Berossus and Genesis, Manetho and Exodus:
Hellenistic Histories and the Date of the Pentateuch
(New York-London: T&T Clark, 2006)
Berossus and Genesis, Manetho and Exodus argues that the Hebrew Pentateuch was composed in its entirety about 273-272 BCE by Jewish scholars at Alexandria that later traditions credited with the Septuagint translation of the Pentateuch into Greek. The primary evidence is literary dependence of Gen. 1-11 on Berossus' Babyloniaca (278 BCE) and of the Exodus story on Manetho's Aegyptiaca (c. 285-280 BCE), and the geo-political data contained in the Table of Nations. A number of indications point to a provenance of Alexandria, Egypt for at least some portions of the Pentateuch. That the Pentateuch, drawing on literary sources found at the Great Library of Alexandria, was composed at almost the same date as the Septuagint translation, provides compelling evidence for some level of communication and collaboration between the authors of the Pentateuch and the Septuagint scholars at Alexandria's Museum.
This widely reviewed book is found in over 1000 libraries worldwide (193 hardback, 836 electronic edition) and was included in the 10-volume Pentateuch History and Origins Collection from Logos Bible Software advertized as “contain[ing] the most important recent literature on the Pentateuch.” (https://www.logos.com/product/5404/pentateuch-history-and-origins-collection).
Plato and the Creation of the Hebrew Bible
(London-New York: Routledge, 2017)
This book compares the ancient law collections of the Ancient Near East, the Greeks and the Pentateuch to determine the legal antecedents for the biblical laws. A striking number of legal parallels are found to be with Athenian laws, and specifically with those found in Plato's Laws of ca. 350 BCE. Constitutional features in biblical law similarly mostly agree with Athens and with Plato's Laws. Greek parallels are also noted for specific law collections, such as Ten Commandments and the Deuteronomic law code. The synthesis of narrative and legal content is also shown to be compatible with Greek literature. Finally, this book argues that the creation of the Hebrew Bible itself took place according to the program for creating a national ethical literature found in Plato's Laws, reinforcing the importance of this specific text to the authors of the Torah and Hebrew Bible in the early Hellenistic Era.
“The War Scroll and Roman Weaponry Reconsidered,” Dead Sea Discoveries 3 (1996): 89-129.
This article did a side-by-side comparison of the weaponry, tactics and military formations found in the War Scroll from Qumran (1QM) and those of the Roman legions before and after the reforms of Marius in 104-103 BC, showing that the War Scroll reflects Roman military practices of the second century BC, not the first century bc as argued by Yigael Yadin in his critical edition of the text. Thirty years after its publication, it is still the second most requested article from Dead Sea Discoveries on JSTOR.
“Historical Allusions in the War Scroll,” Dead Sea Discoveries 5 (1998): 172-214.
This article argues that the older portions of the War Scroll (1QM 10-19) date from the early, guerrilla phase of the Maccabean War in 166-164 BC and that the later columns (1QM 1-9) comprise the official war manual of the Maccabean army in its professional phase after the restoration of the temple in Dec., 164 BC. , not the first century BC as argued by Yigael Yadin in his critical edition of the text. Thirty years after its publication, it is still the second most requested article from Dead Sea Discoveries on JSTOR.
A discussion of the above two articles comprised a full third of the book Jean Danielou, The War Texts: 1QM and Related Manuscripts (Companion to the Qumran Scrolls 6; London-New York: T&T Clark, 2004).
“The War Scroll, the Hasidim, and the Maccabean Conflict,” in Lawrence Schiffman et al (eds.), The Dead Sea Scrolls Fifty Years After their Discovery: Proceedings of the Jerusalem Congress, July 20-25, 1997 (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 2000).
This article contains my presentation at the prestigious six-day conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls held at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem in 1997, at which I was an invited speaker.
"Tools Slippage and the Tel Dan Inscription," Scandanavian Journal of the Old Testament 16 (2002): 293-302.
This article called into question the authenticity of the Tel Dan Inscription based on my inspection of the inscription on display at the Israel Museum in 1997. There are three types of pehonemna on the edges of the pieces of this inscription that may indicate it was inscribed after it was broken into several pieces. (1) Some inscribed lines of letters that reach the edge appear to continue onto the broken surface. (2) Other inscribed cuts that reach an edge that has a sharp angle appear to break through as the line approaches the thin edge. (3) Some letters that approach the edge stop short. The Tel Dan Inscription has never undergone the close scientific examination my article called for, leaving its authenticity in doubt.
“Greek Evidence for the Hebrew Bible,” in Thomas L. Thompson and Philippe Wajdenbaum (eds.), The Bible and Hellenism: Greek Influence on Jewish and Early Christian Literature (Durham, UK: Acumen Publishing, 2014), 56-60.
This article discusses the various theories scholars have proposed to explain the apparent parallels between Greek literature and the Hebrew Bible. It was once believed that Moses must have influenced Plato and other Greek writers, based on a belief in the great antiquity of the biblical writings. Scholars have recently come to realize that the Hebrew Bible might be far younger than previously assumed, opening the possibility that Greek writings influenced the biblical text. This article affirms that the first evidence for the Hebrew Bible is the Greek Septuagint translation of 270 BC and surveys evidence that points to the use of Greek sources from the Great Library of Alexandria in the Old Testament as late as 270 BC.
“Greek Genres in the Hebrew Bible,” in Ingrid Hjelm and Thomas L. Thompson (eds.), Biblical Interpretation Beyond Historicity (Changing Perspectives in Old Testament Studies 7; London: Routledge, 2016).
My presentation as an invited speaker at a conference hosted by the University of Copenhagen in 2013. surveyed Greek and Hellenistic literary genres that are easily detected in biblical writings and are without Ancient Near Eastern parallel. These include genres of narrative writing (apologetic historiography, foundation stories), legal writing (constitutions, combined civil and sacred law collections, collections of ethical commandments, hortatory legal introductions and laws with motive clauses in Plato’s Laws), prophetic writing (oracles against the nations), plays (Job) and erotic poetry (Song of Songs).