The Exile And Return Model: A Proposal For The Original Macrostructure Of The Hebrew Canon -- By: Hendrik J. Koorevaar

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 57:3 (Sep 2014)
Article: The Exile And Return Model: A Proposal For The Original Macrostructure Of The Hebrew Canon
Author: Hendrik J. Koorevaar


The Exile And Return Model: A Proposal For The Original Macrostructure Of The Hebrew Canon

Hendrik J. Koorevaar*

* Hendrik Koorevaar is professor of OT at the Evangelische Theologische Faculteit in St. Jansbergsesteenweg 97, 3001 Leuven, Belgium. Translation from Dutch into English by Annemarie van der Westhuysen.

I. Introduction:
Definition Of The Exile And Return Model

This article deals with the structure of the Hebrew canon. In OT scholarship, the Torah Model has become highly influential. It is based on the division and order of the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. At its seams the phenomenon of the Torah is visible (Josh 1:7–8, Mal 3:22, Psalm 1).1 The present author has discussed this in a recent article, pointing out a number of this model’s weaknesses.2

I propose that we examine another order, namely the authorized order in the Talmud, B. Bat. 14b–15a. This reveals a different model: I call it the “Exile and Return Model.”

By “Exile and Return Model” we understand that structure of the canon of the OT in which the phenomenon of exile and return is present at the seams of the canon blocks. Further, the phenomenon is not only present at the seams, but even at the end of the canon, and, in essence, also at the beginning.

Because this model is based on the order of the Hebrew canon in the Talmud, we will examine the reasons for preferring this particular order. In this connection, we shall also examine the issue of the Henneateuch (Genesis-Kings) as a possible original first canon block. We will pose questions to Henneateuch as a main division that are similar to those we shall pose to the main division of the Torah Model. We will compare the ends and the beginnings of the canon blocks with each other. It will become apparent that the phenomenon of exile and return to “the Land” will emerge. We will work this out briefly from a theological point of view.

II. The Issue Of An Authoritative Order
And Division Of The Hebrew Canon

Roger Beckwith has investigated the different orders of the Hebrew canon. Three factors played a role in the final form(s), historically in this order: literary, historical, and liturgical. The list given in the Talmud tract B. Bat. conforms to the features of the oldest factor, the literary one.3

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