Introduction to analyses
of the original rite of the Passover
in the light of the literary scheme of the Book of Exodus 1–18.

PhD dissertation: Introduction (pp. 7-52)

Wojciech Kosek

This paper is the translation of the Introduction of the doctoral dissertation:

Wojciech Kosek, Pierwotny ryt Paschy w świetle schematu literackiego Księgi Wyjścia 1-18,

Kraków 2008, p. 7-52.

This paper was published on 14 September 2019,
i.e., on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross,
here and on Academia.edu website.

DOI of the version of the paper on Academia.edu:
10.5281/zenodo.3407881

Abstract

The present paper aims to show, on the one hand, the general characteristic of the Feast of Passover and its rite, and their connections with the Old Testament. On the other hand, the purpose is to show the value of obedience to methodological rules which Magisterium of the Church gives as being essential to read the truth revealed by God as Author of Holy Scriptures. Finally, one will compare the method of research in this dissertation with previous methods used by biblical scholars to find an answer to some important question. One will point out simultaneously the right method to prove the primary thesis of the dissertation.

Table of content:

  1. The general characteristic of Passover and its rite in light of the Old Testament.
  2. Israel’s tradition about the Passover rite.
  3. The Book of Exodus about the Passover rite.
  4. The methods of reading and analyzing the Holy Scriptures.
  5. The primary thesis of this work.
  6. The primary research method on the background of previous methods.

1. The general characteristic of Passover and its rite in light of the Old Testament.

The Passover of Israel is celebrated every year as a home ritual feast in honor of God, starting after sunset on the first full moon after the spring solstice, that is, when the day becomes longer than the night. The date of the celebration is not accidental: in light of the Book of Exodus, that very night, by killing the firstborns of Egypt, God intervened in favor of his people, and then led Israel out of captivity into freedom, into the Promised Land.

God commanded the Israelites through Moses to celebrate it in honor of Him, as their Redeemer, each year on the night following the end of the 14th day [1] of the lunar month Abib, that is, the month of first ears – first spring crops [2]. God wanted “that night, strictly that one, to be for the Lord, the vigil for all the sons of Israel, for their generations”:

הוּא־הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה לַיהוָה שִׁמֻּרִים לְכָל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לְדֹרֹתָם (Ex 12:42).

An attentive reader of the Holy Bible notes, however, the puzzling disproportion in biblical accounts between such precise definition of day and month of the date of departure from Egypt and omission of the year of the event [3].

This disproportion [4], however, is fundamental to understanding God’s Word; it points to the fundamental message of the Bible: it is not its purpose to report all the details of the events of human history, but, above all, to indicate that God saves in and through this history [5]. It is particularly evident in Exodus 1-18: there is here as though a record of steps of God, who – by ruling over nature and human history – leads His people towards freedom. God intervenes really in the history of humankind – it is a fundamental conviction of a believer in Israel [6]!

Many of God’s saving acts for Israel are made present through the cult performed by the Chosen People, both every day and especially on solemn holidays [7]. The Passover of Israel is the greatest of these celebrations. It is an annual feast celebrated in honor of God who saved His people during the first spring full moon centuries ago. God led them out of Egyptian captivity, made them His people, significantly different from all other peoples of the Earth [8]. The Passover commemorates in a cultic way this significant God’s saving intervention. The memory of that act is also present in the Holy Scriptures – not only as a statement of historical fact but also as ‘archetype thinking’ [9] of Israelites about their history. This history is this one in which God is truly present and active.

The very name of this holiday – פֶּסַח (cf. Ex 12:11) – is challenging for an etymological explanation [10]. It seems that originally the פסח core meant ‘limp,’ which in worship could have a meaning ‘jump,’ ‘bounce,’ ‘dance’ (to express religious worship – cf. 1Kings 18:21) [11]. On this basis, for the theological interpretation of the rite in Israel, scientists point to the meaning: “jump” / “skate above,” “spare” (Ex 12:13.23.27; Isa 31:5) [12]. There are attempts to explain this term unambiguously as ‘providing care’ – God protects His people while punishing Egypt. As a grounds for this solution, there is indicated the parallelism in Isa 31:5, where the verb פסח corresponds to the verb גנן – to provide care [13].

However, the analyzes that will be carried out in this work will show in a new light the need to understand this term as ‘passage.’ Passover is not only a holiday commemorating the passage of the Lord over the houses of Israel. It also commemorates the Lord’s passage through Egypt’s center on the night of punishing [14] and the passage of the Lord and His people through the Sea of Reeds [15]. Fathers of Church have already noticed it [16].

Celebration of the paschal ceremony by each Israelite in the company of the immediate family at home is governed by regulations, the faithful fulfillment of which should be guarded by everyone and above all the cult assembly leader. Does the Old Testament contain them?

The Old Testament in the Book of Exodus [17] not only communicates God’s order to celebrate Passover, but also its date, the requirement of circumcision of all men participating in it, the need to eat a lamb, baked whole, without breaking its legs, the need to eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs; father’s duty to tell his son how great things the Lord did for His people in Egypt; the prohibition against taking up work on that day.

The Bible also allows us to correctly – according to God’s plan – read the significance of the annual celebration: Passover is not only a reminiscence of the distant past but making present [18] what God has done for His people in Egypt; it is “God’s saving action.”  [19] This specificity of the Passover is reflected in the Hebrew term: זִכָּרֹן – memorial (Ex 12:14) [20].

Jewish tradition substantiates ‘making present’ by comparing [21] the words of Moses from Ex 13:8 and Deut 6:23:

Ex 13:8: On this day you shall explain to your son, ‘This is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’

In Deut 6:20-25, Moses addresses the Israelites who due to their age were not the direct witnesses of the Egyptian plagues and the release of their fathers from slavery (for at the time of exodus they either were young children or were not yet conceived – cf. Num 32: 11-13) and commands them according to Ex 13:8 to story to their sons: “We were once slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with his strong hand and wrought before our eyes signs and wonders, great and dire, against Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole house. He brought us from there to lead us into the land he promised on oath to our fathers, and to give it to us” (Deut 6:21-23).

Therefore each Israelite is to be aware of participating – thanks to liturgy – in historically one-off exit from Egypt [22]!

The Old Testament allows us to know the meaning of Passover and its rules. However, does it let us know all of them?

Among the many precepts and prohibitions, nowhere in the Old Testament have words been written informing about the order according to which God requires to perform particular liturgical parts – those which in our time one knows as making up the whole rite of the Passover. How is it possible?

The twelfth chapter of the Book of Exodus, in its lexical layer [23], gives first of all the provisions which God uttered concerning the special supper which all the Israelites ate on the night before their liberation from Egyptian slavery. That supper was not a liturgy that made past events present. Reversely, that supper was the event which would be made present by the liturgy in the future. It was one of the main events in the history of liberation that would be made present in the years to come by the celebration of the Passover liturgy.

Deuteronomy, while presenting the time immediately preceding Israel’s entry into the Promised Land, focuses in turn only on the change in relation to the requirements of the Egyptian Passover: from now on, the paschal lamb will have to be killed in a particular place chosen by God (cf. Deut 16:1-8). This order was to centralize worship in the temple in Jerusalem.

The Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, as interpreted by some biblical scholars, gives a new dimension to the ritual of killing the lamb-Passover – the atonement for the sins of Israel; they point out that this expiatory dimension was not present in Egypt [24]. However, the research of the Book of Ezekiel conducted by W. Chrostowski [25] seems to indicate the need to verify this position – Israel was unfaithful to God from the beginning, because it practiced idolatry there and did not abandon it even after experiencing the love of God-Saviour.

This demeanor, therefore, demanded from the outset, from the very leaving Egypt, to understand the lamb-Passover sacrifice as an element of Israel’s salvation from the punishment due not only to the Egyptians but also to Israelites for their sins. As will show the comparative analysis conducted in this work between the Book of Exodus and the Book of Ezekiel, the God-inspired editor of Exodus 1-18 did not emphasize this dimension because he deliberately did not reveal what was shameful in the behavior of the liberated People. The silence of author of the Book of Exodus does not mean, however, that there was no such behavior – the prophet Ezekiel, inspired by God, revealed this fact in due time.

Other biblical books also did not address the issue of the order of the rite [26].

Therefore, the Old Testament does not contain any detailed description according to which the Israelites could celebrate the Passover [27]. The rite (seder/order) of the Passover is known only from the Jewish Tradition as a collection of four successive main parts, each of which is composed of the cultic acts associated with one of the four cups of wine consumed by the participants of the supper as the liturgical action required by the Tradition develops [28].

2. Israel’s tradition about the Passover rite.

The fundamental source significance for knowing the original Passover rite seems to have not only the biblical texts but the texts of Jewish Tradition [29]:

The Book of Jubilees, Tractate Pesachim of the Mishnah, The Passover Haggadah.

♦ The Book of Jubilees was written in the second century B.C. [30] It does not speak about four cups of wine but its consumption in general during the Passover liturgy by Israelites in Egypt, during the night when the Lord killed firstborns of Egypt.

Because the biblical record in the Book of Exodus contains neither any information about the fact that God ordered the consumption of wine during the Passover, nor the slightest mention of what the Israelites then drank, by God’s order eating lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, that is products requiring a drink, so important is the verse 49:6 of the “Book of Jubilees,” which describes the Passover feast of Israel on that memorable night in Egypt, when the Lord killed firstborns:

“And all Israel was eating the flesh of the paschal lamb, and drinking the wine, and was lauding, and blessing, and giving thanks to the Lord God of their fathers.”  [31]

This entry draws attention to the characteristic elements of the Passover known today: the consumption of Passover lamb and wine, and the prayer of worship.

♦ Tractate Pesachim of the Mishnah [32], dating back to the second century after Christ, speaks about four liturgical cups of wine.

The Mishnah is part of the Talmud [33], written down ancient Jewish Tradition, which is characterized by extraordinary care for the exact fulfillment of God’s commands, explained by the wisest representatives of the People.

The importance of the tractate has long been appreciated not only by Jewish rabbis but also by Christian biblical scholars and patrologists [34] because due to the time of its creation – about the second century after Christ – it allows recreating with high probability the course of the Last Supper – Passover celebrated by Jesus Christ on the night before the salvific Passion.

In the tenth chapter [35] of this tractate, in points 1, 2, 4, 7, four mandatory cups of wine are specified; the content of the whole chapter is to show the acts that follow after filling each of them separately, namely:

Even a thorough reading of the “Pesachim” tractate, however, does not allow to know with absolute certainty the message of each of the four main parts of the rite, assigned to the consecutive four cups of wine. The problem is that the tractate does not specify where the set of words and acts of the first cup ends, and the second begins, where the second set ends, and the third begins, where the third set ends and the fourth begins. It is assumed – according to the Passover rite [36] practiced since time immemorial – that the tractate presents the following main ideas related to particular cups:

♦ Passover Haggadah  [37] – הַגָּדָה שֶל פֶסַח – just like the tractate “Pesachim,” mentions four cups of wine constituting the basic structure of the rite. “Haggadah,” however, is an incomparably more ample repository of the paschal liturgy than the tractate. “Haggadah” is a liturgical book containing specific prayers, wisdom instructions, chants, symbolic acts (washing hands, eating of the symbolical dishes, and the like), carried out sequentially, assigned to the consecutive fourteen points of the rite. It is the Jewish book of the eve of the Paschal liturgy [38]. For this reason, analyzing the text of Haggadah in its original Hebrew/Aramaic notation will be one of the main exegetical tasks of this work.

The text of “Haggadah” was written gradually, over many centuries [39]. The first version was probably compiled between the second half of the second century and the end of the fourth century.

It is believed that although the now known ancient text of the “Passover Haggadah” dates back to later times than the demolition of the Jerusalem temple in 70 years after Christ, the essential part of the Hebrew and Aramaic texts and the basic ideas of the whole come from the times preceding the coming of Jesus Christ into the world [40].

The “Haggadot” of the 8th century, preserved in the Cairo Genizah, are known only in fragments; however, they do not allow us to know the entire text of that period.

The oldest complete, readable manuscript of Haggadah has been found so far in the book of prayers from the 10th century, whose editor is Saadia Gaon, a lecturer at the academy in Sura.

In the 13th century, Polish or German Jews added closing songs to this text [41].

From the 13th century, the custom of using the “Haggadot” as separate liturgical books for the celebration of Passover in Jewish houses also began to spread [42].

The oldest confirmed printed copy of Haggadah is from 1486 from Soncino, in Italy.

Passover Haggadot have been commonly printed from several centuries. Often richly ornamented and illustrated, these small books contain a description of the Paschal liturgy: deeds and words – rite. The Haggadot often add an explanation of these successive sacred acts. Attention is paid not only to individual acts or words of the celebrated Passover but also to the prescribed order, which in Hebrew is expressed by the word seder (סֵדֶר) [43].

One also usus the term סֵדֶר as:

Individual editions of this book, as well as its elaborations, may differ only in the details originating from the historical development of the Passover liturgy over the centuries among Jews living in geographically distant regions of the world. Essential elements of the Passover rite, given by so many sources, is preserved [44]. More considerable differences occur only at the end of the Seder – the Sephardic Jews in the Passover liturgy have far fewer different closing songs than Ashkenazi Jews [45].

The Passover Haggadah allows one to maintain the order of the Passover feast, characterized by the sequence of liturgical words and acts assigned to the consecutive fourteen points of the Seder, in order to carry out the underlying liturgical message of four particular cups of wine consecutively consumed. However, just like the tractate Pesachim, the Haggadah does not indicate where the set of words and acts of the first cup ends, and the second begins, where the second set ends, and the third begins, where the third set ends and the fourth begins.

Does then “The Haggadah,” just as “Pesachim,” make it impossible to discover the structure of the Passover rite?

Such a task seems possible to be performed: by analyzing the logic of the layout of the texts and morphology of original keywords used to identify the consecutive fourteen stages of the rite. Thanks to this it will be possible to clearly define the basic idea, characteristic for each of the four main parts individually so that it will be known which of the fourteen stages of the rite belongs to a given part and which belongs to the next part!

