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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 VII – Redaction Criticism, Historical Criticism, Narrative Criticism, Discourse Criticism, Rhetorical Criticism, Literary Criticism, Canonical Criticism, Theological Criticism, and Reader [Response] Criticism 135

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Chapter VII Redaction Criticism, Historical Criticism, Narrative Criticism, Discourse Criticism, Rhetorical Criticism, Literary Criticism, Canonical Criticism, Theological Criticism, and Reader [Response] Criticism Many scholars over the past several decades have proposed other ways of understanding Exod 4:24-26. These interpretations arise from and/or are related to another set of scholarly approaches or methods: redaction criticism, historical criticism, narrative criticism, discourse criticism, rhetorical criticism, literary criticism, canonical criticism, theological criticism, and reader [response] criticism. While each of these ap- proaches is somewhat unique, all of these share certain common under- standings of the Bible, and help explain the interpretation of Exod 4:24- 26. Textual criticism and social scientific criticism play an important role in these methods as well. Three important aspects of these ap- proaches are especially significant in dealing with Exod 4:24-26. (1) Exponents of these critical methods assume and defend the view that one must attempt to interpret each passage in the larger context of which it is a part, not in isolation. (2) These advocates are concerned about the pre- sent, final form of the text, all the while acknowledging that each text probably experienced a much earlier origin and evolutionary or devel- opmental tradition. In earlier stages of each text, including Exod 4:24- 26, different tradents may have used and [re]applied that text in a certain setting or culture, but the first responsibility of the biblical researcher is to try to determine the meaning of that text in its present, final form. (3)...

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