272 BCE – A Terminus a Quo

  272 BCE is the first an until now only indisputable terminus a quo for the emergence of Old Testament literature. In 272 the Greek general Pyrrhus was killed during a street battle in the city of Argos, when a woman threw a tile from the roof of a house and hid Pyrrhus immobilizing him. Pyrrhus was eliminated by a bystander. Pyrrhus’ fate was undoubtedly the inspiration for the story in Judg 9, followed by the sacrifice of Jiphta’s daughter, so often likened to the fate of Agamemnon’s daughter Iphigenia, and the story of Samson, very easily identified as Heracles.

Chapter from If I Forget You, Jerusalem! Studies on the Old Testament ( Equinox Publishing (May 15, 2024).

By Niels Lemche
University of Copenhagen
April 2024

Everybody knows what a pyrrhic victory is, but nobody knows Pyrrhus. Pyrrhus, king of Epirus (319–272 bce), was a famous Greek general belonging to the generation after Alexander the Great, who was later mostly remembered for the costly victories over the Romans in 280 and 279 bce. He evidently was a highly regarded general in antiquity, who almost sixty years before Hannibal brought the war to the gates of Rome. He lost his life in street fighting in Argos in 272 bce.

The main source regarding his life we are in possession of today is his biography in Plutarch’s Parallel Lives, opposing the highly regarded Roman general Marius. However, Plutarch (46–119 ce) did have older sources. Besides, Pyrrhus is well attested from coins carrying his portrait.

Today Pyrrhus is forgotten, or so it seems. In antiquity he never was, as Livy informs us in a famous anecdote about a meeting between Hannibal and Scipio Africanus some years after the Battle of Zama. Scipio asks Hannibal about the greatest generals. Hannibal’s answer: first Alexander, then Pyrrhus, and finally myself. Scipio then asks Hannibal: What if you beat me? and Hannibal answers: Then I am the greatest![1]

Of course this is a typical tale as they loved to narrate them in classical sources, but it was told again and again, by Plutarch,[2] and by Appian (95–165 ce).[3]

However, why should Pyrrhus be of interest in a biblical context? Maybe we shall better understand the reason when we read the report of his death in Plutarch’s Life of Pyrrhus:

The Death of Pyrrhus According to Plutarch’s Parallel Lives (34:1–6)

But Pyrrhus, seeing the stormy sea that surged about him, took off the coronal with which his helmet was distinguished, and gave it to one of his companions; then, relying on his horse, he plunged in among the enemy who were pursuing him.

   Here he was wounded by a spear which pierced his breastplate – not a mortal, nor even a severe wound – and turned upon the man who had struck him, who was an Argive, not of illustrious birth, but the son of a poor old woman. His mother, like the rest of the women, was at this moment watching the battle from the house-top, and when she saw that her son was engaged in conflict with Pyrrhus, she was filled with distress in view of the danger to him, and lifting up a tile with both her hands threw it at Pyrrhus. It fell upon his head below his helmet and crushed the vertebrae at the base of his neck, so that his sight was blurred and his hands dropped the reins. Then he sank down from his horse and fell near the tomb of Licymnius, unrecognised by most who saw him. But a certain Zopyrus, who was serving under Antigonus, and two or three others, ran up to him, saw who he was, and dragged him into a door-way just as he was beginning to recover from the blow. And when Zopyrus drew an Illyrian short-sword with which to cut off his head, Pyrrhus gave him a terrible look, so that Zopyrus was frightened; his hands trembled, and yet he essayed the deed; but being full of alarm and confusion his blow did not fall true, but along the mouth and chin, so that it was only slowly and with difficulty that he severed the head.

