Scholars attribute Genesis 1:1–2:4a to one source (the Priestly source) and Genesis 2:4b–4:26 to another (the Jahwist source).


YHWH, known as the tetragrammaton, is the personal name of God. Its original pronunciation is not known with certainty, but many scholars pronounce it Yahweh. The combination “YHWH Elohim” occurs as often in the Garden of Eden story in Genesis 2–3 as it does in the rest of the Hebrew Bible.


The J(ahwist) and E(lohist) sources were so named because in the narratives in Genesis attributed to them God is called Yahweh and Elohim respectively. The D(euteronomist) gets its name from the Book of Deuteronomy—though portions of the books of Joshua through Kings are also attributed to this source. The P(riestly) source is named for the interest it has in matters of concern to priests.


For passages associating Sabbath observance with exile, see Genesis 2:1–3; Isaiah 56:1–9; Jeremiah 17:19–27 and Nehemiah 13:16–22.



Some modern Orthodox Jewish authorities are trying belatedly to come to grips with the conclusions of “source criticism.” They admit to apparent inconsistencies and stylistic differences, but they attribute them to different aspects of God. See, for example, Mordechai Breuer, “Studying the Plain Meaning of the Bible—Dangers and Opportunities” (in Hebrew), in The Bible and Us, ed. Uriel Simon (Tel Aviv: Devir, 1979), pp. 153–171.


See Menahem Haran, “Priesthood, Temple, Divine Service: Some Observations on Institutions and Practices of Worship,” Hebrew Annual Review 7 (1983), pp. 121–135.


For the connections between these two pericopes, see Victor Hurowitz, I Have Built You an Exalted House: Temple Building in the Bible in Light of Mesopotamian and Northwest Semitic Writings, JSOT Supplement Monograph Series 5 (Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Academic Press, 1992), pp. 235–242.


See Meir Paran, Forms of the Priestly Style in the Pentateuch: Patterns, Linguistic Usages, Syntactic Structures (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1989; in Hebrew), and my review of this book in Hebrew Studies 32 (1991), pp. 156–162.


See Haran, Temples and Temple Service in Ancient Israel: An Inquiry into the Character of Cult Phenomena and the Historical Setting of the Priestly School (Oxford: Clarendon, 1978).


See Yehezkiel Kaufmann, The Religion of Israel from Its Beginnings to the Babylonian Exile, translated and abridged by Moshe Greenberg (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago, 1960), pp. 303–304.


The Tabernacle is conveniently described and sketched in most Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias. See also Victor Hurowitz, “The Form and Fate of the Priestly Tabernacle: Reflections on a Recent Proposal,” Jewish Quarterly Review (forthcoming).


The kavod, translated here as “substance” and by Moshe Greenberg as “majesty,” is a luminous manifestation by which God descends to earth and is made visible. The kavod resides in the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle and the Jerusalem Temple. It is the precursor of the shekhinah, or Divine Presence, of later Jewish sources, but is not entirely identical in conception. On this phenomenon and its ancient Near Eastern parallels see Moshe Weinfeld, Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic School (Oxford: Clarendon, 1972), pp. 201–205.


Several prominent Israeli scholars, such as Umberto Cassuto, Moshe Hirsch Segal and Ephraim Loewenstamm, have rejected source criticism in principle and therefore do not recognize a Priestly source. Shemaryahu Talmon, who denied the existence of multiple sources when I studied with him two decades ago, has shown in some recent writings that he now accepts this approach.


See Gerhard von Rad, Die Priesterschrift im Hexateuch, Beitrage zur Wissenschaft vom Alten und Neuen Testament 4 (Stuttgart and Berlin: Verlag W. Kohlhammer, 1934). For a “maximalist” division of P into smaller sources see Karl Elliger, Leviticus, Handbuch zum Alten Testament 4 (Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr [Paul Siebeck], 1966); Elliger distinguishes two levels in the Priestly Grundschrift, four levels in the Holiness Code and two levels in the sacrificial laws.


See Israel Knohl, The Sanctuary of Silence: A Study of the Priestly Strata in the Pentateuch (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1992; in Hebrew); Jacob Milgrom, Leviticus 1–16: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, The Anchor Bible (New York: Doubleday, 1991); and my review-article, “Ancient Israelite Cult in History, Tradition, and Interpretation,” AJS Review 19 (1994), pp. 213–236.


See Haran, Temples and Temple Service, pp. 189–204.