To the sources mentioned above for understanding the ritual of Passover, it is worth adding the Book of Wisdom, which, although it does not belong to the writings of the Hebrew Bible, is an inspired book, belonging to the canon of the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament defined by the Church. This book was written in the days close to the birth of Christ [46], just as the Pesachim tractate. In verse 18:9, the author mentions the singing of the hymns (αἴνους), taken up by the Fathers already on that holy night of punishment of Egypt. The New Testament, with its Gospels of St. Matthew (26:30) and of St. Mark (14:26), is also a testimony to the singing of the hymns as the last element of the Passover: Jesus Christ and His Apostles after singing the Passover hymns (ὑμνήσαντες) came out of the Cenacle.

At the end of the introduction to the Passover issue, one should note that although attempts are made to understand the structure of its rite, they are often not supported by in-depth analysis.

One of the proposals is to assign a central role to the festive feast [47], which is symmetrically surrounded by: telling the story of liberation and eating matzah and bitter herbs prescribed by law, on the one hand, and celebrating prayers of thanks for the meal and prayers of praise of God as Savior of Israel, on the other [48]. However, does the central role of this banquet, that is, an informal, not regulated by any rules, “secular” supper – correspond to the spirit of the most solemn liturgy of holy Israel, who, by God’s order, celebrates the Passover in His honor?

Another logic of the rite division [49] is to see in it four parts, each of which is composed of four sub-parts:

I. Preparation (1. Kaddesh 2. Urechatz 3. Karpas 4. Yachatz); II. Story (1. Four questions, 2. Four sons, 3. History of Exodus, 4. The symbolism of three dishes: Passover sacrifice, matzah, Morocco; singing of Hallel); III. The banquet (1. Preparation for the banquet: 1/1. Rachtzah; 1/2. Motzi and Matzah; 1/3. Maror; 1/4. Korekh; 2. The festive supper; 3. Eating of the Afikoman; 4. Blessing after eating); IV. Redemption (1. Opening of the door and recitation of “Pour out Your anger” and an invitation of the Prophet Elijah; 2. The Hallel; 3. Nirtzah: Songs; 4. Counting of the Omer – only on the second seder evening).

The Latin text of Ligier’s [50] Haggadah, ‘classic’ for exegetic research, divides the text into four parts according to the rule that each successive part begins with the filling of a new cup.

The detailed analyses that will be carried out in chapter III of this work will allow for a different division, consistent with the meaning and rhetorical structure of The Haggadah text and its specific Hebrew/Aramaic language garment.

3. The Book of Exodus about the Passover rite.

To understand the structure of the Passover is worth referring not only to the Tradition of Israel but above all to the Holy Scriptures, whose insightful reading should be an opportunity for a new look at what has escaped attention [51]. The puzzling thing about the Passover liturgy is that it refers very profusely to the Bible [52].

Scientific analyses have shown that two significant events have been highlighted in the Passover: 1/. The people locked in their homes have a Passover supper with a lamb; 2/. The people walk tirelessly towards the Sea of Reeds to pass on its dry bottom thanks to the Lord’s intervention. Ex 12 and Ex 14 are biblical testimonies to the importance of these events [53].

The first text speaks about the salvation of the firstborns of Israel during the night of Egypt’s punishment: the blood of the Passover lamb was a sign of salvation for those who, obedient to the Lord’s command, were eating its meat baked in the fire, eating it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Therefore, the Passover has the form of a feast in honor of the Lord [54].

The second text talks about the passage of the whole People between halves of the divided Sea of Reeds.

The logic of Passover / Unleavened bread as a seven-day holiday also brings out the fundamental meaning of both historical moments: the beginning of the holiday corresponds to the date of consumption of the Passover lamb supper (15th day of Abib), the end of the holiday corresponds to the date of the end of the strenuous seven-day march from Ramses across the Sea of Reeds to the Mara in the desert of Shur [55].

Getting to know the text of Book Exodus in its original form [56] should be a fundamental source for discovering the original structure of the Passover rite. One will analyze in this work the first eighteen chapters of this book. They speak about the history of Israel’s departure from Egypt, starting with the reminder of the fact that Patriarch Joseph and his family lived there. In the sequential verses and chapters they are shown: the oppression of his descendants; the story of God’s revelation to Moses at the burning bush; God’s intervention for Israel through a series of plagues; the killing of the firstborns of Egypt at the time when the Israelites, obeying the Lord’s command, were eating in His honor a Passover lamb in their homes; the hasty departure of the People with a cake not acidified in their kneading bowls, carried on their shoulders; the passage of the People between the divided waters of the Sea of Reeds; the sinking of Pharaoh’s army in the sea waters; the singing of Israel in honor of God the Saviour; the follow-on way of Israel to the foothills of God’s Mount Horeb; the crowning of the way by the sacrifice in honor of the Lord through Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, as the fulfillment of God’s announcement given to Moses at the burning bush; the Moses’ exercise of judgment over the Israelites.

Will the content of Ex 1-18, presented here briefly, explain the structure of the Passover rite? This work will provide an affirmative answer to this question, even though it seems at first glance unlikely that Passover would closely relate to the content of all eighteen chapters [57].

4. The methods of reading and analyzing the Holy Scriptures.

It is impossible to understand the Holy Scriptures without noticing the fundamental principle on which the organic bond between the holy books and the culture of human civilization, within which these books were created: what God wanted to reveal in the holy texts was written by the biblical writers in them in the human language of their epoch, their culture, their ways of perceiving thoughts – ways common to the people of the Ancient Near East of that time [58].

This principle points to a method of reading the content of the salvific messages hidden by God in His Book: the exegete must try to see in the text the elements characteristic of the period of its creation. What is important here is - first of all - to discover the literary genre of each pericope, principles of its composition, perhaps specific to peoples of the Ancient Near East [59].

The method of comparing the texts with others speaking on the same subject helps to understand the analyzed texts. However, in order to do this properly, it is necessary – since the Word of God does not contain contradictions – to take into account the individual fragments’ dependence on the concrete situation of their creation.

For example, the lawmaking text from Ex 12 does not order killing a paschal lamb in a temple, while the text from Deut 16 orders it, because it was written in a different historical situation of Israel.

The understanding of the texts by discovering the circumstances of their creation is characteristic of the diachronic method as the first stage of the historical-critical method [60].

However, ultimately biblical analyzes should serve a synchronic study, that is, to bring out the significance of the final editing of texts, the basic one for theology, because:

“it is the text in its final stage, rather than in its earlier editions, which is the expression of the word of God.”  [61]

It is also the aim of all the analyses carried out in this work.

The principal task of the reader of the God’s Word is to precisely uncover the literal sense [62] contained in its Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek sentences and logical sets of sentences – pericopes.

To know the literal content of sentences requires in particular knowledge of grammatical rules of biblical languages. Grammar textbooks, biblical and theological dictionaries have long been a valuable aid to the exegete. For over a dozen years, the development of computer science has allowed the use of a new, extraordinarily useful tool: computer programs [63].

Printed concordances have been known for centuries as a valuable aid to the exegete [64]. For each of the words in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek, it is possible to determine place (the siglum) in the Bible that contains these particular words. However, computer programs are much more than that: they can be used to quickly find all the places where two, three, four, and so on original words occur at the same time; it is also possible to require that these words occur in the order specified by the user. These programs give not only sigla but also a possibility to read the entire text in its original form and selected translations.

Moreover, it is possible to search even more complexly: one can search for places where there is any Hebrew noun, or any Hebrew masculine singular noun in status constructus, or participle of the verb, and so on. Thanks to this, the well-thought-out task given to a computer program can extract from the whole Bible all the sentences that are characterized by an identical grammatical structure, a structure analyzed by exegete. In this way, not only the grammar textbooks but, above all, the Bible itself can answer the question, how to understand a sentence written according to the original ancient logic of sentence construction. The exegete obtains the answer by comparing the logic of all sentences found by the computer, therefore all sentences constructed according to an identical grammatical principle.

Computer analysis can be used for another type of work: research on the frequency of occurrence of keywords proving the origin of a text from a specific author [65].

The use of similar type of analyses for Ex 1-18 structure studies will find an important place in this work. It is inspired by the methods of Jewish exegesis [66].

However, one should note that the true Revelation (viz. not invented by exegete), hidden in the specific numerical relationships in the Bible, will always be visible in the text [67].

The role of numerical analyses is, therefore, to discover verbal revelation in texts in which one could have overlooked it so far.

5. The primary thesis of this work.

Analyzes of Hebrew and Aramaic texts contained in the Bible and the Passover Haggadah will constitute the leading dimension of this dissertation. Their goal will be to show the original structure of the Passover rite, the structure discoverable really in them. Therefore, the aim of the work will not be to put forward a hypothesis that would be supported only by an understanding of texts, which is subordinated to the creativity of the work author.

It is worth noting that contemporary researchers usually do not notice that it was God Himself who gave the Passover the structure that is still valid today. Commentators usually claim that this structure is the result of a certain historical process of merging two completely separate holidays [68]: the pastoral holiday of sacrificing a lamb and the agricultural holiday of sacrificing first crops; it is believed that this structure has been formed somehow spontaneously over the centuries. The purpose of this doctoral dissertation is to attempt to show the structure of Passover ‘today’ as identical to the structure of the covenant made by God with Israel in the waters of the Sea of Reeds, on the way from Egypt to Horeb! By God’s command, the Feast of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which lasts for a week and begins with the Feast of Passover, are since the Exodus [69] two inseparable dimensions of one great liturgical worship of God-Saviour by Israel.

The principal thesis of the undertaken dissertation is:

The Passover, established by God as a cultic feast, which makes present the conclusion of God’s Primordial Covenant with Israel between the divided waters of the Sea of Reeds, is made up of four successive parts. Each of these parts corresponds both (a) to one successive part of the literary structure of the description in Ex 6:2-15:21, which tells the story of Israel being led out of Egypt by God, (b) to one successive part of the ritual of ancient Hittite covenant-making.

In this work, therefore, an attempt will be made to discover the basic structure of the Passover as a structure written in the Bible in a highly specific way: not verbally, but only by describing the Exodus within a literary structure that is characteristic for ancient Hittite covenant-making rite.

The Passover – the making present of the Exodus from Egypt – will turn out as a rite with the same structure as the biblical description of that Exodus (Ex 6:2-15:21), and the Exodus itself will turn out not only as a liberation but also as the rite of the covenant-making between God the Saviour and His people, Israel.

At the same time, the analyses will show the identity of the six-element literary structure of Ex 1-18 with the six-element literary structure of documents (treaties) drawn up as highly significant, an official record of the fact of covenant concluding. Thanks to this, it will be possible to notice that the basic four-element structure of the Passover rite is analogous to the structure of the four central elements of the six-element structure of the covenant treaty.

6. The primary research method on the background of previous methods.

The study of selected biblical texts will focus on explaining them based on biblical parallels contained exclusively in the Old Testament. One introduced this limitation intentionally in this work as a methodological premise: in order that the understanding of these texts could be the basis for further research of text of Jewish Tradition [70] or New Testament [71], one must first protect the procedure leading to their understanding against any justifications derived from those collections. Otherwise, it would happen that some Old Testament text explanation, based on texts from those two collections, would become in the next stage of research the basis for an interpretation of texts of those collections. As a result, an explanation of text would have in itself the interpretation basis, but only seemingly in the Old Testament.

The Old Testament itself is of great value as the Word of God [72] and should first be explained based on parallels drawn from it. Only then, in the next stage of research, will it be possible to compare the texts of the Old Testament with those of the other collections. This dissertation will not attempt to analyze the New Testament texts. It is due to the necessity to precede analyses of them with a particularly thorough exegetical study of these texts, which would be a task exceeding the framework of one publication. Nevertheless, the author hopes that in this way will be accomplished the fundamental task required of every Catholic exegesis, namely: to enable the reader to understand more profoundly the Revelation of all Scripture in light of the principles of development, continuity, and transposition [73].

On the one hand, one should underline, following B. Childs, that the New Testamentary reading of the Old Testament so organically connects with this fundamental God’s Revelation for humankind in the history of Israel that one cannot consider it only as one of many possible interpretations. On the other hand, every Christian interpreter must remember that he must not fail to notice the differences in the manner in which God revealed Himself in the Old Covenant and the New Covenant [74].

Insightful research papers which in the 20th century showed the literary structure of the description of the Hittite [75] covenant-making of the 16th to 12th centuries before the birth of Christ become a model for the analyses carried out here.

The literary researches of the Old Testament historical books also become as a model here. They have shown that many Biblical descriptions of the covenant between God and Israel, made up of fragments from various earlier spiritual traditions, have been composed in such a literary manner as those of the Hittites. It applies especially to the excerpts from the Book of Exodus [76] and Deuteronomy [77].

In their way, these discoveries show how important for Israel’s historical awareness was the covenant between God and the twelve tribes uniting into one nation [78]. Thanks to the linear, just historical concept of time [79], this awareness was unique in the background of other contemporary societies. Hittite state agreements and yearbooks contain good historiography, that is, they understand time as a one-way phenomenon, ensuring the linear succeeding of stages. It does not mean, however, that they understand history in the same way as Israel does, that is, that God rules history, directing it towards the fullness of development. The Hittites, as well as other peoples besides Israel, believed the concept of eternal returns [80].

The investigations of the literary structure of Hittite treatises and Old Testament books, conducted in the 20th century, became an inspiration for the author of this work. They indirectly showed that although the Passover rite is not contained in the Bible in its lexical layer, easy to read, it does not mean that it is not written in the Bible at all. For just like the examples of hiding of rite of making a covenant between God and Israel, discovered by biblical scholars so far, the Passover rite could be “written” into the literary structure of texts composed according to the rite of the ancient Hittite covenant or its description, i.e., treaty. However, it will be necessary to devote many pages of analyses to the precise documentation of this thought.