   Presently what had happened was known to many, and Alcyoneus, running to the spot, asked for the head as if he would see whose it was. But when he had got it he rode away to his father, and cast it down before him as he sat among his friends. Antigonus, however, when he saw and recognised the head, drove his son away, smiting him with his staff and calling him impious and barbarous; then, covering his face with his cloak he burst into tears, calling to mind

   Antigonus his grandfather and Demetrius his father, who were examples in his own family of a reversal of fortune. The head and body of Pyrrhus, then, Antigonus caused to be adorned for burial and burned; and when Alcyoneus found Helenus in an abject state and wearing a paltry cloak, and spoke to him kindly and brought him into the presence of his father, Antigonus was pleased with his conduct, and said: “This is better, my son, than what thou didst before; but not even now hast thou done well in allowing this clothing to remain, which is a disgrace the rather to us who are held to be the victors.” Then, after showing kindness to Helenus and adorning his person, he sent him back to Epeirus, and he dealt mildly with the friends of Pyrrhus when he became master of their camp and of their whole force.

(Plutarch. Delphi Complete Works of Plutarch (Illustrated) (Delphi Ancient Classics Book 13. Kindle Edition)'

As we know from the Book of Judges 9:50–55, Pyrrhus was evidently not the only general who lost his life under such circumstances. In Judges, the unlucky hero is Abimelech:

Then went Abimelech to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it. But there was a strong tower within the city, and thither fled all the men and women, and all they of the city, and shut it to them, and gat them up to the top of the tower. And Abimelech came unto the tower, and fought against it, and went hard unto the door of the tower to burn it with fire. And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech's head, and all to brake his skull. Then he called hastily unto the young man his armourbearer, and said unto him, Draw thy sword, and slay me, that men say not of me, A woman slew him. And his young man thrust him through, and he died. And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed every man unto his place.

Evidently it is the same narrative, with several deviations as far as the details are concerned. But is it also the same act? If we assume that the biblical account of Abimelech’s death has been inspired by the story of Pyrrhus’ death, we have the first absolute terminus a quo for the composition of at least the literature to which the Book of Judges belongs, i.e. 272 bce. However, before we jump to that conclusion we have to discuss whether there is any escape from such a conclusion. After all, street fighting was a common part of ancient warfare, and Pyrrhus and Abimelech were most likely not the only warriors to die in this way.

Standing alone, there is perhaps no special reason to argue that the story of Abimelech’s death echoes the death of Pyrrhus. Two warriors killed in the same fashion would not be a problem. However, the story of Abimelech does not stand alone. After Abimelech follows Jephtah with the story in Judges 11 about Jephtah’s daughter whom Jephtah is forced to sacrifice because of a vow he had made to Yahweh.

Now, it is common among commentators to look for similarity between this legend and the Greek legend of Agamemnon who had to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia at Aulis to soothe the goddess Artemis whom he had offended. Otherwise, the goddess would have prevented him from sailing to Troy with the Greek army. The similarity is bvious insofar as it is about the sacrifice of a young woman.[4] However, the motif of the sacrifice of the girl is very different from the biblical one. A much closer parallel is the Greek story preserved by Apollodoros (c. 180–120 bce)[5] of the son of the king of Crete Idomeneus who had vowed to sacrifice the first living being he would encounter if Poseidon allowed him to return from Troy to his homeland. This first living being happened to be his son.[6]

Again, taken in isolation there might be no literary or even traditional connection between the stories of the sacrifices of, respectively, Jephtah’s daughter, and Iphigenia the daughter of King Agamemnon, and certainly both a historical one if someone will insist on the historicity of either event. Abimelech’s death and Iphigeneia’s sacrifice – if they stood isolated – would only provide a possibility, but not a fact. However, since these stories appear almost side by side in the Book of Judges, we can safely exclude the possibility that it is only due to coincidence that they appear together. As Lady Bracknell expresses it in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest:

“To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.”

To claim that either case is a coincidence is out of the question because they both point in the same direction, depending on loans from the Greek world. We might go even further and say that the whole character of Abimelech is modelled on Pyrrhus, who began his military career at a very early age, and continued fighting until his death. The girl Iphigenia is of course a mythological figure; a spin off from the arsenal of tales about the war against Troy and an example of how literature was created and elaborated founded on the basis of the central story of the war against Troy.

