important to D.38 However, Baden’s arguments only demonstrate that Exod 18; Num 11; and Exod 34:1–5 are not Deuteronomic. In fact, it is possible that these texts, being post-Deuteronomic, develop Deuteronomic ideas in some new directions. Therefore, Baden’s general claim that the fact of D’s dependence on its non-Priestly textual antecedents has been demonstrated both for the legal and the narrative portions of D39 is not convincing. Moreover, the American ←21 | 22→scholar admits that the narrative portions of Deuteronomy which seem to have some non-Priestly antecedents (the retelling of the Horeb narrative, the retrospective כאשר clause, and the allusions to events in the wilderness episodes) can also be understood in Deuteronomy without any recourse to the non-Priestly texts,40 a fact which further complicates his hypothesis of the dependence of Deuteronomy on its non-Priestly counterparts.

David M. Carr states that the non-P texts in Exodus and Numbers which have their Deuteronomic parallels contain harmonizing expansions of pre-D narratives with D narratives, so that in the opinion of the American scholar the relation of the texts from Exodus and Numbers with Deuteronomy is quite complex.41

Nathan MacDonald, in his analysis of the ritual of the red cow in Num 19, argues that it draws upon Deut 21 and the regulations of Lev 4–5; 11–16.42 In his opinion, the relationship between Num 20–21 and Deut 1–3 was also complex, so that the present text of Num 20–21 contains both pre- and post-Deuteronomic compositional layers.43 On the other hand, he argues that Lev 23 and Exod 34 are indebted to Deut 16.44

Alfred Marx regards the section Lev 17–27 as belonging to P and repeatedly argues that it was influenced by various texts from Deuteronomy.45

Christoph Nihan states that the laws about clean and unclean animals in Lev 11 and Deut 14 are not dependent on each other but they both originate from an earlier instruction, which was separately reworked in both texts.46 However, he also argues that the tithe law of Num 18:20–32 is a revision of the tithe laws of ←22 | 23→Deut 14:22–29; 26:12–15, and consequently it encourages some form of complementary reading between these two texts.47

Jeffrey Stackert, following the traditional source theory, argues that various texts in Deuteronomy are modelled on their Elohistic counterparts in Exod 3; 18–20; Num 11.48 On the other hand, in his opinion the text of Lev 25:2–7, which is attributed by him to H, was influenced by Deut 15.49

John S. Bergsma, in his analysis of the relationship between Lev 25 and Deut 15:1–18, states that these texts share too few low-frequency vocabulary and word sequences to justify the scholarly attempts to demonstrate a direct literary relationship between them.50 However, the American scholar’s statement, ‘Literary dependence is, after all, one text’s reuse of the language of another text’51 is not necessarily true. In fact, in the ancient procedure of creative imitation (mimesis/ imitatio/aemulatio) the later author tried to avoid slavish copying in content or style of an earlier author, and he strived to emulate the spirit rather than the letter.52

Shimon Gesundheit begins his analyses of the origin of the festival legislation in the Pentateuch with the presupposition, ‘It is clear that the conception of the unleavened bread in its literary form in the Book of the Covenant precedes the configuration of the Passover sacrifice in the Deuteronomic source.’53 Consequently, in line with this presupposition, he a priori treats texts from Exod 13; 23; 34 as Vorlagen to their counterparts in Deut 16:1–8.54 However, he also ←23 | 24→argues that ‘at least some parts of the Priestly Pesaḥ laws in Exodus 12 post-date the final text of Deut 16:1–8, and perhaps even react to some of the ideas found in it.’55 In his analysis of Num 32:1–33 and Deut 3:18–20, the Jewish scholar notes the scholarly disagreement as concerns the direction of literary dependence between these texts, but he argues that Deut 3:18–20 is dependent on Num 32:1–33 without referring to any criteria for ascertaining the direction of literary dependence.56

Sun-Jong Kim, having noted the difference in scholarly opinions concerning the relationship between Lev 25 and Deut 15, suggests that both texts developed independently of each other, more or less simultaneously, on the basis of Exod 23:10–11.57

Anja Klein, in her analysis of the Song of the Sea in Exod 15, has argued that Exod 15:14–16 is dependent on Deut 2:25; Josh 2:9.24, and not vice versa, because Exod 15:14–16 conflates the latter texts and develops their message.58

