Bible, Jews, Christians, God, covenantal texts
The devastating late-nineteenth-century attack on traditional assumptions concerning the preexilic dating of the Pentateuch may have provoked the eventual explosion of twentieth-century scholarly investigation of the covenant culture of the Old Testament. Covenantal texts related to Abraham, Moses, David, and others had long been assumed to be foundational for the religion of ancient Israel, however limited modern understanding of that covenant culture might have been. But the new scholarly paradigm that dated those texts to 621 BC or later gave rise to a wave of skeptical scholarship about the whole tradition of divine covenants as the basis for ancient Israelite religion. The covenant tradition was being recast as a late invention built into texts as a way of rationalizing seventh- and sixth-century political and religious realities. And without a historical basis for the covenants of Abraham and his descendants, Israel would have no claim to a special status among the nations, and its God would have no claims to superiority over the gods of other cultures. To say that believing Jews and Christians felt threatened would be a huge understatement.
Reynolds, Noel B.
"Biblical hesed and Nephite Covenant Culture,"
BYU Studies Quarterly: Vol. 60:
4, Article 11.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/byusq/vol60/iss4/11