Julia Rhyder deposited “Unity and Hierarchy: North and South in the Priestly Traditions.” Pages 109–34 in Yahwistic Diversity and the Hebrew Bible. Edited by B. Hensel, D. Nocquet and B. Adamczewski. FAT 2/120. Tübingen. Mohr Siebeck, 2020. in the group Ancient Jew Review on Humanities Commons 10 months ago
This essay examines select Priestly texts that describe the roles of leaders from the northern and southern tribes in the wilderness cult: the texts of Exod 25–31, 35–40 that concern the sanctuary artisans Bezalel (from the tribe of Judah) and Oholiab (from the tribe of Dan), chosen to lead the construction of the wilderness shrine; the description in Num 1–10 of the positions assumed by the tribes and their leaders in the wilderness camp; and the reference to the Judean chief Nahshon in the genealogy of Phinehas preserved in Exod 6:13–27. On the basis of this analysis, the essay argues that the Priestly materials preserve subtle evidence of “Judean bias” in the description of the foundational cult, in which southern leaders are subtly affirmed and the north given a secondary role. This finding presents a challenge to recent studies which have argued that Samarian and Judean priestly scribes played equal roles in the shaping of the Priestly materials, or that northern scribes were principally responsible for their composition. It rather suggests a reduced influence of cultic leaders from Gerizim on the formation of the Priestly materials when compared to scribes from Judah, even in very late stages of their development. The essay concludes by considering the significance of this finding for reconstructing the possible scribal interventions by both Samarian and Jerusalem authorities in different pentateuchal traditions, and for interpreting the Pentateuch as the common scriptures of diverse groups of Yhwh-worshippers in the Persian period.