The author of this work will intentionally omit the looking for an origin of individual fragments of text from some earlier ‘sources,’ as required by representatives of the Formgeschichte [81] school and diachronic faculties derived from it [82]. The last few decades of exegesis, influenced by the assumptions of this direction, resulted in a dramatic discrepancy between the results of the work of its various representatives and just a departure of many of them from the original meaning of the Word, pronounced by God through sacred writers inspired by Him [83]. In contemporary biblical studies, it is more and more often possible to read descriptions of the problems of breaking up the Holy Books; it is possible to hear in them a deeply hidden question about the meaning of this ‘exegesis.’ [84]

The biblical text, broken down into individual, presumed ‘sources’ or ‘traditions,’ was often interpreted as if it were a collection of separate, unrelated groups of sentences.

It should be noted, however, that no one has permission to modify the canonical text by moving [85] its fragments: when the exegete has discovered that individual fragments belong to different sources, he cannot combine fragments from a single source into a new ‘whole’ of the salvation history [86]. Is he undoubtedly sure he knows all the fragments and their original order? No, it is impossible to know it. Therefore, how can he responsibly proclaim theology of this ‘tradition’?

All the more, he must not fail to notice that it is not this ‘whole’ but the final canonical text that is the word of God. The understanding of this vital principle concerning the truth of the canonical text, which guarantees the acceptance of what God through His Holy Scriptures wished to say, is the basis of real scientific achievements [87].

The same current of diachronic exegesis began to treat the religion of Israel as one of the numerous manifestations of the general phenomenon of religiousness of the primitive people, and not as a gift of the genuinely revealing God, the true God!  [88] Through analyses of questionable methodological value, it has been shown (and continues to be shown!) that it is necessary to correct the statements of God’s messengers. It concerns the prophets and wise men evaluating on behalf of God the moral-religious condition of Israel and indicating the sources of its decline [89]. The correction has also been extended to the historical dimension of the Bible, resulting in even the most fundamental facts occur to be contrary to the research [90]!

Researchers were pointing out the Old Testament texts similar to texts of other religions to undermine their inspiration from God, and finally, to deny the inspiration of the whole Bible! In these attempts of scientific explanation, however, there was no reliable, precise analysis of the content – in fact, it is only by doing such analysis that one can see the fundamental difference between the monotheistic character of biblical stories and non-biblical texts, which are only seemingly similar [91].

A great deal of devastation was also done by scientists who persuaded about the legendary, non-historical character of the events recorded in the Old Testament. Even such a fundamental fact for Israel as God’s intervention and the exodus of the Fathers from Egypt are considered by many to be ‘folk stories/tradition.’ As a result, they deprived themselves of the opportunity to read the real history, the salvation history; they deprived their disciples of this opportunity [92].

This departure from truly insightful scientific research has been met with courageous criticism [93] and a call to leave such ‘exegesis.’ Biblical works from the 1970s appeared to be a breakthrough in this field [94]. Thanks to this, among the representatives of the criticized diachronic directions, one should notice today the awareness of the fact that since each commentator proclaims his concept, the only fact, something unchangeable (and not a changing hypothesis) is the canonical text, and the entire Pentateuch – despite its literary complexity – is more uniform than the creators of those directions assumed [95].

Above all, it is necessary to devote as much time as possible to a thorough examination of the canonical text [96] in order to truly discover the message contained in it from the Creator and Savior of the humankind.

A way out of the perceived drama in biblical studies, from the severe lack of a scientifically reliable method, is to use comparative (diachronic) analyses between the established canonical text of the Hebrew Bible and the canonical text of Septuagint. The differences between the two texts should point out how the biblical text has been received in the religious community of Israel, and thus, the time and circumstances of its uprising and its supplementation, made with the changing moral condition of the People [97].

Correct comparative analysis should help to understand the message of texts, especially those that are very difficult to interpret. Examples of such exegesis one should note among biblical scholars both Polish [98] and other nationalities [99].

The second truly reliable way to get out of the briefly outlined crisis in exegesis is to adopt a methodological principle, which is given by J. L. Ska, professor of the Pontifical Biblical Institute:

The research should begin with a synchronic analysis of the canonical text: it is necessary to discover the structure of the text and its coherence. Only when a reliable synchronic analysis reveals that the text contains inconsistencies or some literary ‘refractions,’ one can indicate in it the existence of several ‘sources’ or ‘redactions.’

The professor states emphatically: “for most specialists, the time had passed when it was possible to assign with great certainty the verses of the Pentateuch to the four great ‘baskets’ J, E, D, and P.” [100]

The breakthrough in the Pentateuch research reveals itself in questioning the traditional four sources [101]:

At the end of the 20th century, analysts [102] pointed out that there were three divergent theories of the research of the literary development of the Pentateuch:

Therefore, synchronic research of the canonical text is now more and more widely recognized as a reliable way of studying inspired books; the self-constraining of an exegete to research according to historical-critical methods meets with criticism, even if one can see his achievements to date and the enormous amount of work he has put into knowing the Bible over many years [103].

The classical historical-critical method is too focused on reaching the historical realities of the described events, treating the text only as a window through which one can look at history; itself text and its meaning remain here outside the mainstream of research interest! [104]

Biblical scholars [105] more and more often draw attention to the absolute necessity of separating themselves from the methods of extreme historicism, which cannot reach the message of God’s Word, thus becoming a pseudo-scientific method.

One can observe an increasing accusation of such an extreme approach, delivered towards many representatives of historical-critical methods.

Although the exegetes who practice historicism argue that the Pontifical Biblical Commission has approved the historical-critical method, they do not notice that they should apply it in a spirit of obedience towards the indications of the Magisterium of the Church [106], to which the final sentence on this matter belongs. If they themselves often fail to see that in their work they do not honor the Bible as a book of believers, at the same time they evaluate quite a different method of interpretation, namely that aimed at the fundamental goal of discovering the true meaning of God’s speech in the Bible, as a ‘non-scientific’ or ‘fundamentalist.’ They do so despite the significantly grave warnings of the Holy Father John Paul II in 1993 year [107] and of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in the “Foreword to the Document of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. [108]

Characteristic of methods focused on historical, literary ‘sources’ is to attribute too significant role to sacred writers and their human cultural habits, cognitive limitations, fallibility. Exegete, who reads the holy text in the spirit of such methodological assumptions, is focused on finding contradictions in the text; therefore, he finds them there! Such a concentration of the mind does not allow him to patiently and repeatedly read the analyzed text to search for, and finally to perceive, the logic of non-contradiction, which genuinely connects the ‘inconsistencies’ discovered by him in a harmonious whole.

The Fathers of the Church could be a model for the contemporary generation of exegetes, a model of approach to Scripture with holy fear, with reverence for the text which not only came from the human hand but above all from the mouth and heart of God who loves us.

It is, therefore, necessary to assume in exegesis that even in the Bible as the fruit of human thought in historically conditioned circumstances the history of the Word of God “is intimately intertwined with the history of humankind. In fact, it is the very basis of the history of humanity. For this reason, human history is not composed simply of human thoughts, words, and initiatives. Vibrant traces of the Word of God can be seen in nature and culture. Not only does the Word give human knowledge its true value, but the human sciences themselves help reveal the Word’s identity.”  [109]

Many exegetes, however, due to methodologically conditioned overcritical attitude and practical disobedience to the authority of the Church’s Magisterium do not see that God is above all the Author of the Bible. God inspired human authors writing at His command so that the text would contain this and only this that He wanted to convey in it, especially about His real interventions in true human history [110].

Unbelieving in the real historical value of the message of the sacred Books is characteristic for an exegesis exaggeratedly focused on the role of sacred writers as authors and editors of ‘source’ literary material, the material which finally made up the canonical text of the Bible [111].

In this situation, the Church’s Magisterium is increasingly pointing out the value of the canonical approach, an approach initiated in the 1960s by American biblical scholars, especially B. S. Childs [112]. In his insightful studies, this author uses the achievements of diachronic analyses, but exceeds their limitations:

without neglecting the significance of the historical process that led to the creation of the final, canonical form of the Word of God, he rejects both non-ecclesiastical, secular understanding of history, and this relying in the study of this literary process on allegedly objective secular criteria, the use of which leads to the elimination of God as the One who is present in the history of Israel and the Church [113].

Childs in his analyzes first shows own allocation of text fragments to individual sources (being the sets characterized by distinctive features, typical for each of them individually) to show the meaning of the text in the form given to it by the last editor. He can brilliantly appreciate the importance of the Church’s principle, according to which the canonical text is the Word of God. A significant example of Childs’ high academic skill is his statement regarding the historical-critical fragmentation of the description of the passage of the Israelites through the Sea of Reeds. Childs noted first that Ex 14:1-31 reveals two kinds of the causes of the water cleaving: natural and supernatural. How does this method analyze this text? To the older source (J), it attributed the fragments containing natural factors; to the later source (P), it attributed the fragments containing supernatural factors. In effect, this method committed the division of the whole story into two unrelated stories!

Childs, in the spirit of the Church’s understanding of the meaning of the canonical text, perfectly shows the historical and theological role of the ‘canonical editor.’ This editor from centuries ago, like a critical judge, opposed a mentality that does not accept the fact that God and man cooperate, and thus rejects the participation of supernatural and natural ‘factors’ in the miracle: if he found in the Tradition of Israel two types of texts, from which the first was revealing only supernatural factors, and the second only natural ones, he skillfully combined them in such a way that they could express the truth about this cooperation. He was, therefore, able to compose literary material so that the individual parts, which together comprise the full Tradition, would be understood by the reader as an integral whole, as the only carrier of God’s truth! [114]

L. Roy [115] thinks in his analysis of another problem of Exodus in the same way as Childs: the hardening of the heart of Pharaoh by God. This biblical scholar opposes the understanding of this repeated fact as the incapacitation of the Pharaoh by God. In order to see here the unquestionably free decision of the Pharaoh to refuse the release of Israelites (whom he considered his property because they were his slaves), one must take into account the Semitic mentality of the biblical writer (cf. Sir 15:11-20): for Semite, all phenomena in the world only occur when God either wants them or merely allows them. Whatever man has managed to do of his own free will would not have happened if God had deprived man of his ability to act! So, God has not hardened Pharaoh’s heart on the way of depriving him of the ability to act “non-hardened,” but through non-cooperation with him in his decision making, and so through leaving him with his weak, human abilities.

One must read the Bible in the spirit of God’s mentality. The Jews understand this well, and their spiritual leaders [116] teach it to this day: it is the Bible that is to ‘remake’ man, and not the man ‘remake’ the Bible (according to his human way of thinking).

In the spirit of the mentality of Semites – and above all of God – one has to read the Book of Exodus carefully to see how unbiblical are the foundations of Wellhausen’s source theory, how unbiblical is the mentality forced to see many alleged contradictions in the inspired text and then seeking their “scientific” understanding in the hypothesis of the origin of contradictory sentences from different sources. If a man with an unbiblical mentality deprives himself of the foundations of the biblical writer’s way of thinking, he is as incapable of correct reading the words of God as Pharaoh was incapable of reading them!

In connection with this observation, one should add such a supplement to the methodological principle of Professor Ska, described above: only then a biblical scholar may risk pointing to various sources, when in the spirit of the biblical mentality of the biblical writer, he intently assimilated the full content of the text and, despite a strenuous attempt to see its logical consistency, finally analyzing other solutions (especially of Church Fathers) he was unable to reconcile some facts in the text presented.

The exegesis of the Church Fathers is a model for the contemporary generation of biblical scholars. At least a few examples are worth mentioning here to show the difference in approach to Scripture by the Fathers and in our times:

Caesarius of Arles regarding Ex 14:16 explains that God, when ordered Moses to lift a staff over the sea to divide it, could cause it without Moses [117] because He has the power to act directly.

According to contemporary biblical scholars [118], the sentence Ex 14:16, describing the natural act of raising a staff and stretching out a hand, comes in part from source E (14:16 a), in part from source P (14:16 b), and therefore originally reportedly had no connection with the verses attributed to source J!

Similarly, the statement that the sea was divided by God who sent the strong wind (14:21b), the biblical scholars separated from the text telling about Moses stretching out his hand towards the sea!; they have split the canonical text Ex 14:21 into two sources: reportedly 14:21ac belongs to E [119] or P [120], and 14:21b to J [121]:

Ex 14:21 aThen Moses stretched out his hand over the sea(E or P)
Ex 14:21 b

and the Lord swept the sea with a strong east wind

throughout the night and so turned it into dry land.

(J)
Ex 14:21 cWhen the water was thus divided(E or P)

By approaching the inspired text in this way, the exegete does not reach the primary goal of reading God’s revelation, that is, the text in its final form! What is more: as a result of his analyzes exegete achieves what he assumed at the beginning of his reasoning (makes a mistake of the circular reasoning): he smashes the text in such a way that he can announce that: 1. source J contains only such texts that show God’s immediate saving actions [122], 2. source P (or possibly E) contains only those texts in which the subject of action is Moses, and never God – because He is transcendent [123]! Transcendence understood in this way, however, is not transmitted by the Bible!

Transcendent God is the One who acts close to man. One can read this fundamental truth from the Bible and its robust comments [124]. So, according to Divine Revelation, is no contradiction between the transcendence of God and the possibility of His direct-acting. There is, therefore, no such contradiction between the statement of Ex 14:26-27a (attributed to source E or P) and 14:27bc (J), as the comments assume [125].

Another example of a dramatic departure of many biblical scholars from Divine Revelation is the interpretation of Ex 14 carried out consistently by Wagenaar in the spirit of thinking about ‘sources’/‘traditions’:

This example shows Wagenaar’s consistent thinking in an unbiblical, non-God’s spirit. For Wagenaar, inspired Scriptures has no historical truth value, and all stories are only the fruit of the writers’ J, P, D, E activity, who try to ‘skillfully’ (through deceit!) guide the peoples so that they do not depart from religious practices.

The examples of biblical text analysis presented above show how much unbiblical logic of commenting on the canonical text one adopted in the very assumptions of source/tradition theory. One must not use this approach as a research tool! Does not God Himself give in the Bible a poignant warning on the example of Moses, God’s elect, who, despite the great merits, was not given the grace to enter the Promised Land because of the once (only once) he ascribed himself the power to make miracles? [130] Exegetes today do the same in the name of ‘science.’ Namely, they claim that one group of biblical texts announce that the causative factor of miracles is in the power of God Himself, and the other group – in the power of Moses: “Listen to me, you rebels! Are we to cause the water to come out from this rock for you?” (Num 20:10). In God’s eyes, such an act is an act of unbelief and carelessness in announcement Him as the undisputed first Cause of all goods! [131]

One can only look at the biblical text – according to Childs’ wise explanations presented above – as the fruit of the cooperation of the last editor with God’s grace in order to transform various earlier human concepts of explaining salvation history in such a way that the canonical version would at the end be compatible with what God knows about these events, about their causes, about His participation in them, about the role He gives man, and about the importance of these events for salvation.