However, if readers are still not satisfied then we move on to the next section of the Book of Judges: The stories about the superhero Samson. Again, we are dealing with a mythological figure and do not need to worry about historical details because there are none. Samson’s first proof of his strength is his bravery when he tears a lion apart with his own hands (Judges 14:5–6). However, in spite of his bravery and strength, he ends up being the victim of a treacherous woman when Delilah delivers him powerless to the Philistines. Samson ends his life with an act of bravado when he kills himself smashing the temple of Dagon in Gaza and crushing all the Philistines inside the temple (Judges 16:25–30).

Again, the similarity of the figure of Samson to the Greek superhero Heracles is so obvious that few will doubt a relation between them, which includes as its major elements the tearing of the lion and the contribution of a woman to the downfall of the hero.

All of this indicates that in the Book of Judges – probably in its entirety – we are safely within the sphere of Greek tradition. The biblical stories represent rewritten Greek tradition and the narrators have felt absolutely free to present their versions in a form that suited the authors’ purposes. But there can be no doubt about the origin of these stories.

Since one of these parallel figures is a historical person, Abimelech alias Pyrrhus, we have a terminus a quo for the composition of probably not only the Book of Judges but of the composition of so-called historical literature in the Old Testament. Philippe Wajdenbaum’s project is thus vindicated.[7] The biblical historical literature does not go back to some unknown past. It belongs to the third and maybe even the second centuries bce.

Russell Gmirkin has, in his works on the Hellenistic tradition in the Bible, argued in favor of a terminus a quo for the composition of the Pentateuch around or even shortly before 270 bce.[8] He is right. The terminus ante quem will be later than 270 bce and, as I argued back in my article from 1993 on the Old Testament as a Hellenistic Book, the terminus ad quem is the appearance of most biblical books in some form or the other among the Dead Sea scrolls.[9] In the case of Exodus, the tragedy by Ezekiel the Tragedian from c. 200 may serve as an earlier terminus ante quem.[10]

The year 272 BCE will place the emergence of the historical literature in the Old Testament within exactly the same period, and serves as another argument in favor of an original Enneateuch, including all the books from Genesis to Second Kings as one continuous work.[11]

In this way, if we look at these termini we still have about 150 years to play with. It should be enough of a span of time to produce the literature of the rather limited in size Old Testament’s historical books.


Kratz, R,G, 2000. Die Komposition der erzählende Bücher des Alten Testaments: Grundwissen der Bibelkritik. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

Gmirkin, R.E. 2006. Berossus and Genesis, Manetho and Exodus: Hellenistic Histories and the Date of the Pentateuch. Copenhagen International Series, 15. Library of the Hebrew Bible Old Testament Studies, 433. New York and London: t & t clark.

----------- 2017. Plato and the Creation of the Hebrew Bible. Copenhagen International Seminar. London: Routledge.

----------- 2022. Plato’s Timaeus and the Biblical Creation Accounts: Cosmic Monotheism and Terrestrial Polytheism in the Primordial History. Copenhagen International Seminar. London: Routledge

Lemche, Niels Peter, 1993a. ‘The Old Testament-A Hellenistic Book? Scandi­navian Journal of the Old Testament 7, pp. 163-93.

Wajdenbaum, P. 2011. Argonauts of the Desert: Structural Analysis of the Hebrew Bible. Copenhagen International Seminar: London: Equinox.



[1] Livy Ab Urbe Condita XXXV 14. The conversation between Scipio and Hannibal is said to have taken place in Ephesus in 197 bce.

[2] In his Parallel Lives: Flaminius 21 1.

[3] Syriaca 1.4.

[4] The motif of child sacrifice goes further back. In later Greek tradition (at least in Euripides Iphigenia in Aulis, c. 408 bce) Iphigenia was spared by Artemis and installed as ruler at Tauris (Crimea), a version which has been related by Euripides in his tragedy Iphigenia in Tauris (c. 412 bce). If we look for a similar motif in biblical literature, two further examples come into focus, Abraham’s sacrifice of his son Isaac, an act thwarted by God, and the note about King Mesha who sacrifices his son of the wall of his city in the eyes of the Israelites.

