The Book of Numbers in the Context of Second Temple Literature


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.


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

Current Term:



Katharina Pyschny 

University of Graz

Sarah Schulz
Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg

Member Area

Sofia 2024 Call for Papers

This unit is not meeting in 2024.