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Tradition and Redaction in the Book of Numbers and Their Impact on the Formation Process of the Pentateuch

The biblical Book of Numbers (the so called Fourth Book of Moses) is the result of long-lasting and multifaceted redactional processes which embrace the incorporation of older narrative traditions as well as final redactional adaptations within the normative horizon of the mosaic torah. The project was committed to the examination of these redactional processes in order to generate new results for future research on the formation of the Pentateuch on the one hand and for new insights into the history of the emerging post-exilic Judaisms on the other. Therefore, the project combined research on the literary history of the Book of Numbers and questions on the social history that have determined the redactional processes. The social historical perspective of the project focuses on leadership conflicts, forms of prophecy, the evolution of the hierarchically organized priesthood, and the charismatic and democratic features of the post-exilic community.

The project is currently continued without third party funding, but an application for prolonged funding is planned.


2011 - 2012

Funded by


  • Frevel, Christian, Thomas Pola, and Aaron Schart, eds. Torah and the Book of Numbers. Forschungen zum Alten Testament, 2. Reihe, 62. Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 2013. ISBN 978-3-16-152947-4.

Project leader