From Paradise to the Promised Land

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  • Topic: Torah, Bible, Documentary hypothesis
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  • Published : June 29, 2012
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Book Review
From Paradise to the Promised Land: An Introduction to the Main Themes of the Pentateuch. T. Desmond Alexander. Carlisle CA: Paternoster Press, 2002 - 339 pages Introduction:
From Paradise to the Promised Land, Desmond Alexander published the first edition of From Paradise to the Promised Land in 1995 and focused entirely on the contents of the five books of the Pentateuch. However, in the second edition the author added several chapters discussing contemporary studies of the Pentateuch. Alexander explains the need for the updated addition in the preface by stating, “The present volume, therefore, seeks to (a) guide the reader through the maze of modern approaches to the Pentateuch, and (b) focus on the main themes of the Pentateuch, viewed as a unified literary work…” (p. xii). The author divides the book into two distinct sections. The first section deals with the criticisms on the authorship and source of the Pentateuch, while the second part deals with the many themes of the Pentateuch.

Background:
The five books of the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) are foundational books of the canon. From our first class discussion I have learned that without at least some understanding of the teaching in these books, it is next to impossible to fully understand the remaining books of the Bible. It is in the Pentateuch that we learn of God’s creation of all that exists, the creation of man, the origin of sin, the Abrahamic covenant, the origins of Israel, the exodus, the Mosaic covenant, the law, the priesthood, the blessings and curses associated with covenant obedience and disobedience, and so much more. The remaining books of the Bible assume the reader’s knowledge of these things. The historical books, for example, tell the story of Israel in light of her obedience or disobedience to the stipulations of the Mosaic covenant. The prophetic books warn Israel that disobedience to the stipulations of the Mosaic...
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