Eckart Otto argues that the post-exilic Fortschreibung of Deut 11 was dependent on Num 16, but on the other hand it did not know the post-redactional expansions in Num 16.59 In his opinion, Deut 11:6 must depend on Num 16:32 because Deut 11:6 contains the remark, ‘and their tents, and all the living beings that were on their legs, in the midst of all Israel,’ which is allegedly absent in Num 16:32.60 However, he does not take into consideration the fact that a thematically similar remark, ‘and all the men that were…, and all their goods,’ is also present in Num 16:32. Likewise, Otto argues that the Holiness Code reflects the structure of the law in Deut 12–26; 28 and it contains numerous laws which are reworked ←24 | 25→versions of their Deuteronomic counterparts.61 On the other hand, however, the German scholar argues that Deut 4; 10–11; 30–31 also contains allusions to the Holiness Code, so that there are two directions of influence between these two works.62

Aaron Schart, having analysed the spy story in Num 13–14 and Deut 1:19–46, comes to the conclusion that both texts originate from an oral version of the story, which was later reworked in several stages in both texts, but the final version of Deut 1:19–46 presupposes a version of Num 13–14.63

Ludwig Schmidt, in his analysis of the stories of Sihon and Og, argues that the texts of Num 21:21–35 and Deut 2:24–3:11* were mutually dependent on each other, but they do not originate from a common tradition.64

Angela Roskop Erisman similarly argues that the Transjordanian stories in Num 21 and Deut 2 contain odd elements which are best explained with the other episode in view, suggesting that they are interdependent and have a single implied author.65

Thomas Hieke, having noted the fact that Lev 11:1–21 is almost identical with Deut 14:3–21, suggests a literary relationship between these texts. However, in his opinion, since both texts betray particular compositional interests, they are not dependent on each other in any direction but rather originate from a common source, which was redactionally reworked in both of them independently of each other.66 This argument is evidently weak because it is difficult to find any source text (including a hypothetical common source) which would betray no particular compositional interest.

Konrad Schmid is of the opinion that Exodus must have at least partly chronologically preceded Deuteronomy because the idea of the centralization of ←25 | 26→worship is more developed in Deuteronomy than in Exodus.67 However, he does not take into due consideration the possibility that both Genesis and Exodus–Numbers function as narrative prequels to Deuteronomy, so that the development and reinterpretation of various ideas between Genesis, Exodus–Numbers, and Deuteronomy is wholly justifiable, as the German scholar himself admits.68

Simeon Chavel argues that Deuteronomy reacts to the altar law in Exod 20:22–26 and the thematically related texts Exod 19:3–6; 24:3–8.11bβ inasmuch as they deny the idea of a single ritual site or structure of divine choice and priestly control of that site or structure.69 However, he takes the dependence of Deuteronomy on Exodus for granted, without laying down any criteria for ascertaining this particular direction of literary dependence between the two works.

Georg Fischer is of the opinion that Deut 28–30 is dependent on Lev 26, and not vice versa, because one could assume an original ending with Deut 28 and because the whole section Deut 28–30, with its final positive outlook, develops the program laid down in Deut 4:26–31 under the influence of Lev 26:36–38.39–45.70 In fact, the conceptual correlation between Deut 28–30 and Deut 4:26–31, which was noted by the Austrian scholar, strengthens the hypothesis of the originality of Deut 28–30 and weakens the argument concerning its dependence on Lev 26:36–45.

Benjamin Kilchör, in his monograph on the relationship between Deut 12–26 and Exodus–Leviticus–Numbers, notes that arguments for a direction of dependence between two given texts are almost always reversible, but if a given text alternately follows two or more other texts in a ‘zigzag’ manner, then it can be argued that it is dependent on them.71 According to the Swiss scholar, this is the ←26 | 27→case of various fragments of Deut 12:2–26:15 being alternately dependent on various parts of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers.72 Kilchör’s argument is in itself certainly strong, but it should be noted that the same argument is used in the New Testament synoptic problem in the highly implausible hypothesis of Mark’s dependence on both Matthew and Luke,73 a fact which considerably diminishes its practical value in biblical studies. Moreover, Kilchör’s argument that Deut 25:5–10 is an addition and improvement to the earlier laws in Lev 27:1–11; 20:2174 does not take into consideration the law in Josh 17:3–4, with its broader issue of the division of the territory of Manasseh (Josh 17:1–6), which should be regarded as a Deuteronomistic precedent for the abstract legal regulation in Lev 27:1–11. More recently, Kilchör has stated that the Holiness Code in Leviticus influenced Deuteronomy on an early stage of the redaction of Deuteronomy,75 and that Deuteronomy postdated the Priestly source.76


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2021 (February)
Book of Exodus Book of Leviticus Book of Numbers Book of Deuteronomy Intertextuality Israel
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2020. 268 pp.

Biographical notes

Bartosz Adamczewski (Author) Jan Burzyński (Revision)

Bartosz Adamczewski is Associate Professor of biblical sciences at Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw (Poland). He has published eleven books and numerous articles on the relationships between biblical writings and also on their relationships with historical facts.


Title: Exodus–Numbers
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