[5] Apollodoros’ works are only preserved in fragments in the writings of other authors.

[6] In the opera by Mozart, Idomeneo re di Creta (1781) the son has a name: Idamante.

[7] Wajdenbaum 2011.

[8] Cf. Gmirkin 2006: 240–256. The argument is extended in Gmirkin 2017: 250–299, and followed up in the third part of his trilogy Gmirkin 2022. Gmirkin mostly speaks about the Pentateuch and especially the primary history and the law collections.

[9] Lemche 1993a.

[10] Only fragments have survived, in Eusebius Praeparatio Evangelica.

[11] And hereby this author signs up with scholars supporting Kratz 2000, arguing for the existence of an Enneateuch. The future study of the process that led to biblical literature will have to use 272 bce as its starting point.

Article Comments

Submitted by Aaron on Mon, 04/29/2024 - 16:22


Why wouldn't the traditions go the other way? Near Eastern mythological tropes informing the formation of Greek mythology? There are already volumes on the influence of Gilgamesh on Achilles, and the Greeks themselves acknowledge Aphrodite and Athena inheriting elements from Syria and the Baal cycle. Why would this be the exception and suddenly see the influences going the opposite direction?

Because you really have to invent a "Hellenistic" period in the Middle East long tiime before it was there. In the Hellenistic and later Hellenistic-Roman period, you had everything going, with Alexandria and its "university" as the centre. I am speaking about the Museion, and the library that was part of that institution.

And if you want to know a little more about this literature was circulated to ordinary people, read the three articles by Lisa Marie Haasbroek in SJOT 2022, and 2024 (just out). And think for a moment what you find in practical all vcities of this time: The theatre (personally I have visited at least fifty to sixty of these). The great advantage was that these stories became known to everybody and was not limited to the literate part of the population.

You simply have no Sitz im Leben for the kind of literature you find in the Bible before the Greeks arrived.

Submitted by Stephen Goranson on Tue, 04/30/2024 - 05:17


Russell E. Gmirkin wrote that the five books of the Torah were "composed in their entirely about 273-272 BCE" in Alexandria. (Berossus and Genesis..., 2006, p. 1).
Some Qumran Pentateuch copies (not autographs but copies of earlier manuscripts) have been estimated to be nearly that old, and paleographer Michael Langlois has proposed that some paleo-Hebrew Torah copies from Qumran are even earlier than previously assumed.
Also, the wall inscription at Deir 'Alla in Jordan and the silver amulets from Ketef Hinnom, Jerusalem, may suggest that at least portions of Torah text were written before 272 bce.

The amulets from around 600 BCE are ritual formujlars. It is imposisble to date them more precisely, but of course they tell us that such fragments may go back to early times. But you don't date a text according to the oldest elements but according to the youngest.

If you want to find a muchg more intriguing example, the look for Isa 27:1 and compare it with KTU 1.5:1.1--2. Virtual the same text although divided by perhaps a thousand years. And for this see my "Is the Old Testament Still a Hellenistic Book?" In Ingrid Hjelm and Thomas L. Thompson, Biblical Interpretation Beyond Historicity. Changing Perspectives, 7 (Copenhagen International Seminar, London: Routledge, 2016), pp. 61-75.

Submitted by Niels Peter Lemche on Tue, 04/30/2024 - 05:58


Answer to Prof. James Davila
“Nope, not buying it!
With this Prof. James Davila opens a discussion on his blog PaleoJudaica about 272 BCE.

