The Book of Numbers in the Context of Second Temple Literature

Programme

The research unit aims at re-evaluating the relation between the book of Numbers and other Second Temple literature. Based on the current consensus, which considers Numbers the latest book of the Pentateuch, it will be asked how some of its characteristic notions – the high priest, feasts and rituals, temple economy – relate to contemporary or even later biblical and extrabiblical literature from Persian and Hellenistic times (e.g., Prophetic and Chronistic literature, Pseudepigrapha, the Elephantine correspondence, evidence from ancient Mesopotamia, Flavius Josephus). Provided that the biblical texts are to be read as “construed history,” the respective aspects will be analyzed with regard to their literary scope and their theological reflection on the one hand and their historical, socio-political background(s) or context(s) on the other. By doing so, the research unit aims at enlarging the understanding of the book of Numbers, interconnecting Pentateuchal scholarship with research on Prophetic and Chronistic literature and contextualizing the biblical notions in their broader historical context in order to enhance the understanding of the Second Temple period as a whole.

Keywords:

Numbers, Second Temple Literature, High Priesthood, Feasts and Rituals, Temple Economy

Chairs

Katharina Pyschny 

Humboldt-University of Berlin

Sarah Schulz
Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg


Member Area

Toulouse 2022 Call for Papers

At its first meeting in Toulouse the research unit “The Book of Numbers in the Context of Second Temple Literature” will focus on the idea of a high priestly office in biblical and extrabiblical texts of the Second Temple literature. The main question will be: How does Numbers’ notion of a high priest in Num 17*; 35 relate to other biblical texts like Haggai and Sech 1-8; Ezra 1-6; Gen 14; Ps 110; 1 Macc 14; Sir 50 on the one hand and extra-biblical evidence like Jubilees, Flavius Josephus or ancient Mesopotamian sources, etc. on the other. A session of invited speakers will be complimented by an open session. Papers in English dealing with one of the above mentioned aspects are cordially invited.