Mirages in the desert : the tradition-historical developments of the story of Massah-Meribah.


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The story of Massah-Meribah – in which Moses strikes a rock in the wilderness and water flows out for the Israelites to drink – is a prevalent and pluriform tradition within Hebrew Bible. This dissertation traces the development of this tradition through time, particularly as it is represented within the Pentateuch. Part One argues that the distribution of the six reminiscences of this tradition within Deuteronomy provides a means whereby to reconstruct the major stages of this tradition’s development through time. Part Two of this study corroborates this tradition-history in the texts related to the Massah-Meribah tradition within Exodus and Numbers. Specifically, this study argues that the literary growth and development of the two Massah-Meribah narratives in Exod 17:1-7 and Num 20:1-13 progresses according to the same stage-by-stage development detected in Deuteronomy. These findings have broad implications, not only for the history of the Massah-Meribah tradition, but also for the formative stages of the Pentateuch.



Massah, Meribah, Formation of the Pentateuch, Tradition history, Redaction criticism, Wilderness narrative