Any case for Chronicles being before the Pentateuch?

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
Post Reply
rgprice
Posts: 1240
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:57 pm

Any case for Chronicles being before the Pentateuch?

Post by rgprice »

The traditional understanding is that Chronicles is a re-writing and summary of Deuteronomistic history from Genesis to Kings. Is there any reason to think that possibly Chronicles came first and that the Pentateuch is an expansion on Chronicles? Are there reasons why this would be impossible?

It strikes me that Chronicles skips a lot of the material that Gmirkin proposes is dependent on Hellenistic sources.
User avatar
neilgodfrey
Posts: 5608
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:08 pm

Re: Any case for Chronicles being before the Pentateuch?

Post by neilgodfrey »

rgprice wrote: Wed Jan 11, 2023 5:12 pm The traditional understanding is that Chronicles is a re-writing and summary of Deuteronomistic history from Genesis to Kings. Is there any reason to think that possibly Chronicles came first and that the Pentateuch is an expansion on Chronicles? Are there reasons why this would be impossible?

It strikes me that Chronicles skips a lot of the material that Gmirkin proposes is dependent on Hellenistic sources.
Chronicles downplays the Exodus although it knows of the Exodus narrative. For that reason it is fair to conclude that succeeded the Pentateuch. The Exodus is mentioned but as a chronological marker without theological significance. Even the covenant is not linked to the Exodus. The emphasis is on David (and Abraham) more than Moses. Various explanations I have come across ---

-- that the work is intended as a history of David's dynasty
-- that it is intended as an anti-Samaritan tract
-- that is comes from a context of Levites who were not deported but were said to have remained native to the land
rgprice
Posts: 1240
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:57 pm

Re: Any case for Chronicles being before the Pentateuch?

Post by rgprice »

I wouldn't say that it knows the Exodus narrative. There are a few small things that are mentioned, but of course no details. It could be that those small things, like Moses having tablets, were early parts of the myth that there then expanded upon in the Pentateuch.

However, Chron does make a lot of use of the number twelve and the twelve tribes, so yeah, it probably is derivative of the Pentateuch.

That being said, it is very interesting that it downplays Moses.

Chronicles downplays Moses, Ascension of Isaiah downplays Moses, and of course Paul disregards Moses. The Gnostics of course also take a negative view of Moses. So there certainly seems to have been a fairly deep current of opposition to the role of Moses and the law by more Jews than just Paul.
rgprice
Posts: 1240
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:57 pm

Re: Any case for Chronicles being before the Pentateuch?

Post by rgprice »

Even if Chronicles was created after the Pentateuch, the fact that it ignores essentially all of the material whose dating is most questionable seems relevant. While Chronicles acknowledged Moses it pays little attention to him, nor any attention to Genesis 1-11, other than some genealogies. Might this indicate that the writer(s) of Chronicles were putting the focus on the "actual history" of the Israelites, i.e. the stuff that was part of older traditions for which they had actual documentation outside of the Pentateuch?
Post Reply