Therefore, editor of the canonical text, on the one hand, could incorporate into text without amendments everything God already inspired, so what from the beginning or since precise correcting made by his predecessors did not contain errors. On the other hand, he incorporated everything which after his corrections harmonized with all incorporated texts to accurate picture the history. If there were indeed such concepts in Israel that claimed God’s transcendence involves His direct non-action (source E or P), then the canonical editor opposed them by a thoughtful composition of the text. That editor overcame in this way erroneous ideas which (in all times) as a result of human sin or ignorance try to ‘explain’ the history of salvation.

A good explanation of the meaning of the canonical editor is the reasoning of another well-known biblical scholar, D. J. McCarthy, in his approach to Ex 7:14-11:10.

The author admits at the beginning that this text is an integral literary unit at the level of relationships between elements of narrative and the development of dramaturgy, i.e. when we look at the form of the text shaped by the final editor. McCarthy then reveals the following problem: “However, as long as the connection remains at this level, as long as it is an affair of content only, we are not assured that the connection is older than this final redaction since it is clear that the redactor used various independent sources to construct his stories, but, because the materials in these sources all concerned the same general subject, there is no reason why parts of one could not be combined with those of another to yield a new, coherent, and even dramatic whole. In view of this, mere coherence, logical sequence between parts of a pericope, is simply not enough to show a connection antecedent to the final redaction.”  [132]

However, McCarthy’s reasoning is useful only if it does not lead the exegetes to recognize these elders canonical text relationships as the only real source of knowledge of salvation history. Unfortunately, there is a dramatic phenomenon in world exegesis of rejecting the message of the canonical text, rejecting that God’s understanding of history, its causes, and meaning. One must not reject the word of God contained in the canonical text – this written Word is only in here, only in it!

Durham [133] and Houtman [134], like Childs, also recognize the reading of the text in its final canonical form as a fundamental research method. Although they do not stress the importance of Church for full interpretation of Bible, their goal is to explain the theological message of the text to the reader, and not to leave him with a multitude of pieces – which is too often case with exegetes who work under diachronic assumptions.

Eminent world’s representatives of the biblical research positively evaluate works of both scientists [135].

One should note the very grave voice recently on the crisis in exegesis:

Pope Benedict XVI, in his comprehensive book [136] devoted to the right presentation of Jesus in light of the Holy Scriptures, especially emphasizes the value of the canonical approach of American biblical scholars (p. 10). At the same time, he criticizes in a balanced way the achievements of diachronic methods. The Pope shows the limits of historical-critical exegesis, ‘liberal exegesis,’ which in its time was regarded as an impassable apogee of the scientific and historical method of a strict certainty, and, moreover, towards which Catholic exegetes looked jealously and with admiration (p. 161). The Holy Father emphasizes that in order to be able to reach the meaning of the words written in the Holy Scriptures and intended by God, it is necessary to adopt the principle of reading them as one integrity and as a whole which, despite its all historical layers, expresses an internally coherent message (p. 165).

In “The Foreword,” the Pope characterizes liberal exegesis in such a way:

The last of the above statements of the Holy Father points out that it is unacceptable for an upright biblical scholar to carry out research using this method exclusively alone. It is because this method in its insurmountable essence is unable to read the Word of God which is given exclusively in the form of canonical text but not as a set of pieces of the canonical text.

The research methods conducted in this work belong to the group of synchronic methods, which profoundly explore the message of the canonical text and the intention of the biblical writer-editor [138].

In the modern history of the exegesis of biblical books, such methods have also been successfully used to study the Divine Revelation contained in the Book of Exodus [139].

It is particularly worth pointing out Fischer’s efforts to commonly accept in contemporary exegesis the consequences resulting from the scientifically documented thesis [140] that not only the hypothesis of four sources but also the hypothesis of editorial layers are not suitable for explaining the contents of Pentateuch.

The desire of author of this dissertation on the Book of Exodus is to give a reliable answer to this ‘sign of times’ whom undoubtedly is the fact of the conscious proclamation by eminent exegetes the great breakthrough in research [141].

The author of the dissertation, in the spirit of obedience and love for the Church’s Magisterium, accepts as a fundamental and inviolable methodological principle that the Holy Scriptures, in the canonical form, is free from error in communicating the truth of salvation [142], because the Holy Spirit is the author of it above all. He is who engaged people of His choice: “In composing the sacred books, God chose men, and while employed by Him they made use of their powers and abilities, so that with Him acting in them and through them, they, as true authors, consigned to writing everything and only those things which He wanted.” [143]

Unfortunately, the contemporary historical-critical exegesis has so much emphasized the role of man in transmitting God’s truth that human limitations, particular interests of different groups or their cultural habits are more important for it than the omnipotence of God, who called chosen people to cooperate in the work of Revelation.

However, in the exegesis of the Holy Scriptures the Church recommends the application of genuinely scientific principles for the study of historical truth and principles of literary criticism, and is convinced that God has enabled sacred writers to accurately communicate in writing what He wanted because He has guided them in such a way that He has not had to deprive them of their human qualities. These human means (literary genres) of recording God’s truth, characteristic of the epoch of individual sacred writers, in the course of the doctoral thesis must be discovered without forgetting, however, that the content of the message in its final, canonical form is not the work of man, his interests, the interests of his group, nor is it the fruit of his illusion, ignorance, incompetence, but it is the historical truth, the truth given by God!

In connection with the presented teaching of the Church, the author of this paper assumes as a methodological principle that the salvific facts read from the analyzed text Ex 1-18, their sequence in time, their causes – will not be perceived as the fruit of any human interpretation of the biblical writer, given to events other than those ascertained from the correctly read text [144].

The same assumption will guide the reading of all other Scripture texts, including those which, in parallel with Ex 1-18, show God’s truth about the historical events described in Ex 1-18. Therefore, the author of this work assumes that it is not true that ‘in exegesis, there should be no mixing of a historical event with its interpretation by one or another biblical author,’ as many contemporary commentators assume [145].

On the contrary, an effort should be made to discover in Scripture all references to the main text under consideration. Since the sacred writers – authors of the individual texts – wrote according to their cultural conditions under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they did not express only their views on the events described in Ex 1-18, which the Spirit barely allowed to be “published” in His books, but in various ways conveyed the whole of one saving truth given by the Spirit.

Ex 1-18 and its interpretations elsewhere in Scripture will therefore not be seen as a record of an arbitrary interpretation of events made by successive biblical writers as representatives of a particular ‘tradition,’ but as God’s coherent holistic Revelation of the real historical salvific facts, expressed in form imposed by the literary genres characteristic of the epoch of these writers.

This doctoral thesis has two fundamental methodological dimensions. The clear differentiation in the Scripture between the content of God’s truth and the human literary form of the record (which is emphasized by the modern historical-critical method) is its first dimension. The second one is the understanding of the literary form of record as one that is to serve the truth but not to the arbitrary human interpretation of biblical writer (as many contemporary exegetes want, unfortunately).

The primary research task will be an analysis leading to the discovery of the basic literary pattern of the Hebrew text Ex 1-18 [146], the analysis first based on relationships discovered between Hebrew words, and only then between themes/ideas.

In order to ensure that process of discovering literary principles imposed by the biblical writer to structuralize text is not subordinated to imagination or fantasy of the author of this dissertation, it is necessary to prioritize words relationship above themes relationship [147].

The literary structure of the text is worthy of note because the Biblical writer consciously wrote the whole work according to it to effectively communicate the essential message carried by the whole composed of the words, sentences, and pericopes [148].

The method of studying the literary structure (or, equivalently, literary scheme) is often called the rhetorical method [149]. Particularly noteworthy is the discoverer of the concentric structure of the Letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament, A. Vanhoye: he pointed out the importance of the following elements for the construction of the literary structure: overlapping words (binding adjacent sections), announcements of theme, repetitive words (specific to a given section), inclusions (words or phrases indicating the distinguishing of part of text as a section due to the presence of these words/phrases at its beginning and at the end simultaneously) [150].

Vanhoye points to a growing interest in rhetorical analysis among Biblical scholars: the structure is increasingly seen by them as an important for interpretation since every part of the text is only understood if it is read in relation to the whole structure [151].

In this work, the attempt to discover the literary structure will be accompanied by a question about the literary genre of the analyzed texts, pericopes, and the whole literary schema of the Ex 1-18 text.

The question concerning the literary genre will be one of the essential elements of analyses. One frequently announces this question as discovery and a characteristic feature of the historical-critical method, and to many biblical scholars seems to be exclusively an element of this method only. However, this question will be here an element of the holistically understood scientific exegesis of the canonical text not as the heritage of historical-critical method, but because it has always been present in the Church [152] exegesis from the beginning.

In the course of presenting results of his research, author of this work will gradually show how fundamental for the correct reading of literary structure of first eighteen chapters of the Book of Exodus is an ability to perceive a change in the literary genre when moving from first structural element to second, from second to third, and so on.

The basic research work plan is as follows:

One will undertake especially insightful research on the literary structure of the first eighteen chapters of the Book of Exodus depicting God’s intervention for Israel in Egyptian captivity. Exodus, described in this biblical text, is after all recalled each year by the participants of the Passover Supper of Jewish home communities. Therefore, one should answer the following questions:

The work is divided into three main chapters. They are devoted to the discovery of the basic structure of the Passover ritual:

a.Can each of the consecutive fourteen rite points be unambiguously assigned to one of the consecutive four cups?
b.Do the four ritual cups which one drink within the framework of the Passover rite form the four-element structure of the Passover?
c.Is the four-element structure of the Passover based on the structure of Ex 1-18?
d.Is this structure the structure of the ancient covenant-making?

The analysis leading to the answer to the first question will show that the description contained in Ex 1-18 is made up of six pericopes.

The answer to the second question will not be taken immediately after the analysis of the first question. One will precede it by highly significant comparative analyses of the biblical and Hittite descriptions of the covenant. On that basis, an attempt will be made to extract the primary purpose of each of the six parts of Ex 1-18 as an ancient description (treaty) of the covenant. It will show the logic of the four middle parts, which make up the rite of the covenant, and the logic of the two outer parts, which, together with these four, were required by the treaty documenting the fact of the covenant.

Then, through detailed lexical and rhetorical analyses of the original text of the “Passover Haggadah,” supported by the comments contained in the tractate “Pesachim” from Mishnah, in various “Haggadot” printed contemporary, in various aids concerning the celebration of the Passover, and in the basic “Jewish prayer book” [153] – the essential content of each of the four parts of the Passover ritual will be revealed.

The comparison of the result of the analysis of the structure of the Passover rite contained in the “Passover Haggadah” and the literary structure of Ex 1-18, including Ex 6:2-15:21, will be the culmination of the research. Thanks to them, it will be possible to answer the intriguing questions of many participants of the Passover celebration: Why are the main four cups of wine to be drunk? How should one divide the Passover rite in order to understand its content fully? Who is the author of this rite?


