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Ancient Israel in SinaiThe Evidence for the Authenticity of the Wilderness Traditions$
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James K. Hoffmeier

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195155464

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2005

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/0195155467.001.000

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 The Sinai Legislation

 The Sinai Legislation

(p.177) 8 The Sinai Legislation
Ancient Israel in Sinai

James K. Hoffmeier (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

One of the enduring images in the Torah’s is that of Moses the recipient of divine laws at Mt. Sinai. Early 19th-century scholarship rejected this scenario. One reason was the belief that writing was not sufficiently developed. In recent decades the history of the Canaanite/Hebrew linear alphabet or Proto-Sinaitic script has been clarified and is known to have originated centuries before the time of Moses. In the 1950s, George Mendenhall noticed that there were similarities in the form of ancient Hittite treaties of the 2nd millennium B.C. and the Sinai legislation of Exodus 20ff. It is shown that the six-part 2nd millennium B.C. treaties are structurally closer to the Exodus 20ff and the book of Deuteronomy than the simple four-point outline of Assyrian and Aramean treaty formula of the 1st millennium that some scholars have suggested are analogous to the structure of the Torah’s law codes.

Keywords:   alphabet, George Mendenhall, Hittite treaties, Moses, Proto-Sinaitic, Sinai legislation

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