Exploring Exodus
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Exploring Exodus

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The book of Exodus records the pivotal events in the formation of biblical Israel--the deliverance from slavery, the leadership of Moses, the wilderness wanderings, and the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai. Bible scholar Nahum Sarna, whose widely praised Understanding Genesis has become a standard text, examines and illuminates the distinctiveness of the Exodus narrative in light of ancient Near Eastern history and contemporaneous cultures--Egyptian, Assyrian, Canaanite, and Babylonian. In a new foreword to this edition, Sarna takes up the debate over whether the exodus from Egypt really happened, clarifying the arguments on both sides and drawing us back to the uniqueness and enduring significance of biblical text.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 277 pages
  • 140 x 210 x 15mm | 287g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0805210636
  • 9780805210637
  • 190,358

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Sarna examines the distinctiveness of the Exodus narrative in light of ancient Near Eastern history and contemporaneous cultures--Egyptian, Assyrian, Canaanite, and Babylonian. In a new Foreword to the 1996 edition, Sarna takes up the debate over whether the exodus from Egypt really happened, clarifying the arguments on both sides and drawing us back to the uniqueness and enduring significance of biblical text.
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Table of contents

Foreword
xi

Preface
xix

Introduction
1
The uses of the Exodus theme; The title; The connection with Genesis; Structure and content; The historical background.

CHAPTER I
The Oppression
15
The Hyksos and their expulsion; The enslavement of the Israelites; Brickmaking; The midwives.

CHAPTER II
The Births and Youth of Moses
27
The birth of Moses; The motif of the abandoned hero; The role of women; The name "Moses"; Moses' upbringing; The Midianites; Jethro.

CHAPTER III
The Commissioning of Moses
38
The Burning Bush; The "God of the Father(s); "A land flowing with milk and honey"; The ethnic complexity; Moses' reluctance; The Divine Name; The elders; "Hebrews"; Worship the wilderness; Stripping the Egyptians; Signs and wonders; Moses' continued resistance.

CHAPTER IV
The Ten Plagues
63
The hardening of the heart; Bricks without straw; Demoralization; Signs before the pharaoh;  The plagues; The literary form; Judgments on the gods of Egypt.

CHAPTER V
The Passover and the Exodus
81
The calendar; The paschal lamb and the unleavened bread; Leaven; Bitter herbs; The blood; The death of the firstborn; "Six hundred thousand men on foot."

CHAPTER VI
From Egypt to Sinai
103
The route of the Exodus; The Yam Suf; The pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire; The miracle at the sea; Manna and quails; The battle with the Amalekites; The organization of the judiciary.

CHAPTER VII
The Ten Commandments; Moses and Monotheism
130
Preparations for the theophany; The atmospheric disturbances; The covenant concept; Near Eastern parallels; Israelite innovations; The prohibition against idolatry; The Sabbath; Moses and monotheism.

CHAPTER VIII
The Laws
158
The Book of the Covenant; The casuistic formulation; The ancient Near Eastern laws; The nature of the law collections; The nature of the Torah's collections of laws; The distinctive feature of Israelite law; Lex talonis, or "an eye for an eye"; Lex talonis in the Torah.

CHAPTER IX
The Tabernacle and the Golden Calf 
190
The plan of the Tabernacle; The furniture; The historical reality; The divine instructions and the celestial images; The Tabernacle and Sinai; The all-Israelite emphasis; Gradations of holiness; God's omnipresence; God's unity and perfection; The tablets; The Ark; The cherubim; The Tabernacle, the Sabbath, and Creation; The Golden Calf.

Notes
221

Abbreviations
245

Bibliography
247

Index
264
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Review quote

"A thorough and highly sophisticated reflection on the biblical text."
--Brevard S. Childs, Yale University "An excellent companion volume to the biblical book of Exodus itself."
--Baruch A. Levine, New York University "Sheds a brilliant light upon one of the greatest books in the possession of humankind."
--Chaim Potok, author of Wanderings
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About Nahum M. Sarna

NAHUM M. SARNA is Emeritus Professor of Biblical Studies at Brandeis University. Author of Understanding Genesis and On the Book of Psalms, he is an editor and translator of the Jewish Publication Society's translation of the Bible.
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Rating details

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