During the forty years I taught at the universities of Copenhagen, Aarhus, Hamburg and elsewhere, I always warned my students: You are not part of the argument! So, when professor Davila opens with “No, not buying it!” he is obviously not following the rules of an academic debate, putting himself in front of his argument.
He mentions the weakness of all of my examples, the death of Pyrrhus, the sacrifice of Iphigenia, and Samson. And taken in isolation it can be argued that the biblical version of these tales are not verbatim renderings of the Greek stories, and because they are not, we can safely disregard the references to them in the Book of Judges.
OK, this is a very amateurish way of handling literature, not understanding the freedom of authors to manipulate specific themes. It is part of the pedantic mind of scholars who want the equation between, say the story of Jiphtah’s daughter and Iphigenia in Greco-Roman tradition to be so precise that even the scholar can see the connection. Literature does not work in this way but used allegories, metaphors, hints of all kind, and manipulation of the theme.
As I stressed, I am not the first to see the similarity between the story of Jiphtah’s daughter and the classical legend of the sacrifice of Iphigenia. It is also true that the reasons for the sacrifice are different. Jiphtah wants to go home and Agamemnon wants to go to war. This is a detail. The plot is about moving in and moving out, in traditional understanding a very dangerous change of status as symbolized by the mezuzah in Jewish homes.
In Greek tradition the more precise parallel would be Idomeneus’ sacrifice of his son when he safely returns to Crete after the Trojan war. The reason is the same as in the story of Jiphta’s daughter but somehow antique tradition – including the biblical version – submitted to the sentimental feelings for the young innocent girl who has to die. The sentimentality of the scene is stressed by the ambiguous state of this sacrifice in Greek and Roman tradition, as is evident in Euripides’s play Iphigenia at Aulis: Is Iphigenia really killed? The end of the play leaves this an open question. However, the play is from 405 BCE, one of Euripides’ last plays. He wrote another one, Iphigenia in Tauris, to which place Iphigenia was transported by Artemis before being killed. In her place, a stag was sacrificed (do we recognize this theme? The sacrifice of Isaac). His second play is, however, older than Iphigenia at Aulis, written in 414 BCE. Evidently Euripides knew all about the ambiguity of the story and played with it. The same ambiguity is evident in other representations from antiquity, e.g. in the famous painting from Pompeii of the sacrifice of Iphigenia where the main scene is occupied by the sacrifice, whereas Iphigenia is shown riding a stag in the sky supported by Artemis (Diana). (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fourth_Style_fresco_depicting_t…)
It is obvious that James Davila do not understand the implications of the way of handling literary motives. The story of Jiphtah’s daughter is just one example of the manipulation of a literary motive beloved by ancient authors – and may we assume, their audience.
Of course the same line of argumentation could be followed when it comes to the two other parts of my argument. There is no reason to discuss it in more details here. However, when I wrote the little piece about 272 BCE, I forgot the fourth case in the Book of Judges, the very last chapter about the seduction of the young girls at Shilo. This story is another example, in fact a Hebrew version of the rape of the Sabinian women from Roman tradition.
Finally, I would like James Davila to (re-)read Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. It is not only one parallel that proves the case; it is exactly the accumulation of parallels which does.

Dear Professor Davila, That is how it should be. As I have often said: We should not disagree to such an extent thar we couldn't share a beer afterwards.
Or better, we live by disagreements. Nothing worse than having no to disagree with.

Submitted by Stephen Goranson on Wed, 05/01/2024 - 07:13


It is also the case that "The Hands that Wrote the Bible" project, using C14, and paleography (and AI?) has, so far, preliminarily indicated that some Qumran mss are older than had previously been estimated.
That, plus the variants in the mss taking time to develop suggest that announcing a 272 terminus is premature.

As I answered Jim Davila, an archaeological finding is dated after the youngest item found embedded in it, not by the oldest. Saying 272 BCE thus does not mean that every sentence is written after 272 BCE. However, Pyrrhus dates the "edifice" when seen in connection with the several other things that combine to present this Hellenistic date.

This is plain historiological methodology. It may be too harsh on much speculation among biblical scholars. Furthermore the arguments based on palaeography going back to Cross and his people has a long time ago been demonstrated to be shaky -- at least. And the idea that it would take perhaps considerable time to develop the variant manuscript tradition is very dubious as well. How long tiime? 100 years? 10 years? or a week? What do we really know about text production in those days? Did they work with only one basic document which was c opied, or did they get involved in mass production of manuscripts. Was it a secret text which they produced or something intended for a wider circulation?

