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Yahweh and Moses in Conflict

The Role of Exodus 4:24-26 in the Book of Exodus

Series:

John T. Willis

The interpretation of Exodus 4:24-26 is very controversial. Scholars have treated this text from various viewpoints on the basis of divergent methods or approaches. Two fundamental problems cause uncertainty about the origin and meaning of this text. One problem has to do with the nature of Exod 4:24-26. Another problem is the identity of the persons mentioned in Exod 4:24-26. This book arranges forty-two documented interpretations under each approach or approaches, presenting the view of each scholar proposing his/her interpretation of Exodus 4:24-26 in chronological order. The author presents his own view in the concluding chapter, essentially adopting a redactional, canonical, narrative, rhetorical methodology.

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Chapter I – Early Jewish Explanations 15

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Chapter I Early Jewish Explanations The Aramaic Targums of the Pentateuch may have begun as early as the 2nd century C.E., but they passed through a long period of revision, re- editing, and recension into the 9th century C.E. Tg. Onq. originated in Palestine in the 2nd century C.E., was redacted in the 4th-5th centuries C.E., and finally experienced a recension in Palestine in the 9th century C.E. Tg. Ps.-J., the most expansive of the Pentateuchal Targumim, roughly twice the length of the original Hebrew text, was redacted in the 7th-8th centuries C. E. The final form of Tg. Neof. dates from the 3rd-4th centuries C.E. Even though this targum is not as expansive as Tg. Ps.-J., it is still expansive. It uses certain standard exegetical procedures and equivalents for the original Hebrew, but it has been glossed and re- worked over a long period of time. Frg. Tg. is an incomplete Palestinian Targum in western Aramaic. It represents a broadly uniform tradition of Bible exegesis, and apparently dates between Tg. Neof. and Tg. Ps.-J. Most likely, Frg. Tg. came into being when Tg. Onq. became the ‘offi- cial’ Targum in the West and displaced the indigenous Palestinian Tar- gumim. Incomplete Targums preserved worthy elements of the complete text, one of which is Frg. Tg. Three traits distinguish rabbinic literature: law and exegesis of the Hebrew Scriptures, exclusion of all prior tradi- tion except for Scripture, and appealing to named sages called rabbis. The oral part of the commentary on...

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