[1]  For ancient Israelites, a day (i.e., 24 hours) begins not at midnight but on sunset, i.e., when the sun went down over the horizon. Because the lunar month lasts about 28 daytimes and begins when the moon is in the form of a sharp sickle and begins to reach fullness, day by day, therefore the moon is always entirely visible on the 14/15th daytime of the month.
[2]  Cf. P. Briks, Podręczny słownik hebrajsko-polski i aramejsko-polski Starego Testamentu [Handy Hebrew-Polish and Aramaic-Polish Dictionary of the Old Testament], 3rd edition, Warszawa 2000, p. 18: אָבִיב 1. ear; 2. Abib (name of harvest month; later: Nisan; March/April). Cf. Lev 2:14: “If you present a cereal offering of firstfruits to the Lord, you shall offer it in the form of fresh grits of new ears of grain ( אָבִיב), roasted by fire;” Ex 13:4: “This day of your departure is in the month of Abib ( אָבִיב)”.
[3]  Scientists have long been trying to determine the date of the Exodus; they are in favor of the fifteenth, fourteenth or thirteenth centuries before Christ: cf. A. Mallon, Exode, [in:] L. Pirot, Dictionnaire de la Bible. Supplément, vol. 2 (CHYPRE – EXODE), Paris 1934, col. 1342: the author states that neither of the two best theories has ever prevailed; S. Łach, Księga Wyjścia. Wstęp – przekład z oryginału – komentarz [Book of Exodus. Introduction – translation from the original – commentary], Poznań 1964, pp. 51-64; S. Wypych, Księga Wyjścia [Book of Exodus], [in:] L. Stachowiak (ed.), Wstęp do Starego Testamentu [Introduction to the Old Testament], Poznań 1990, pp. 99-119; C. Danna, Enciclopedia illustrate della Bibbia, translated by V. Gambi, Roma 1983: the author points out the hypothesis of Exodus in the 13th century (p. 64), under Pharaoh Ramses II (p. 133); T. Brzegowy, Pięcioksiąg Mojżesza [Pentateuch of Moses], Tarnów 1995, pp. 64-70; T. Jelonek, Księgi historyczne Starego Testamentu [Historical Books of the Old Testament], Kraków 2006, p. 13: The author is in favor of the 15th century before Christ, when a powerful eruption of volcano Santorin took place, and the resulting social turmoil included Egypt. The Israelites could benefit from it. The author explains at the same time that although the biblical description does not speak about a volcanic eruption but God’s miraculous interventions (plagues), none the less the biblical language may present in a different way than ours the effects of God’s rule over nature and His saving power over the Chosen People. Attempts are also being made to determine the route of the Exodus: see M. D. Oblath, Of Pharaohs and Kings – Whence the Exodus?, “Journal for the Study of the Old Testament” 87 (2000), p. 33.
[4]  Cf. G. Ravasi, Esodo (Libro dell’), [in:] P. Rossano, G. Ravasi, A. Girlanda (ed.), Nuovo Dizionario di Teologia Biblica, Milano ³1989, p. 507: “La determinazione della natura esatta degli eventi, l’estensione cronologica, la sequenza dei fatti, pur necessarie, sono secondarie rispetto al profondo spessore ‘profetico’ che il libro cerca di identificare e di svelare sotto la superficie fenomenica del dato storico. Per questo Es è un’opera storica e teologica, è un appello alla memoria ma anche e soprattutto alla fede, è un testo del passato ma anche un messaggio sempre vivo dell’azione di Dio nella trama della storia”.
[5]  Cf. T. Jelonek, Księgi historyczne Starego Testamentu, op. cit., pp. 11, 12. Cf. also A. J. Levoratti, Interpretacja Pisma Świętego [Interpretation of the Holy Scriptures], translated by T. Mieszkowski, [in:] W. R. Farmer  (ed.); S. Mcevenue, A. J. Levoratti, D. L. Dungan  (co-editors); W. Chrostowski  (scientific editor of Polish edition), T. Mieszkowski, P. Pachciarek  (co-editors), Międzynarodowy komentarz do Pisma Świętego: komentarz katolicki i ekumeniczny na XXI wiek [International Commentary on Holy Scripture: Catholic and Ecumenical Commentary on the 21st Century], Warszawa 2000, p. 19: the author states that for the biblical mentality it is not necessary to resolve the issue whether it was God himself who brought the plagues or whether they were the result of the laws of nature; the most important for the sacred writer is to present the exit of Israel as a salvific event whose direct cause is God.
[6]  See Ibidem, p. 18. See also T. Stanek, Kto jest bogiem w Egipcie – analiza retoryczna Wj 6,2-9,35 [Who is a God in Egypt – Rhetorical Analysis of Ex 6:2-9:35], “Poznańskie Studia Teologiczne” 19 (2005), p. 24; R. de Vaux, Instytucje Starego Testamentu, vol. I & II. Vol. I. Nomadyzm i jego pozostałości, instytucje rodzinne, instytucje cywilne, vol. II. Instytucje wojskowe. Instytucje religijne [Old Testament Institutions, vol. I & II. Vol. I. Nomadism and Its Remnants, Family Institutions, Civil Institutions. Vol. II. Military Institutions. Religious Institutions], translated by T. Brzegowy, Poznań 2004, p. 504: it is worth adding that the author, a representative of the school of historical-critical methods, discusses scientific analyses that try to determine the historical origin and development of the Feast of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (p. 496-504), but opposes the extreme positions of scholars who reject the historical value of the relationship contained in Ex 1-15.
[7]  Cf. G. Te Stroete, Exodus (Buch), [in:] H. Haag, Bibel-Lexikon, Einsiedeln 1968², vol. 2., col. 461.
[8]  See D. E. Gowan, Eschatology in the Old Testament, Philadelphia 1986, p. 1, 43. For this reason, one can not consider the religion of Israel as one of many forms of religiousness – the faith of Israel was created by a true God, Creator, and Saviour.
[9]  Cf. Ibidem, p. 43-44.
[10]  The Fathers of the Church widely commented the Feast of Passover and its name: cf. G. W. H. Lampe, A Patristic Greek Lexicon, Oxford 1961, p. 1046-1069: πάσχα.
[11]  Cf. P.-É. Bonnard, Pascha [Passover], [in:] X. Léon-Dufour (red.), Słownik teologii biblijnej [Dictionary of Biblical Theology], 3rd edition, translated by K. Romaniuk, Poznań 1990, p. 647.
[12]  Cf. H. Haag, Pascha, [in:] H. Haag, Bibel-Lexikon, op.cit., vol. 2, col. 1312; R. Fabris, La Pasqua, [in:] P. Rossano, G. Ravasi, A. Girlanda (ed.), Nuovo Dizionario di Teologia Biblica, op.cit., p. 1114; W. Gesenius, Hebräisches und Aramäisches Handwörterbuch über das Alte Testament in Verbindung mit H. Zimmern, W. Max Müller, O. Weber, bearbeitet von F. Buhl, sechzehnte Auflage, Leipzig 1915, p. 650-651: פסח.
[13]  Cf. S. Potocki, Misterium Paschy Starego Testamentu [The Mystery of the Old Testament Passover], “Ruch Biblijny i Liturgiczny” 41 (1988), p. 274f.
[14]  Cf. B. Poniży, Motyw Wyjścia w Biblii: od historii do teologii [Exodus Motif in the Bible: from History to Theology], Poznań 2001, p. 49.
[15]  ‘The Red Sea’ is the term given to it by Septuagint. ‘The Sea of Reeds’ is the term in the Hebrew Bible, translated literally: cf. E. Galbiati, F. Serafini; G. Ravasi  (preface), Historyczny atlas Biblii [Historical Atlas of the Bible], translated by K. Stopa, Kielce 2006, p. 60. One will use both these names interchangeably. Scientists translate the last term also by ‘The Reed Sea’: cf. J. Synowiec, Mojżesz i jego religia [Moses and His Religion], Kraków 1996, pp. 29-30.
[16]  Cf. also T. Lenhard (editor), R. J. Rombs (assistant), T. C. Oden (general editor), Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. Old Testament III. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Downers Grove – Illinois 2001, p. 63: St. Augustine linked the word ‘Passover’ with the passage through the Red Sea, and St. Bede with the passage of God through Egypt on the night of 15th Abib (to kill the firstborns of Egypt and save the firstborns of Israel), and with the passage of Israel from Egyptian captivity.
[17]  Cf. J. L. Mckenzie, Dictionary of the Bible, London – Dublin 1965, p. 643-644 (Passover).
[18]  Cf. J. Drozd, Ostatnia Wieczerza nową Paschą [The Last Supper as the New Passover], Katowice 1977, pp. 41-42.
[19]  Cf. K. Richter, Kult/cześć oddawana Bogu. VII. W środowisku biblijnym [Cult/Worship Given to God. VII. In the Biblical Environment], translated by B. Wodecki, [in:] F. König, H. Waldenfels (ed.), Leksykon religii [Lexicon of Religion], Warszawa 1997, pp. 202-203.
[20]  Cf. J. M. Musielak, Obraz Paschy w różnych okresach historycznych [The Image of the Passover in Various Historical Periods], [in:] W. Chrostowski (red.), Duch i Oblubienica mówią: przyjdź. Księga pamiątkowa dla O. Prof. A. Jankowskiego w 85. rocznicę urodzin [The Spirit and the Bride Say, Come. Memorial Book for Rev. Prof. A. Jankowski on the 85th Anniversary of his Birth] (series: Ad Multos Annos, 5), Warszawa 2001, p. 296. Cf. also B. Poniży, Motyw Wyjścia w Biblii, op.cit., p. 50: the author points out the phrases contained in the tractate Pesachim X.5, showing the proper way of understanding and experiencing the celebration of Passover: “Regardless of age, everyone is obligated to think about himself as though he personally had gone out of Egypt […] Today we are in the passage through the Red Sea […] Today we are entering our heritage.” See a little further on the tractate itself.
[21]  Cf. R. Hendel, The Exodus in Biblical Memory, “Journal of Biblical Literature” 120/4 (2001), p. 601; L. Finkelstein, Pre-Maccabean Documents in the Passover Haggadah, “The Harvard Theological Review” 35/4 (1942), p. 292: the author points out that the text Deut 6:20 was slightly modified and used in “The Passover Haggadah” as the beginning of the story-answer to a son’s question. About “The Haggadah,” its vital role in the celebration of the Passover, see below.
[22]  Cf. הגדה שׁל פסח Hagada. Opowiadania o wyjściu Izraelitów z Egiptu na pierwsze dwa wieczory święta Pesach [Haggadah. Stories about the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt on the First Two Evenings of Pesach]. Wydawnictwo Księgarni M. Zalcmana, Wiedeń 1927, p. 33. “Hagada” is currently available in the “Bibliofilska Edycja Reprintów” as a reprint, made from a copy from private collections at the Interdruck GmbH printing house in Leipzig, Warszawa 1991. Further cited as Hagada, reprint. The “Hagada” teaches on page 33: “W każdym wieku Izraelita powinien się tak uważać, jak gdyby sam został wyswobodzony z niewoli egipskiej. […] Nie samych tylko ojców naszych wybawił Najświętszy, niech będzie pochwalony, lecz i nas wraz z nimi wybawił” [In every age, the Israelite should consider himself as if he had been freed from Egyptian captivity. (…) Not only did the Most Holy save our fathers – let Him be praised – but He also saved us with them.] Cf. also: M. Noth, Überlieferungsgeschichte des Pentateuch, Stuttgart 1948, p. 51: the author discusses the meaning of Deut 26:8; Deut 6:21-23; Josh 24:6.7; Ex 12:26.27f; 13:3.8f 14-16; 23:15 = 34:18. It is of the fundamental importance for the Jewish proof for the real (not only imagined!) possibility of participating in the historical paschal events of salvation.
[23]  By ‘the word layer’ one should understand words and sentences of text, which are the carrier of its ‘word sense’ (or ‘literal sense’); one can read this sense from text without analyzing its Hebrew rhetorical structure. The rhetorical analysis of the text will be carried out in this dissertation. It will reveal the ‘spiritual layer’ which the Spirit of God intended as the Author of Scripture. On the distinction of senses in the Bible, see: The Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church, [in:] J. A. Fitzmyer, The Biblical Commission’s Document “The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church”: Text and Commentary (series: Subsidia biblica, 18), Roma 1995, point II. B. See on the Internet. See also on the other side on the Internet. See also S. Szymik, Sensy biblijne, podział, charakterystyka, kontrowersje [Biblical Senses, Division, Characteristics, Controversies] “Roczniki Teologiczne” 47 (2000) z. 1, p. 5-25. There is a literal, spiritual and fuller sense; the typological sense belongs to the class of spiritual senses. The spiritual sense is divided into allegorical, moral and anagogical: cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 117.
[24]  Cf. H. Witczyk, Śmierć i Zmartwychwstanie Jezusa jako ofiara nowej Paschy [The Death and Resurrection of Jesus as a Sacrifice of the New Passover], “Liturgia Sacra” 8 (2002), No. 2, p. 219: the author refers to Gray’s position from 1925, and adds that in Ezek 45:18-22 this closely associates with atonement for sins; G. B. Gray, Sacrifice in the Old Testament, Oxford 1925, p. 397. It is worth remembering here what another Polish biblical scholar wrote: T. Jelonek, Biblijna nauka o wolności i wyzwoleniu [Biblical Teaching about Freedom and Liberation], “Polonia Sacra” 8/52 (2001), pp. 204, 206, 207: the author points out (p. 206) that the liberation from Egypt had not only political but above all religious meaning; Israel very quickly lost its freedom because of its infidelity to God’s covenant; therefore, in the Bible, the issue of Israel’s freedom became above all the issue of liberation from sin (p. 204); liberation from sin is fundamental liberation, a guarantee of all other freedom (p. 207).
[25]  Cf. W. Chrostowski, Prorok wobec dziejów. Interpretacje dziejów Izraela w Księdze Ezechiela 16, 20 i 23 oraz ich reinterpretacja w Septuagincie [Prophet Towards History. Interpretations of the History of Israel in the Book of Ezekiel 16, 20 and 23 and Their Reinterpretation in the Septuagint], Warszawa 1991.
[26]  Part of the third chapter of this work will be devoted to the discussion of all biblical places where the Passover is mentioned.
[27]  Cf. J. Drozd, Ostatnia Wieczerza nową Paschą, op.cit., p. 17.
[28]  Cf. R. Cantalamessa, Pascha naszego zbawienia. Tradycje paschalne Biblii i pierwotnego Kościoła [Passover of our Salvation. Paschal Traditions of the Bible and the Original Church], translated by M. Brzezinka, Kraków 1998, p. 38; L. Ligier, Textus Liturgiae Judeorum, [in:] A. Hänggi, I. Pahl, Prex Eucharistica: Textus e variis antiquoribus selecti, Fribourg 1968, p. 13. One should notice that, unfortunately, some scientific studies discuss the Passover rite too cursory or incorrectly; as a result they do not bring the truth to theology: see K. Matwiejuk, Celebracja przymierza Boga z ludźmi w świętach żydowskich [Celebration of the Covenant of God with People in Jewish Holidays], “Roczniki Teologiczne” 48 (2001), z. 6, pp. 164-167; M. Tomal (compilation), Jak modlą się Żydzi. Antologia modlitw [How Jews Pray. Anthology of Prayers], Warszawa 2000, pp. 151-174.
[29]  Cf. The Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Jewish People and their Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible, Vatican City 2001, I. C. 1: “Scripture and Oral Tradition in Judaism and Christianity”: Tradition gives birth to Scripture and is an important means of transmitting and interpreting God’s Revelation.
[30]  Cf. R. Rubinkiewicz  (ed.: compilation and introductions), Apokryfy Starego Testamentu [The Old Testament Apocrypha], Warszawa 1999, p. 260. Cf. also translation of this book into Polish: The Book of Jubilees, translated by A. Kondracki, [in:] Ibidem, pp. 262-342. The Passover regulations are in The Book of Jubilees 49:1-20.

[31]  Cf. on the Internet:

וכל ישראל אכלו במנוחה את בשר הפסח וישתו יין ויהללו ויודו ויברכו לה אלהי אבותיהם

Cf. The Book of Jubilees, or, the Little Genesis: Translated From the Editor’s Ethiopic Text and Edited, With Introduction, Notes and Indices by R. H. Charles (1902), Oxford 1902, p. 254-255: 49:6: “And all Israel was eating the flesh of the paschal lamb, and drinking the wine, and was lauding and blessing, and giving thanks to the Lord God of their fathers,” and 49:9: “and to eat and to drink before the Lord on the day of its festival.” See also on the Internet.