But all of this is immaterial if you take the argument seriously: Three text elements (really four) point in the same direction, and one of them can be dated by a very precise terminus a quo. Get around that equation, and you may have an argument. Otherwise it is all embedded in speculation -- as usual.

Submitted by Niels Peter Lemche on Thu, 05/02/2024 - 11:14


Addendum: I had a look at the project (https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/640497), with its base in Holland. It is a ERC project paid for by the European Union. It opened in 2015, but if I read their home page correctly, it was finished at the end of 2022. Safe to say that AI was involved.

Their home page, however, says nothing about dating, so Dr. Goranson must have such information from other sources. Would he please, elucidate us. It seems mostly about identifying the hands who wrote the manuscripts from the

Submitted by Stephen Goranson on Thu, 05/02/2024 - 12:52


If one allows that variant texts existed both before and also after 272, then what is the point and motivation of insisting on 272 as if some imagined and asserted completion?

Yes of course, but as long as you don't provide evidence of such early dates, your argument is not worth anything. So far I haven't seen or heard anything that is different from what was brought forward against especially Philip Dabies -- thirty years ago, I believe.

So please provide a piece of a scroll of, say the deuteronomistic history that can safely be from before 272 BCE.

You next "reply" is more an insult than an answer to anything.

Submitted by Stephen Goranson on Fri, 05/03/2024 - 06:47


Prof. Lemche, you may call your essay an "equation," though I regard it as speculation.
I await further C!4 date ranges.

Submitted by Niels Peter Lemche on Sat, 05/04/2024 - 12:49


Jep, everything is quite late, but there are enough of links and cross-links from antiquity. Otherwise you couldn't trust the stories that Alexander transgressed the sea to Asia Minor and won at Ipsos ir any other place.

Addendum: There are several references to Pyrrhus' death in classical literature, including Livy, Strabon, Valerius Maximus, Oausanias, Aelian, Justinus, Aurelius Victor, Orosius, Johannes Malalas, Cassius Dios.

They do not agree on everything, bur are more or less of the opinion that his death was shameful.

The conclusion: The death of Pyrrhus was a well-know incident in ancient times.

Submitted by Russell Gmirkin on Mon, 05/06/2024 - 11:03


In Berossus and Genesis I argued that literary dependence of the Pentateuch on various Hellenistic sources pointed to a date of composition in 273-272 BCE. Your argument regarding Pyrrhus represents yet another independent line of evidence pointing to the same conclusion.

Greek literary influences are present throughout the Primary History (Genesis-Kings). Greek literary influences on the book of Judges in specific have been studied (and in my opinion convincingly established) by a number of scholars (Spronk 2015; Römer 2015; Louden 2019).

You should feel complimented that James Davila actually read your article. He posted brief reviews of two of my books on Paleojudaica without having read either of them, pointing to the lack of Greek loan words as sufficient reason to dismiss a Hellenistic dating of the Pentateuch. He is evidently unaware that the Qumran Hebrew of the second and first centuries BCE displays a similar absence of Greek loan words (Qimron 1986: 117), since the same logic would seemingly date the Dead Sea Scrolls to pre-Hellenistic times.

Louden, Bruce. Greek Myth and the Bible. London: Routledge, 2019.
Qimron, Elisha. The Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1986.
Römer, Thomas. “The Hebrew Bible and Greek Philosophy and Mythology – Some Case Studies.” Semitica 57 (2015): 185-193.
Spronk, Klaas. “Comparing the Book of Judges to Greek Literature,” in Open-mindedness in the Bible and Beyond: A Volume of Studies in Honour of Bob Becking. M.C.A. Korpel and Lester L. Grabbe (eds.), 261-27. LHB/OTS 616. London, Bloomsbury, 2015.

