The Fundamental Structure and Systematic Theology of the Torah

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The Fundamental Structure and Systematic Theology of the Torah

Post by ewhandler »

Dear friends,

Please consider the excerpts below from my paper, The Fundamental Structure and Systematic Theology of the Torah.
The full paper is located here: ... _the_Torah

The paper's implications are wide ranging for the genre, provenance and nature of the Torah (which the paper indicates is a true Pentateuch).
Comments, criticism, arguments are welcome.

When I read Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species I came across his thrilling reference to Genesis. In chapter one, titled “Variation under Domestication” under the heading “Principles of Selection Anciently Followed and Their Effects,” he makes the following remark:

"From passages in Genesis, it is clear that the colour of domestic animals was at that early period attended to."

I looked up from the book in my lap and stared off into space for a few moments enjoying the physical thrill of discovery. Then I laid my hands on the Bible next to me and paged through Genesis until I found the relevant passage in chapter thirty in the story of Jacob and Esau. The secret was in Genesis! Charles Darwin himself was pointing it out to me. Motivated by this remarkable turn of events I began to read Genesis slowly and painstakingly poring carefully over every utterance and every behavior.
[end snip]

It was upon finishing the essay on Genesis and then simply considering the analysis of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, that the Torah’s fundamental structure and systematic theology appeared to me. I had not yet connected all the puzzle pieces, but I now knew what the puzzle portrayed. I was able to recognize the fundamental structure of the Torah because I had seen it before in an abbreviated form in an earlier religious work, the Purusha Sukta (the Hymn of Man) an essential hymn of the Rig Veda.
Like Genesis, the Purusha Sukta is a creation account of primeval man. As I considered a closer reading of Moses’ establishment of a nation out of an undifferentiated population of former slaves, I recalled what Moses had accomplished and saw an analog for his accomplishments in the Vedic hymn.
Here are the lines I recalled from the Purusha Sukta as I considered Moses appointing Aaron priest and Joshua warrior:

When they dismembered Man, Into how many parts did they separate him?
What was his mouth, what his arms, What did they call his thighs and feet?
The Brahmin was his mouth; The Rajanya (Princes) became his arms.

The dismemberment of Man in the Vedic hymn describes the most basic functional classes into which nations are organized and the changes that occur as a community moves from a non-sedentary to a sedentary lifestyle.
So does the Torah.

In Genesis, the patriarchs are non-sedentary shepherds who establish a diaspora in Egypt. Abraham is an armed shepherd who speaks directly to God. He tithes to Melchizedek, the pastoral archetype, whose name is warrior/priest, a man literally “re-membered.”

In Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, Man is then dismembered as he is in the Vedic hymn. Moses appoints a priestly (Brahmin) class and a warrior (Rajanya) class before the conquest of Canaan begins and he offers his community a law written on stone tablets.
[end snip]

The fundamental Torah structure is a loop:
Non-sedentary diaspora life.. is established by entering....Egypt from Canaan
Sedentary national established by entering....Canaan from Egypt.

The loop's chiastic hinge is at Exodus 1:7-10 where the new pharaoh who does not know Joseph says to his people: "These Israelites have become too many and too strong for us."
[end snip]

Here is the link to the paper again for your convenience: ... _the_Torah

Thank you,
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