[32]  Cf. T. Jelonek, Schemat Miszny [The Mishnah’s Arrangement], Kraków 2001, p. 17; R. Marcinkowski, Miszna – Seder Moed. Skrypt dla studentów hebraistyki. Uniwersytet Warszawski [Mishnah – Seder Moed. Script for Students of Hebrew Studies. University of Warsaw], Warszawa 1995; H. Danby, The Mishnah. Translated from the Hebrew with Introduction and Brief Explanatory Notes, London 1950 (in this The Tractate Pesachim: pp. 136-151); Miszna – Pesachim [Mishnah – Pesachim], translated by R. Marcinkowski, [in:] M. Dziwisz (ed.), W. Jaworski, A. Komorowski (selection of texts), Judaizm [Judaism], Kraków 1989, p. 165-178; J. Neusner, The Mishnah – a New Translation, Cumberland, 1991. Tractate “Pesachim” on the Internet, in this chapter X. It is the English-language text of this tractate of the Talmud, containing not only the text of “Pesachim” from the Mishnah but also comments on it (Gemara).
[33]  Cf. T. Jelonek, Schemat Miszny, op.cit., pp. 5-6: The Mishnah is the written Oral Torah, which was done at the end of the first century after Christ. The Tosefta is a supplement to the Mishnah. Gemara is a commentary on the Mishnah, with two different Gemaras (compiled in two centers, in Babylonia and Jerusalem). The Talmud is a combination of Mishnah and Gemarah, with the Babylonian version being much larger (2447 Bomberg cards) and the Jerusalem version being smaller (626 cards). The Talmud scheme bases on the Mishnah scheme. Cf. also publications devoted to the creation of the Talmud, its literary structure, indicating literature about Talmud and literature needed to study it: S. Schechter, Talmud, [in:] J. Hasting (ed.), J. A. Selbie (assistant), A Dictionary of the Bible, Dealing with its Language, Literature, and Contents Including the Biblical Theology. Extra Volume Containing Articles, Indexes, and Maps, New York 1927, pp. 57-66; H. Danby, The Mishnah. Translated from the Hebrew with Introduction and Brief Explanatory Notes, op.cit., pp. XIII-XXXII (Introduction); A. Cohen, Talmud. Syntetyczny wykład na temat Talmudu i nauk rabinów dotyczących religii, etyki i prawodawstwa [Talmud. A Synthetic Lecture on the Talmud and Rabbis’ Teachings on Religion, Ethics and Legislation], translated by R. Gromadzka, Warszawa 1995; F. Brown, S. R. Driver, C.A. Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament with an Appendix Containing the Biblical Aramaic based on Lexicon of William Gesenius as translated by Edward Robinson, Oxford 1966, p. 435-436: Torah.
[34]  Cf. H. L. Strack, P. Billerbeck, Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrasch. Exkurse zu Einzelnen Stellen des Neuen Testaments Abhandlungen zur Neutestamentlichen Theologie und Archäologie in zwei Teilen, München 19562 I–IV (1-2); J. Bonsirven, Textes rabbiniques des deux premiers siècles chrétiens pour servir à l’inteligence du Nouveau Testament, Roma 1955; J. Drozd, Ostatnia Wieczerza nową Paschą, op.cit., p. 21-33.
[35]  Cf. Miszna – Pesachim, translated by R. Marcinkowski, op.cit., p. 177.
[36]  Based on the tractate itself, it is therefore not possible to explain the contemporary Passover rite since the understanding of tractate requires a knowledge of the logic according to which the rite is built.
[37]  Some equivalent translations of the Hebrew title into Polish: Hagada pesachowa, Hagada na Pesach, Hagada paschalna.
[38]  Cf. R. Cantalamessa, Pascha naszego zbawienia, op.cit., p. 35. The author also uses the term referring to the Christian liturgical book: “Ordo hebdomadae sanctae.”
[39]  Cf. C. Adler (ed.), The Jewish Encyclopedia (vol. I-XII), New York – London, 1901-1906, vol. I, pp. 141-146: Haggadah (shel Pesaḥ): Ritual for Passover eve. See on the Internet. Cf. also K. Kohler, The Yemen Haggadah, “The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures,” vol. 13, No. 3 (1897), pp. 234-239: the author discusses valuable publications in this field, shows the development of the tradition of Arabic Judaism in comparison with the tradition of Spanish and German Judaism; differences between traditions make it possible to reach the possibly original Haggadah text by scientific inference; B. S. Childs, The Book of Exodus. A Critical Theological Commentary, Philadelphia 1974, pp. 208-209: the author indicates the importance of the following texts for research: (a) rabbinical writings: Targumim, Midrashim, Mishnah, Tosefta, Haggadot and Talmudim, (b) non-rabbinical writings: papyri from Elephantine, Book of Jubilees, Book of Wisdom Solomon, works of Philo of Alexandria, Works of Flavius Josephus, Writings of Qumran, Samaritan Passover ritual. He also gives rich literature on the subject.
[40]  Cf. R. Cantalamessa, Pascha naszego zbawienia, op.cit., p. 35. In support of this vital thesis, the author as a patrologist indicates that some early Christian writers (2nd century after Christ) have already used the text of Haggadah: Melito of Sardis, Anonymous Quartodeciman. The author also refers to analyzes indicating in the Haggadah the presence of texts from before the Maccabean period (2nd century BC): Cf. L. Finkenstein, Pre-Maccabean Documents in the Passover Haggadah, “Harvard Theological Review” 35 (1942), 291-332; 36 (1943), 1-38. These data make it possible to correct the view expressed by J. Drozd that all known Haggadot come from not before the 10th-16th centuries: cf. J. Drozd, Ostatnia Wieczerza nową Paschą, op.cit., p. 23.
[41]  Cf. H. Węgrzynek, Hagada Pesachowa [Passover Haggadah], [in:] A. Cała, H. Węgrzynek, G. Zalewska, Historia i kultura Żydów polskich. Słownik [History and Culture of Polish Jews. Dictionary], Warszawa 2000, p. 109.
[42]  Cf. B. Fałczyk, Hagada, haggada, agada. Ikonografia [Hagada, Haggadah, Agada. Iconography], [in:] J. Walkusz (ed.), Encyklopedia katolicka [Catholic Encyclopedia], vol. 6, p. 470; C. Adler (ed.), The Jewish Encyclopedia, op. cit., vol. I, p. 142 (Haggadah).
[43]  Cf. P. Briks, Podręczny słownik hebrajsko-polski i aramejsko-polski Starego Testamentu, op.cit., p. 241: סֵדֶר.
[44]  Cf. הגדה שׁל פסח, Tel-Aviv 1958; הגדה שׁל פסח The Passover Haggadah. A faithful English rendering by A. Regelson, illustrated by Z. Kleinman, New York 1965; הגדה שׁל פסח Passover Haggadah with a new translation by Chaim Raphael, New York 1972; הַגָּדָה שֶל פֶסַח Hagada na Pesach. Na język polski przełożył Dyr. Salomon Spitzer, Tel-Aviv 1972; Hagada, reprint, op.cit. (Wiedeń 1927 / Warszawa 1991); הַגָּדָה שֶל פֶסַח S pomocí Boží nová pražská pesachová HAGADA s poučným výkladem a v překladu rabi Efraima K. Sidona a s učeným doslovm doktora Bedřicka Noska, Prague 1996; הגדה של פסח Haggada de Pessa’h, Brussels 1999; L. Ligier, Textus Liturgiae Judeorum, op.cit., p. 1-57, and in this p. 13-34: Sédèr Haggadah šèl Pèsaḥ seu ordo narrationis Paschae; S. Pecaric (ed.) הגדה של פסח Hagada na Pesach i Pieśń nad Pieśniami [Haggadah on Passover and Song of Songs], Kraków 2002, p. 62-230; S. P. de Vries, Obrzędy i symbole Żydów [Rituals and Symbols of the Jews], translated by A. Borowski, Kraków 1999, p. 181-189; J. Kanofsky, Przewodnik Pesachowy Fundacji Ronalda S. Laudera. Pesach 5763/2003 [Pesach Guide 5763/2003 from the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation], Warszawa 2003; R. Cantalamessa, Pascha naszego zbawienia, op.cit., p. 37-41; J. Drozd, Ostatnia Wieczerza nową Paschą, op.cit., p. 39-44; The Passover Hagadah – an English-language text of the Passover Haggadah, published by the Kehot Publication Society, published by Chabad-Lubavitch in electronic form on the Internet.
[45]  Cf. L. Ligier, Textus Liturgiae Judeorum, op.cit., pp. 33-34. Cf. also A. Cała, Sefardyjczycy [Sephardim], [in:] A. Cała, H. Węgrzynek, G. Zalewska, Historia i kultura Żydów polskich. Słownik, op.cit., pp. 300-301: Sephardim – followers of Judaism from the Iberian Peninsula (Spain, Portugal). In 1492 they had to leave Spain, from here they went to North Africa, the Near East, and the Balkans, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and America; A. Cała, Aszkenazyjczycy [Ashkenazim], [in:] Ibidem, p. 16: Ashkenazim were originally Jews from Germany; now the term includes Jews from Central and Eastern Europe.
[46]  Cf. B. Poniży, Księga Mądrości. Od egzegezy do teologii [Book of Wisdom. From Exegesis to Theology], Poznań 2000, pp. 10-12: the scientists assume the first century before Christ at the earliest, but no later than 40 years after Christ.
[47]  The following two realities should not be confused: “the Passover Supper” (i.e., the entire Passover liturgy, regulated by the “Passover Haggadah”), “the holiday feast” (i.e., the solemn supper not governed by any law, a part of the Passover Supper, 10th point of Seder, called שֻׁלְחָן עוֹרֵךְ).
[48]  Cf. הגדה של פסח Passover Haggadah with a new translation by Chaim Raphael, op.cit., p. 5.
[49]  Cf. P. Jędrzejewski, B. Krawcowicz; J. Kowalski (consultation), Pesach, Los Angeles – Warszawa 2006, p. 12-14. This scheme does not take into account the significant difference between the meaning of (a) the matzah as the bread of supper preceding Exodus and (b) the Afikoman as the bread of Exodus itself – as described in Chapter III of this work. See on the Internet: W. Kosek, Pierwotny ryt Paschy w świetle schematu literackiego Księgi Wyjścia 1-18, Kraków 2008.
[50]  Cf. L. Ligier, Textus Liturgiae Judeorum, op.cit., pp. 1-57; p. 15: 1st part, ending with the Afikoman making and recitation of “This is the bread of oppression”; p. 16-26: 2nd part, ending with the Afikoman eating after the feast; p. 26-29: 3rd part, ending with the door opening together with the request to pour out God’s wrath; p. 30-34: 4th part.
[51]  Cf. St. C. Napiórkowski, Jak uprawiać teologię [How to Practice Theology], Wrocław 1994, p. 126: the author emphasizes that it is the Holy Scripture that is the most fundamental, final, direct and closest source (fons proximus, immediatus) for creative theologian; it often allows him to discover something that has escaped attention so far, and even to state necessity of correcting some theological interpretations.
[52]  It is a characteristic of both the Jewish and Christian communities of faith that the liturgy and the Bible are interdependent, mutually enriching, and mutually explaining: cf. V. Howard, P. Lenoir, Żywe i skuteczne Słowo Boże. Wprowadzenie [The Living and Potent Word of God. Introduction], translated by K. Boboli, [in:] W. R. Farmer (ed.) and others, Międzynarodowy komentarz do Pisma Świętego: komentarz katolicki i ekumeniczny na XXI wiek, op.cit., p. 114; N. Bonneau, Biblia a liturgia [Bible and Liturgy], translated by K. Boboli, [in:] Ibidem, p. 117.
[53]  Cf. I. Pahl, Noc paschalna – “Matka wszystkich wigilii” – wykład gościnny w Instytucie Liturgicznym Papieskiej Akademii Teologicznej w Krakowie (30.04.1999) [Paschal Night – “Mother of all vigils” – Guest Lecture at the Liturgical Institute of the Pontifical Academy of Theology in Krakow (April 30, 1999)], translated by J. Zychowicz, “Ruch Biblijny i Liturgiczny” 52 (1999) No. 2, p. 133: the first Christians took over the celebration of Easter from the Jewish Passover and read ancient texts, especially: 1. Ex 12 about the Israeli Passover with the killing of the lamb, 2. Ex 14 about crossing the Red Sea. The passage was the dominated theme of the holiday.
[54]  Papyruses dating from 419 B.C., found on the island Elephantine in Egypt, clearly testify to the Jewish community’s observance of the laws contained in Ex 12: cf. P. Grelot, Etudes sur le ‘Papyrus Pascal’ d’Eléphantine, “Vetus Testamentum”, 4 (1954), pp. 349-384. For more on the law in Pentateuch in comparison with the law recorded on papyruses from Elephantine, see: E. Otto, Nachpriesterschriftliche Pentateuchredaktion im Buch Exodus, [in:] M. Vervenne (ed.), Studies in the Book of Exodus. Redaction – Reception – Interpretation, Leuven 1996, p. 69.
[55]  The route of the march is as follows: Ex 12:37; Num 33:5: They marched out from Ramses on 15th Abib and overnighted at Succoth. Ex 13:20; Num 33:6: They left Succoth on 16th Abib, overnighted at Etham. Ex 14:2; Num 33:7: they came out from Etham on 17th Abib, overnight at Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; it was the first evening of 18th Abib (the evening which begun the night of 18th Abib) when the Egyptians caught up the Israelites camping there. Ex 15:22f; Num 33:8: From Pihahiroth they set out on the 18th Abib at night, walked across the Sea of Reeds, and in the morning of the 18th Abib stood on the other side of the Sea of Reeds. After singing the hymn in honor of the Lord, the Israelites set out in the morning of 18th Abib and were going by three days: on the daytime of 18th Abib, and then on 19th Abib (in the evening, night and daytime), on 20th Abib (in the evening, night and daytime), and on the evening beginning 21st Abib, to spend night at Mara. Therefore, the end of the strenuous march is on the seventh day, counting from 15th Abib. Crossing by the sea falls on the fourth day, so it is in the middle of the time of the seven-day march. The Bible highlights in this way the importance of crossing by the Sea of Reeds. Cf. The Book of Jubilees, op.cit., No 49, 23: “For you celebrated this festival with haste when you went forth from Egypt till you entered into the wilderness of Shur; for on the shore of the sea, you completed it” (maybe Mara was by the sea). Contemporary commentators claim, however, that one celebrate the crossing by the Red Sea on the seventh day of the Passover. Cf H. Węgrzynek, Pesach, [in:] A. Cała, H. Węgrzynek, G. Zalewska, Historia i kultura Żydów polskich. Słownik, op.cit., p. 251; A. Unterman, Encyklopedia tradycji i legend żydowskich [Encyclopedia of Jewish Traditions and Legends], translated by O. Zienkiewicz, Warszawa 1998, p. 212.
[56]  Cf. J. L. Ska, “Our Fathers Have Told Us.” Introduction to the Analysis of Hebrew Narratives (Subsidia Biblica, 13), Roma 1990, p. 1: The author stresses that the first step in the analysis of a text is to read it in the original language.
