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Title: Moses and the seventy elders : mosaic authority in Numbers 11 and the 'Legend of the Septuagint'
Author: Parker, Jonathan Deane
ISNI:       0000 0004 5362 4634
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis seeks an exegesis of Numbers 11:16-17, 24-25, the so-called “elders story,” within a larger wilderness episode involving Moses’ bitter complaint, the people’s great craving for meat, and the enigmatic Eldad and Medad. While most recent interpreters have considered the elders a curious side-show, occurring nearly inexplicably in both their narrative setting and pentateuchal position, pre-modern interpreters have often drawn more from their configuration. As the first full-length study into the elders of Numbers 11, this thesis seeks to explore what the elders contribute to their own biblical setting by tracing their impact on later generations of Jews and Christians. In particular, it explores the possible links between these seventy elders and the seventy translators of the Legend of the Septuagint in its Hellenistic versions in Letter of Aristeas, Philo, and Josephus. The first two chapters examine the recent history of interpretation of the passage and re-appraise typical interpretative stances toward both the elders’ climactic activity as “speaking in ecstasy (ויתנבאו)” and their designation as not only elders of Israel but “their officers (שטריו).” “Prophesying” and “scribes” are presented, respectively, as preferred terms, both philologically and contextually. The next two chapters critically examine the relationship between Moses and the elders of Numbers 11, vis-à-vis their symbolic presentation as “seventy (שבעים)” (or, with Eldad and Medad included, as “seventy-two”) and their potential ability to inherit, represent, and interpret Moses’ law-giving authority. In both cases, Moses’ burden and cry for his own death in Numbers 11:11-14, brings the necessity of inheritors of his authority closer to the concerns of Numbers 11 and Exodus-Joshua. The final main chapter examines the many ways the seventy elders of Numbers 11 may be understood as foundational to the framing of the Legend of the Septuagint. As those drawn closer to Moses than any other biblical persona, the seventy elders are uniquely imbued with Moses’ authority, biblically and beyond.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available