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Religion 111

Chapter 6 Questions

1. Choose a small section of the narrative of the plaques in Exodus 7-12, and identify the parts of the passage that you would attribute to J, E, and P. What characteristic phrases and themes of each source occur in the passage? The passage that best illustrates the account of the plagues in Egypt in Exodus 7. The J account tells of the hardening of Pharaoh's heart, of Yahweh's threat to befoul the waters of the Nile and kill the fish, and of the execution of this threat (Exod. 7:14-15a, 16-17a, 18, 21a, 23-25). The E writer added the rod of the wonder-worker and Moses' threat to strike the water and turn the Nile to blood - a threat which he fulfills (Exod. 7:15, 17b, 20b). The P author added Aaron, not Moses, is the wonder-worker, and it is Aaron who waves the rod over not only the Nile but also other rivers, canals, ponds and pools, and all waters are turned to blood, including water stored in containers. The P writer explains that this terrible plague did not change Pharaoh's mind, for Pharaoh's priests can perform the same miracle. The important change is that Aaron, the symbol of the high priesthood in Israel, acts as the priest-magician-agent of God, performing the divine will.

3. The description of the first Passover in Exodus 12 probably reflects the way the feast was celebrated during the monarchy. What earlier elements can be isolated in this chapter? How can the union of originally distinct agricultural and pastoral rituals be explained?
As earlier in the P narrative with the legislation concerning the blood prohibition (Gen. 9.4-6) and circumcision (Gen 17), the Passover is integrally related to the plot in which it is imbedded.

The Passover appear to be two distinct springtime rituals: one agricultural in origin, called the “festival of unleavened bread,” and another probably pastoral in origin, of the sacrifice of the firstborn lamb. The Festival of Unleavened Bread shows it was originally a

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