I still consider 272 as a starting point, the terminus a quo. But it would make sense to place biblical historiography in this context, which will of course also tell us that it was not so very extraordinary, as it was also the time of Berossos on one side and Manetho on the other.

The impact of Greek culture in those days was enormous. Just think of what happened to Rome ... the old saying about Graecia capta ferocem victorem cepit. The empire of empires succumbed (or its eliote) to the vanguished Greeks. Maybe we here have something to follow up in a period when we are forgetting our Greek roots. The place of Plato and Aristitle in the Parnass must be remembered, as in the School in Athens (Rafaello's painting), and it is a treachery if our young people have not read at least Plato in school.

I agree in principle with 272 BCE as a terminus a quo (perhaps down a year from my 273 BCE). The terminus ad quem is the LXX translation, which I take as having taken place in 273-269 BCE, per arguments at Gmirkin 2006: 81-88. But if one took the LXX translation of the Pentateuch as having taken place later, then I agree this would most certainly affect the possible date range of composition.

Submitted by Stephen Goranson on Tue, 05/07/2024 - 11:48


In the original post, Prof. Lemche wrote:
"...if we look at these termini we still have about 150 years to play with."
If this means 272 minus "about 150 years" (i.e., about 122),
that does not seem to be a credible proposal.

Submitted by Richard Faussette on Tue, 05/07/2024 - 14:53


"Greek literary influences are present throughout the Primary History (Genesis-Kings). Greek literary influences on the book of Judges in specific have been studied (and in my opinion convincingly established) by a number of scholars (Spronk 2015; Römer 2015; Louden 2019). "

Hi Professor Lemche,

I've come across something in the Torah that is still unaccounted for by academia though you posted it for me on ANE-2 years ago without much comment. My paper:

The Fundamental Structure and Systematic Theology of the Torah

describes the Vedic template that underlies the structure of the Torah. The dismemberment of the Purusha in the Hymn of Man describes the process of non-sedentary Vedic tribes settling down in northwestern India. Michael Witzel writes that the Hymn of Man was updated as the Vedic tribes were re-organized into the 4 varna: brahman, warrior (rajanya) were the original 2 varna in the hymn, and he writes the other two varna were added during the process of the Vedic tribes settling down and establishing the Kuru kingdom (the first Indian state or nation) and updating the Vedas during a Re-Sanskritization of their ancient documents.

It is the identical process in the Torah. A character named Melchizedek in pastoral Genesis is dis-membered into a priestly class (Aaron) and a warrior class (Joshua) as the narrative moves from pastoral Genesis to national Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

In addition, Melchizedek's compound name in Genesis represents the memorization and internalization of the written law, which is the pastoral theology in both the Hymn of Man and in Genesis with implications for the New Testament and its Letter to the Hebrews which posits Jesus as being of the Order of Melchizedek.

My question is: why is the Torah's foundation based on a Vedic template which would suggest a Persian provenance for the Torah? Who in Alexandria would be likely to inject a Persian provenance into the Torah?

This warrior priest theology is the foundation of the theology of diaspora in the Torah. It appears more responsive to an analysis using Georges Dumezil's tripartition than any Canaanite or Semitic theology. Dumezil used his tripartition to analyze Indo-European myth, not Semitic. Why is this Vedic structure the foundation and structure of the Torah?
I want to bring it to your attention because it is easily discerned in the structure of the text of the Torah.

The Torah structure is a LOOP (ring or wheel structure)
Nonsedentary diaspora 'life is established by entering' Egypt from Canaan.
Sedentary national 'life is established by entering' Canaan from Egypt.

========= The LOOP reverses direction at Exodus 1:7-10 where the pharaoh is alarmed by the "numbers and strength" of the Israelites who will now suffer a reversal of fortune that leads back to Canaan. Takeaway? The Torah is a TRUE Pentateuch containing two establishment structures.

I'm bringing it up because the Vedic structure is easily seen and will have to be accounted for sooner or later so the Persian provenance can be ruled out.

Thank you,
Rich Faussette

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