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Documental Origin of the Old Testament

Han, Dong-Gu 1

1평택대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study is to explore the documental origin of the ‘Word of God.’ Even though the topic of this study has been considered as an issue concluded in the Old Testament study, it was raised anew due to the new information providing that most of the Old Testament scriptures were only established since the exilic period. Regarding the documental origin of the ‘Word of God,’ this study discusses that the Old Testament accepted a certain part of the traditions of the Near East and Canaan in accordance with the traditional trends. Then it explores the documental origin from a fundamentally different tradition, that is, a prophetic tradition. Jeremiah’s prophecies had a mainly negative tone, stating “one shall serve the Babylonians.” Therefore, he faced a great amount of political opposition, and there arose the debate of ‘True or False Prophecy’ in the process (cf. Jer 27-28). Such a debate of ‘True or False Prophecy’ also lasted in the exilic period. On the other hand, because the prophecy of Jeremiah was proven true by the historical events in the exilic period, the criterion of the true prophecy was established as a historical fulfillment of prophecy (Deut 18:9-22; Jer 28:8-9). The criterion required a certain time of waiting until the words of the prophet would be fulfilled, and also documental records as evidence for future reference (cf. Jer 29:4-7; 32:1-15). These processes gave birth to the course of the documental establishment of God’s revelations. The course of documental establishment of God’s revelations proceeded in quite diverse ways. One of them was the re-surfaced necessity to record the revelations of God, as the wait for salvation from God should always be fulfilled historically. This religious movement finally resulted in a ‘recording culture’ which documents the revelations of God (cf. Hab 2:2, Isa 30:8). This recording culture, along with the theology(s) facilitating the documentation of God’s Word, has actively expanded the Old Testament, and, as a result, it finally formed today’s Old Testament. In order to clarify the process of the documental formation of the Old Testament further, we need to study the contents of the theology continually, which facilitated the documentation of the Word of God that developed in a diverse fashion in the Pentateuch, historical books, and prophetic books.

Citation status

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