[b-hebrew] 5 scrolls or 1

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Mon Aug 22 06:47:19 EDT 2005

On 21/08/2005 12:13, Read, James C wrote:

>It's just that I have often heard claimed as fact that the torah was always on one scroll (or considered
>as one book) and that the seperations are a direct result of the influence of the LXX. Yet BHS has 
>seperations in exactly the same places. ...

The divisions in BHS are based on divisions in the Leningrad Codex on 
which it was based. This codex (not a scroll but bound in book form) is 
continuous and includes the whole Tanakh, but each of the books of the 
Torah is indicated separately, with Masoretic notes between the books. 
So the division was well established by c. 1000 CE. This dating makes it 
rather unlikely that the division was borrowed from LXX and Christian 

The division into five books is also clearly a logical one according to 
the subject matter. There is a significant historical break and new 
start between Genesis and Exodus, and Deuteronomy is clearly also a new 
beginning and a different style of composition. Leviticus is a separate 
block of non-narrative material, although set within a narrative 
framework i.e. the repeated "YHWH said to Moses" etc, between the 
largely narrative texts of Exodus and Numbers. As such it seems clear to 
me that these divisions were intended by the final editor (and I don't 
intend here to rule out the possibility that this person was also the 
author) of the whole Torah. In other words, I am seeing the divisions as 
intentional markings by the editor of the whole, and not suggesting that 
these are originally separate books which have been put together.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG Anti-Virus.
Version: 7.0.338 / Virus Database: 267.10.13/78 - Release Date: 19/08/2005

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list