See Hurowitz, “Solomon’s Golden Vessels (I Kings 7:48–50) and the Cult of the First Temple,” in Pomegranates and Golden Bells: Studies in Biblical, Jewish, and Near Eastern Ritual, Law and Literature in Honor of Jacob Milgrom, ed. by David P. Wright, David N. Freedman and Avi Hurvitz (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1995), pp. 151–164.


See Julius Wellhausen, Prolegomena to the History of Ancient Israel (New York: Meridian Books, 1957).


For a recent critique of Wellhausen, see Moshe Weinfeld, “Social and Cultic Institutions in the Priestly Source Against Their Ancient Near Eastern Background,” in Proceedings of the Eighth World Congress of Jewish Studies: Panel Sessions, Bible Studies and Hebrew Language (Jerusalem: World Union of Jewish Studies, 1983), pp. 95–129.


But compare Leviticus 17, which seems to indicate that sacrifice must be limited to the central sanctuary. However, this passage is to be attributed to H rather than P. See Milgrom, Leviticus 1–16, pp. 28–29, for a discussion of this problem.


For the relationship between these two cultic calendars, see Israel Knohl, “The Priestly Torah Versus the Holiness School: Sabbath and the Festivals,” Hebrew Union College Annual 58 (1987), pp. 65–117.


Kaufmann, History of the Religion of Israel, pp. 153–211.


Haran, Temples and Temple Service, especially pp. 132–148.


See Haran, Temples and Temple Service, especially pp. 276–288.


Weinfeld, Deuteronomy 1:11: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, The Anchor Bible 5 (New York: Doubleday, 1991), pp. 25–37; “God the Creator in Genesis 1 and Deutero-Isaiah,” Tarbiz 37 (1967–1968; in Hebrew), pp. 105–132; Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic School, pp. 191–243; and “Deuteronomy’s Theological Revolution,” BR, February 1996.


See Weinfeld, “Social and Cultic Institutions in the Priestly Source Against Their Ancient Near Eastern Background.” Weinfeld also proposes that Second Isaiah, a book of the Persian period, polemicizes against certain features of the Priestly source, meaning that P must have come earlier. He has also pointed to many cultic practices from other ancient Near Eastern cultures that resemble elements of P.


See Avi Hurvitz, A Linguistic Study of the Relationship Between the Priestly Source and the Book of Ezekiel: A New Approach to an Old Problem, Cahiers de la Revue Biblique 20 (Paris: J. Gabalda, 1982); and “The Language of the Priestly Source and Its Historical Setting—The Case for an Early Date,” in Proceedings of the Eighth World Congress of Jewish Studies: Panel Sessions, Bible Studies and Hebrew Language, pp. 83–94.


The late Meir Paran tried to show that certain words and phrases used in Chronicles, P and pre-exilic literature appear in P with their pre-exilic meaning rather than with the meaning found in Chronicles; see Paran, Forms of the Priestly Style in the Pentateuch, pp. 273–298.


Baruch Levine proposes that these terms entered Hebrew through Aramaic. See Levine, “Research in the Priestly Source: The Linguistic Factor,” Eretz-Israel 16 (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1982; in Hebrew), pp. 124–131; and “Late Language in the Priestly Source: Some Literary and Historical Observations,” in Proceedings of the Eighth World Congress of Jewish Studies: Panel Sessions, Bible Studies and Hebrew Language, pp. 69–82.

Nonetheless, it is demonstrable that Aramaic elements entered Hebrew even before the Exile. Aramaic was the lingua franca of the Near East not only under the Achaedmenid Persians but at the time of the Assyrian Empire as well. (Second Kings 18:26, for instance, testifies to the use of Aramaic by court officials when conducting international affairs.) The word kones (gatherer), generally considered an Aramaicism and a litmus test for dating the use of Aramaic, has been discovered in an inscription found in Jerusalem and dating to the eve of the Babylonian destruction (this fragmentary text will be published by Joseph Naveh in a forthcoming volume of Qedem; see, for now, Daniel Weintraub, Grammatical Aspects of Hebrew Inscriptions from the First Temple Period [Jerusalem: Hebrew University, 1994; M.A. thesis, p. 13]). Even though kones does not appear in P, the existence of pre-exilic Aramaicisms in Hebrew raises the likelihood that other Aramaicisms too may be pre-exilic (see Victor Hurowitz, “Three Biblical Expressions for Being Merciful in Light of Akkadian and Aramaic,” in Texts, Temples, Traditions: A Tribute to Menahem Haran, ed. Michael Fox et al. (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1996), pp. 1–10.


See Kenneth A. Kitchen, “The Tabernacle—A Bronze Age Artifact,” Eretz-Israel 24 (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1993), pp. 119*–129*.