Mark Leuchter, «Eisodus as Exodus: The Song of the Sea (Exod 15) Reconsidered.», Vol. 92 (2011) 321-346
This study continues a line of inquiry from the author’s previous essay regarding the 12th century BCE battle traditions embedded in the Song of Deborah (Judg 5) as the basis for a nascent Exodus ideology surfacing in the Song of the Sea (Exod 15). Exod 15 is identified as developing an agrarian ideal into a basis for national identity: Israel’s successful struggles against competing Canaanite military forces echoing earlier Egyptian imperial hegemony is liturgized into a myth where YHWH defeats the Egyptian foe and then settles his own sacred agrarian estate.
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324 MARK LEUCHTER
of its textualization. This requires re-examining the issue of scrib-
alism in early Israel and the upper limit for determining when tex-
tualization would have been possible.
I. Scribes and literacy in pre-exilic Israel: how early?
In 1991, D.W. Jamieson-Drake published an important study of
socio-economic factors in ancient Israel indicating that the Judahite
state could only have emerged in the late 8th century BCE 13. For
Jamieson-Drake, a scribal class could therefore only have emerged at
this time as well, for scribalism was contingent upon the existence of
a state with a centralized power structure and system of administra-
tive hierarchy. Many scholars have followed Jamieson-Drakeâ€™s lead
in seeing the composition of biblical literature as taking place only
within the context of a stratified, urban-based state system 14. For
some, this begins in the late 8th century BCE 15, while others view the
majority of biblical literature as originating in the Persian period 16.
Certainly, Jerusalem was at that time entrenched within a well organ-
ized administrative system that could support textual production, fur-
nishing a social environment where such texts would more likely
arise. And even as some circles during the Persian period attempted
to reconnect with pre-exilic memories and institutions, the influence
of imperial culture left an indelible impression upon how those mem-
ories and institutions were eventually represented in textual form 17.
Thus the arguments for the origination of many biblical compositions
D.W. JAMIESON-DRAKE, Scribes and Schools in Monarchic Judah. A
Socio-Archaeological Approach (JSOTS 109; Sheffield 1991).
See, for example, P.R. DAVIES, Scribes and Schools. The Canonization
of the Hebrew Scriptures (Louisville 1998) 60-61; K. VAN DER TOORN,
Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible (Cambridge, MA 2007),
though VAN DER TOORN does not discount certain important literary an-
tecedents from the late pre-exilic period around which the Persian period
scribes developed more extensive material.
N.A. SILBERMAN â€“ I. FINKELSTEIN, â€œTemple and Dynasty: Hezekiah,
the Remaking of Judah, and the Rise of the Pan-Israelite Ideologyâ€, JSOT 30
DAVIES, Scribes and Schools, 65-71, especially p. 69.
P.R. BEDFORD, Temple Restoration in Early Achaemenid Judah (JSJS
65; Leiden 2001) 260-264, points to efforts to establish some continuity with
the monarchic past in the early Persian period, especially in light of the or-
acles of Haggai and Zechariah. Yet it is clear from the chronological frame-