[57]  The biblical publications pointing out the need to holistically read large parts of a text can be a preparation for such a statement. Cf. M. Noth, The Old Testament Library. Exodus. A Commentary, translated by J. S. Bowden, Philadelphia 1962, p. 11-12: the author notes that whenever the exodus is discussed in the Bible, the first thought is the miracle of salvation in the sea – it is therefore especially important! The narrative of the Book of Exodus aims at this summit (a miracle in the sea), although it first presents in great detail the plagues and the repeated negotiations with the Pharaoh. This part (plagues and negotiations), Noth claims, probably comes from the Paschal tradition, which is focused on saving the firstborn people and animals, protected from death by the Passover victim. The story of Moses was added to this part, Noth claims. The second primal theme of the Book of Exodus is theophany in Sinai. Between these two, there are narrations which, as Noth claims, belong to a separate theme of ‘miracles in the desert.’ They form a link between the exodus and the entry into the Promised Land. Cf. also p. 105: crossing the sea is at the heart of the theme ‘Exodus’; it is not merely the ending, but the top of the narrative, although much earlier, in Ex 12:41, the firm statement was made: “And they went out!” One cannot agree with all of Noth’ s ideas (especially the attempt to break down the canonical text into separate ‘themes’ is unacceptable – see below), but the thought about crossing by the sea is precious. Cf. also G. Fischer, Exodus 1-15 – eine Erzählung, [in:] M. Vervenne (ed.), Studies in the Book of Exodus, op.cit., p. 149. The author proves the necessity of a holistic reading of Ex 1-15. The very title of the article (Ex 1-15 as one story) indicates the thesis. Then (p. 149) he makes the following comparison: parts of the text can be seen as the steps of the stairs, that realize such a ‘process’: the announcement – the fulfillment, the question – the answer, the problem – the solution; this process is a thoughtful goal of the presented events of each text; that’s the way it is at Ex 1-15. In this spirit, the author then shows in each of the pericopes selected by him the presence of elements-themes common to a given pericope and one of the previous pericopes and one of the subsequent ones.
[58]  Cf. J. Warzecha, Recenzja książki: Otto Kaiser, Studien zur Literaturgeschichte des Alten Testaments, Würzburg 2000 [Review of the Book: Otto Kaiser, Studien zur Literaturgeschichte des Alten Testaments, Würzburg 2000], “Studia Theologica Varsaviensia “ 40 (2002) No 1, pp. 203-204.
[59]  Cf. The Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church, op.cit., point I. B. 1: it is worth to discover the characteristic features of the Semitic composition of texts (symmetrical compositions, parallelism, and others); point I. C. 2: it is worth to use Jewish ways of interpreting the Bible.
[60]  Cf. Ibidem, I. A. 2: “At the different stages of their production, the texts of the Bible were addressed to various categories of hearers or readers living in different places and different times.” However, from the perspective of several decades of development of the historical-critical method, one should state that the division of the Bible into separate texts of allegedly undisputable origin (J, E, P, D, J1, J2, …) was often unable to defend itself against arguments of constructive criticism. The proponents of such an approach themselves have repeatedly destroyed “undeniable” discoveries, replacing them with new ones. We should adopt from the method, above all, the extremely precious ban on ahistorical reading of the Word of God, because otherwise it seems to be either inherently contradictory ( this is how it appears to non-believers), or it seems to require coordinating everything with everything, even at the cost of abandoning common sense, which is characteristic of fundamentalist reading – cf. Ibidem, I. F.
[61]  Cf. Ibidem, I. A. 4.
[62]  Cf. Ibidem, II. B. 1: it must not be confused with ‘literalistic’ meaning, i.e., with the reading always ‘word for word’ (also when it is, for example, a metaphorical text). Cf. The Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Jewish People and their Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible, op.cit., II. A. 4.: “Return to the Literal Sense”: Thomas Aquinas states that a valid argument cannot be constructed from the allegorical sense; it can only be done from the literal sense. It means that the legitimate basis for theological proof is the literal (and not allegorical!) sense, correctly derived from the analyzed text. Cf. T. Jelonek, Wprowadzenie do lektury Biblii [Introduction to the Reading of the Bible], Kraków 2007, p. 132.
[63]  Cf. S. Hałas, Komputerowy program Bible Works w warsztacie biblisty [Computer Program ‘Bible Works’ in the Biblical Workroom], “Polonia Sacra” 2/46 (1998), p. 81-93; Idem, Komputerowy program «BibleWorks» – użyteczne narzędzie do badań biblijnych! [Computer Program ‘BibleWorks’ – a Useful Tool for Bible Research!], “Ruch Biblijny i Liturgiczny” 55 (2002) No 3, p. 239-246; Idem, Elektroniczna Biblia z najważniejszymi tekstami porównawczymi: «BibleWorks 6.0» [Electronic Bible with the Most Important Comparative Texts: «BibleWorks 6.0»], “Zeszyty Naukowe Stowarzyszenia Biblistów Polskich” 2 (2005), p. 303-316.
[64]  One should emphasize the exceptional contribution of scholars at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries to the elaboration and publication of numerous concordances. Cf. H. A. Redpath, Concordances, [in:] J. Hasting (ed.), J. A. Selbie (assistant), A Dictionary of the Bible, op.cit., p. 531. Cf. for example: G. Lisowsky, Konkordanz zum hebräischen Alten Testament, Stuttgart 1958; F. Zorell, Lexicon Hebraicum et Aramaicum Veteris Testamenti, Roma 1968; A. Even-Shoshan, A new concordance of the Bible. Thesaurus of the language of the Bible Hebrew and Aramaic roots, words, proper names, phrases and synonyms, t. I (כ – א), t. II (ת – ל), Jerusalem 1988; L. Koehler and others, Hebräisches und aramäisches Lexikon zum Alten Testament, Leiden 1990; D. J. A. Clines (ed.), The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew (volume I–V: א– נ), Sheffield 1995-2001; E. Hatch, H. A. Redpath, A Concordance to the Septuagint and the Other Greek Versions of the Old Testament (Including the Apocryphal Books), Graz 1954 – reprint of the publication: Oxford 1897.
[65]  Cf. T. Jelonek, Lingwistyka matematyczna [Mathematical Linguistics], [in:] T. Jelonek (ed.), Z badań nad Biblią [From Research on the Bible] (5), Kraków 2002, p. 170.
[66]  Cf. T. Jelonek, Znaczenie mistycznej tradycji żydowskiej dla chrześcijańskiego rozumienia Biblii na tle nauczania kościelnego [The Value of the Mystical Jewish Tradition for the Christian Understanding of the Bible Against the Background of Ecclesiastical Teaching], “Polonia Sacra” 9 / 53 (2001), p. 161-163; Idem, Chasydzi. Radośni mistycy żydowscy [Hasidim. Happy Jewish Mystics], Kraków 2007, p. 50-51.
[67]  Cf. J. Warzecha, Recenzja książki: Jeffrey Satinover, Kod Biblii. Ukryta prawda [Book Review: Jeffrey Satinover, Code of the Bible. Hidden Truth], translated by D. Konieczka, Bydgoszcz 1999, “Ruch Biblijny i Liturgiczny” 52 (1999), p. 372.
[68]  Cf. R. Cantalamessa, Pascha naszego zbawienia, op.cit., p. 16; A. Rolla, F. Ardusso, G. Ghiberti, G. Marocco, Enciclopedia della Bibbia [Encyclopedia of the Bible], Torino 1969-1971, vol. 5., col. 537: The Passover corresponds to the nomadic life of Israel (corrisponda vita nomade di Israel) but has taken on a new meaning in connection with the exodus. Cf. also H. Haag, Vom alten zum neuen Pascha. Geschichte und Theologie des Osterfestes (Stuttgarter Bibel-Studien, 49), Stuttgart 1971, p. 58-63: vom Nomadenpesach zum Pesach Israels; R. de Vaux, Instytucje Starego Testamentu, vol. I, op.cit., p. 500-503. There are, however, opposite opinions: cf. F. Rienecker, G. Maier; W. Chrostowski (scientific editor of the Polish edition), Leksykon biblijny [The Biblical Lexicon], Warszawa 1994, p. 591: “The often expressed view that before the Israeli Passover there was already some form of this feast as an annual spring festival of nomads is based only on considerations in the field of the history of culture and religion. There are no extrabiblical sources, either earlier or contemporary with the Bible, to support this hypothesis.” It is worth noting that a careful reading of the last two studies shows that de Vaux maintains the view of the two original feasts because he hypercritically interprets biblical texts, for example Deut 16:1-8: R. de Vaux, p. 497; F. Rienecker, p. 592. Cf. also T. A. Bryan, The New Compact Bible Dictionary, Michigan 1967, p. 173 (Feasts).
[69]  Cf. J. B. Segal, The Hebrew Passover, London 1963.
[70]  How significant and fruitful these studies are, especially in order to deepen the understanding of the liturgy, see: J. Chmiel, Żydowskie korzenie liturgii [Jewish Roots of Liturgy], “Ateneum Kapłańskie” 485 (1990), pp. 51-62.
[71]  One can fully explain the texts of the New Testament only based on the principle of biblical typology, the application of which was particularly characteristic of the Church Fathers; nowadays, this method is becoming an interpretative tool for exegetes: cf. S. Fedorowicz, Typologia biblijna według Jeana Daniélou [Biblical Typology According to Jean Daniélou], “Polonia Sacra” 6 / 50 (2000), pp. 69-89.
[72]  Cf. The Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Jewish People and their Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible, op.cit., II. A. 6; W. Eichrodt, Theology of the Old Testament, translated by J. A. Baker, vol. 1, Philadelphia 1961, p. 30.
[73]  Cf. T. Jelonek, Projekt wykładu teologii biblijnej [Biblical Theology Lecture Project] [in:] W. Chrostowski and others (ed.), Zeszyty Naukowe Stowarzyszenia Biblistów Polskich” 4 (2007), p. 265-268.
[74]  Cf. B. S. Childs, The Struggle to Understand Isaiah as Christian Scripture, Grand Rapids, Michigan – Cambridge 2004, p. 304-308. On p. 308, the author states unequivocally: “the Old Testament is not to be fused with the New, but the are also not to be separated.”
[75]  Cf. V. Korošec, Hethitische Staatsvertrage. Ein Beitrag zu ihrer juristischen Wertung, “Leipziger rechtswissenschaftliche Studien”, Heft 60, Leipzig 1931; J. A. Fitzmyer, The Aramaic Suzerainty Treaty from Sefire in the Museum of Beirut, “The Catholic Biblical Quarterly” 20 (1958), p. 444-476; O. H. Langkammer, Zagadnienia wstępne [Preliminary Issues], [in:] S. Łach (ed.), Wstęp do Starego Testamentu [Introduction to the Old Testament], Poznań – Warszawa 1973, p. 33; S. Łach, Pięcioksiąg [Pentateuch], [in:] Ibidem, p. 183-184; R. Lebrun, Religie Hetytów i Azji Mniejszej [Religions of Hittites and Asia Minor], translated by J. D. Artymowski, [in:] F. Lenoir, Y. Tardan – Masquelier (ed.), Encyklopedia religii świata [Encyclopedia of Religions of the World], vol. 1: Historia [History], Warszawa 2002, p. 75-84. F.-L. Hassfeld, E. Renter, Przymierze [Covenant], translated by B. Wodecki, [in:] F. König, H. Waldenfels (ed.), Leksykon religii, op.cit., p. 366-369.
[76]  Cf. T. Jelonek, Biblia księgą Kościoła [The Bible – the Book of the Church], part I, Kraków 1983, p. 91-98; S. Łach, Pięcioksiąg [Pentateuch], [in:] S. Łach (ed.), Wstęp do Starego Testamentu, op.cit., p. 185-186; J. F. Craghan, Księga Wyjścia [Book of Exodus], [in:] W. R. Farmer (ed.) and others, Międzynarodowy komentarz do Pisma Świętego, op.cit., p. 344.
[77]  Cf. T. Jelonek, Biblia księgą Kościoła [The Bible – the Book of the Church], part II, Kraków 1983, p. 34-36, 39-41; S. Łach, Księga Powtórzonego Prawa. Wstęp – przekład z oryginału – komentarz – ekskursy [Deuteronomy. Introduction – Translation from the Original – Commentary – Excursus], Poznań – Warszawa 1971, p. 41-42.
[78]  Cf. J. Warzecha, Dawny Izrael od Abrahama do Salomona [Old Israel from Abraham to Solomon], Warszawa 1995, p. 154f: the author points out that the Hittite covenants were the model for this religious covenant.
[79]  Cf. Ibidem, p. 155; M. Eliade, Sacrum – mit – historia [Sacrum – Myth – History], Warszawa 1974, p. 119.
[80]  Cf. N. Lohfink, Wolność i powtórzenie. Starotestamentalne rozumienie historii [Freedom and Repetition. Old Testament Understanding of History], p. 125, [in:] N. Lohfink, Pieśń chwały. Chrześcijanin a Stary Testament [Song of Glory. Christian and the Old Testament], translated by J. Doktór, Warszawa 1982, pp. 122-128.
[81]  Although Catholic exegesis may use this method with caution, it only is if the biblical scholar knows how to distinguish its good sides from its bad ones connected with the philosophical and doctrinal misconceptions of its founders. The proper achievements of this method include an in-depth study of literary genres of individual text units: Cf. Pontifical Biblical Commission, Sancta Mater Ecclesia. Instruction Concerning the Historical Truth of the Gospels, No. V: “scarcely admissible philosophical and theological principles have often come to be mixed with this method, which not uncommonly have vitiated the method itself as well as the conclusions in the literary area. For some proponents of this method have been led astray by the prejudiced views of rationalism. They refuse to admit the existence of a supernatural order and the intervention of a personal God in the world through strict revelation, and the possibility and existence of miracles and prophecies. Others begin with a false idea of faith, as if it had nothing to do with historical truth – or rather were incompatible with it. Others deny the historical value and nature of the documents of revelation almost a priori. […] All such views are not only opposed to Catholic doctrine, but are also devoid of scientific basis and alien to the correct principles of historical method.”
[82]  The history of the Pentateuch research from the 16th century to the present, along with the bibliography, with particular emphasis on diachronic methods, see: S. Mędala, Wprowadzenie ogólne do Pięcioksięgu [General Introduction to the Pentateuch], [in:] L. Stachowiak (ed.), Wstęp do Starego Testamentu [Introduction to the Old Testament], Poznań 1990, p. 53-64. Cf. also J. L. McKenzie, Dictionary of the Bible, op.cit., p. 653-657 (Pentateuch).
[83]  Cf. F. Rienecker, G. Maier et al., Leksykon biblijny [Biblical Lexicon], op.cit., pp. 414-415: the authors show the history of method development in a very reliable and genuinely rational way and indicate in detail the specific accusations made to its representatives by other scientists. Cf. also R. Rubinkiewicz, Nowe aspekty egzegezy biblijnej [New Aspects of Biblical Exegesis], [in:] R. Rubinkiewicz (transl. and ed.), Interpretacja Biblii w Kościele. Dokument Papieskiej Komisji Biblijnej z komentarzem biblistów polskich [Interpretation of the Bible in the Church. Document of the Pontifical Biblical Commission with a Commentary of Polish Biblical Scholars], Warszawa 1999, p. 104: author, member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, lists the main accusations against the historical-critical method, gives references to the subject literature. Particularly drastic is the objection, formulated by P. Stuhlmacher, that this method “is a child of Oświęcim and historicism. To some extent, it created a gap between the historical and theological understanding of the text.” The voice of two other biblical scholars is also valuable here: I. de la Potterie and A. Stock indicate the error of atomizing the biblical text, dealing with its prehistory while omitting the meaning of its final (canonical) form.
[84]  S. Wypych, Autor, źródła, kompozycja i struktura Księgi Jozuego [Author, Sources, Composition and Structure of the Book of Joshua], [in:] R. Bogacz, W. Chrostowski (ed.), Verbum caro factum est. Księga pamiątkowa dla Księdza Profesora Tomasza Jelonka w 70. rocznicę urodzin [Verbum Caro Factum est. Memorial Book for Professor Tomasz Jelonek on the 70th Birthday] (series: Ad Multos Annos, 11), Warszawa 2007, p. 497-516; J. Lemański, Pięcioksiąg dzisiaj [Pentateuch Today], Kielce 2002.
[85]  Cf. Pope Pius X, Encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis. The Pope warned against the ‘scientific’ shifting of fragments of Bible by modernist exegetes, writing about their rules in point 34 (How the Bible is Dealt With): “The traces of this evolution, they tell us, are so visible in the books that one might almost write a history of them. Indeed this history they do actually write, and with such an easy security that one might believe them to have with their own eyes seen the writers at work through the ages amplifying the Sacred Books. To aid them in this they call to their assistance that branch of criticism which they call textual, and labor to show that such a fact or such a phrase is not in its right place, and adducing other arguments of the same kind. They seem, in fact, to have constructed for themselves certain types of narration and discourses, upon which they base their decision as to whether a thing is out of place or not.”
[86]  Cf. F. V. Winnett, The Mosaic Tradition, Toronto 1949: On the one hand, the author is very capable of rejecting false premises underlying the ‘sources’ method. For example, he criticizes the assigning to one source the sentence in which Moses, using the staff of God, performs a miracle, and to another source (P) the sentence in which Aaron is the performer – cf. p. 4. He discovers that the differences result from the requirements of the storytelling composition and not from the idea/ideology of emphasizing the role of Moses or Aaron. On the other hand, however, he so consistently accepts other false premises that from the sacred text of Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy he does not hesitate to ‘cut out’ the texts he considers to be the original whole and give it the name ‘Mosaic Tradition’ – cf. pp. 173-206.
[87]  Cf. R. Zawadzki, Słowo Boże jako partner dialogu [Word of God as a Dialogue Partner], [in:] R. Bogacz, W. Chrostowski (ed.), Verbum caro factum est, op.cit., p. 523: The author vividly shares his experience of discovering the fact that lives the Word which he like a surgeon examining the corpse subjected to exegetical procedures! The result of this profound experience is the following statement: “No one is allowed to gag such a partner. One must not tell Him that He wanted to say something else than what He said. Also, one must not ‘close one’s ears’ to His words. Cf. also J. Kręcidło, “Piotrze, czy miłujesz mnie ponad wszystko?” Propozycja alternatywnej interpretacji πλέον τούτων w J 21:15 [“Peter, do You Love Me More than Anything?” Proposal for an Alternative Interpretation of πλέον τούτων in Jn 21:15], [in:] Ibid., p. 328: The author opposes the ‘exegesis’ of J. A. Bewer, who as a representative of historical-critical exegesis reedits the text in the name of the alleged knowledge of its original form, but de facto he subordinates the canonical text to the ideological assumptions of his method. Kręcidło states at the end, “The biblical text in its canonical form, taking into account a healthy criticism of available versions, is an inviolable value.”
[88]  The Bible leaves no doubt in this matter, and especially the Book of Exodus does this also. See W. Eichrodt, Theology of the Old Testament, vol. 2, translated by J. A. Baker, Philadelphia 1967, p. 164: revealed in Ex 7:11.22; 8:7.18; 9:11 the attempts of the Egyptian sorcerers to match for God and His miraculous signs made by Him through His servant Moses showed their complete powerlessness – the no-similarity of the pseudo-divine powers to God whose name is יְהוָה. Cf. also S. Hałas, Pustynia miejscem próby i spotkania z Bogiem. Wybrane zagadnienia biblijnej teologii pustyni [Desert as a Place of Trial and Meeting with God. Selected Issues of the Biblical Theology of Desert], Kraków 1999, p. 339-340. The author points out the methodological weakness of such exegesis, which explains as the myth (known in various religions) the biblical motif of the desert as a place of residence of God. The more straightforward explanation – according to Hałas – is in historical understanding: the Israelites went actually through the desert and experienced their encounters with God on it; it was not a myth, but a fact, a historical experience. Both the sacred writers and all the other people living in the Near East experienced the same desert realities. This shared experience explains the presence of the same geographical and natural elements in the Bible and the myths of neighboring cultures. It does not mean, however, that the way these elements are understood in the Bible is the same as in myths!
[89]  Cf. M. S. Smith, The Origins of Biblical Monotheism. Israel’s Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts, New York 2001, p. 14: the author claims that the Israelites in Canaan did not differ from other nations in terms of religious rituals. Although according to the Book of Exodus, they became people of Yahweh in Sinai by virtue of covenant made there, this image of Israelites as followers of monotheism comes from the monarchy period from priestly circles. The text, therefore, expresses their desire; it is an attempt to express the identity of Israel and not a description of the real situation. Similarly, the author perceives the error in the teaching of prophets: non-monotheistic practices seemed to them as a result of the influence of the surrounding nations, but facts were different: Israel has initially been polytheistic, so she was very slowly attaining full monotheism.
[90]  Cf. Ibidem, p. 146: The author ‘corrects’ the Scriptures by claiming that it was God El who led the Israelites out of Egypt, and then this act was attributed to Yahweh when the two gods were merged into one character! He quotes Num 23:22; 24:8. Cf. also p. 135: El was the principal god of the pantheon because in all Western Semitic languages the same word ‘El’ was used to denote a god. Cf. also p. 141: the author misinterprets Ex 6:2-3: the patriarchs worshiped God as El, but did not know Him as Yahweh: “This passage shows that Yahweh was unknown to the patriarchs. Rather they are depicted as worshippers of El.” About the possibility and necessity of a different understanding of Ex 6:2-3 see point 1.3.4.5. of this doctoral thesis.
[91]  Cf. T. Jelonek, Biblia w kulturze świata [The Bible in the Culture of the World], Kraków 2007, p. 73: the author discusses the problem of qualitative differences between two descriptions of the flood: in the Book of Genesis and that on the eleventh tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh from ancient Mesopotamia.
[92]  Cf. R. Hendel, The Exodus in Biblical Memory, “Journal of Biblical Literature” 120/4 (2001), p. 601-602: the author appreciates Albright’s accurate factual approach (cf. W. F. Albright, Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan: A Historical Analysis of Two Contrasting Faiths, New York 1968, p. 164). Hendel states with bitterness the fact that many scientists departed from Albright’s view: “Recent decades have seen a diminution of William F. Albright’s confidence that the exodus was undoubtedly a historical event”, simultaneously indicating several representatives of the misinterpretation: J. M. Miller, J. H. Hayes, A History of Ancient Israel and Judah, Philadelphia 1986, p. 67-68, 78; J. A. Soggin, An introduction to the History of Israel and Judah, London 1993, p. 26-27, 108-139.
[93]  Cf. T. Stanek, Kto jest bogiem w Egipcie – analiza retoryczna Ex 6:2-9:35 [Who is a God in Egypt – Rhetorical Analysis of Ex 6:2-9:35], “Poznańskie Studia Teologiczne” 19 (2005), p. 9-11: the author gives a rich bibliography and effectively opposes such tendencies through reliable synchronic analysis.
[94]  Cf. R. Rubinkiewicz, Powstanie Pięcioksięgu w świetle najnowszych badań [The Uprising of the Pentateuch in Light of the Latest Research], “Roczniki Teologiczne” 46 (1999) z. 1, p. 111; W. Chrostowski, Ogród Eden. Zapoznane świadectwo asyryjskiej diaspory [The Garden of Eden. Recognized Testimony of the Assyrian Diaspora], Warszawa 1996, p. 226-230.
[95]  Cf. T. Brzegowy, Najnowsze teorie na temat powstania Pięcioksięgu – próba oceny [Recent Theories on the Origins of the Pentateuch – an Attempt to Evaluate], “Collectanea Theologica” 72 (2002), p. 11-44. 12, 39-40; R. N. Whybray, Introduction to the Pentateuch, Grand Rapids, Michigan 1995, p. 1-2: the author opposes the questioning of the traditional division of the Old Testament into three groups (Pentateuch, Earlier Prophets, Latter Prophets) by stating that there are serious grounds for its maintenance, because: The Book of Genesis speaks about the persons and events preceding Moses, Ex 2:2 speaks about the birth of Moses, Deut 34:5 about his death; from a human standpoint Moses is the central figure of Ex-Deut;     J. L. Ska, Le Pentateuque: état de recherche, “Biblica” 77 (1996), p. 245-247: without questioning the method itself, the author discusses four main divergent theories regarding the origin of the Pentateuch, which represent the following persons: 1. Whybray – argues in favor of synchronic reading of the entire Pentateuch as one coherent narrative, 2. Blenkinsopp – distinguishes two significant collections, deuteronomistic and priestly; the inspiration for him are the works of the Heidelberg school, i.e., Rendtorff, Blum, Albertz and Crüsemann, 3. Campbell and O’Brien modeled after the classic theory of Wellhausen, developing ideas of Noth, 4. Zenger – takes an intermediate position between the theory of sources and that of the Heidelberg school, especially F. Crüsemann; he speaks about three collections: pre-priestly, priestly, deuteronomistic.
[96]  Cf. B. Lemmelijn, Setting and Function of Exod 11:1-10 in the Exodus Narrative [in:] M. Vervenne (ed.), Studies in the Book of Exodus. Redaction – Reception – Interpretation, Leuven 1996, p. 443-460. The author on pp. 447-448 quotes many divergent scientific opinions on the assignment of particular verses of chapter 11 of the Book of Exodus to the original sources or traditions. Then on pp. 449-456 she examines the literary context, content, and literary motifs of the canonical text of this chapter, showing its editorial composition. This approach ultimately allows (pp. 456-460) to discover the significance of Ex 11 for the reading of the adjoining chapters of the Book of Exodus.
[97]  This is a noteworthy methodological proposal capable of overcoming the limitations of the historical-critical methods noted by B. S. Childs, namely the uncertainty and hypotheticality (at least in some of the stages assumed by the researchers) of the historical process that led from the original forms to the final canonical text; the author himself proposes and develops here a different method – the ‘canonical exegesis’: cf. B. S. Childs, The New Testament as Canon. An Introduction, London 1984, p. 42, 48-53.
[98]  Cf. W. Chrostowski, Prorok wobec dziejów. Interpretacje dziejów Izraela w Księdze Ezechiela 16, 20 i 23 oraz ich reinterpretacja w Septuagincie [Prophet Towards History. Interpretations of the History of Israel in the Book of Ezekiel 16, 20 and 23 and their Reinterpretation in the Septuagint], Warszawa 1991: see, for example, the analysis of ‘historicizing reworkings’ in Ezek 16, 6-7: pp. 164ff; S. Hałas, Pustynia miejscem próby, op.cit., p. 252, footnote 35: the author indicates that the text of the Book of Exodus in the Hebrew Bible is longer than in the Septuagint. It occurs from it that the subsequent redactor made additions in the original Hebrew text consistent with his theological assumptions; such processed text was translated into Greek.
[99]  Cf. M. Vervenne, Current Tendencies and Developments in the Study of the Book of Exodus, [in:] M. Vervenne (ed.), Studies in the Book of Exodus, op.cit., p. 35-36. The author points out that in the Hebrew Bible, Ex 13:21 is consistent with Neh 9:12.19 and is longer than Ex 13:21 in Septuagint, consistent with Deut 1:33 in the Hebrew Bible. On this basis, he concludes that Ex 13:21-22 in the Hebrew Bible may reflect the work done by the final editor, who has harmonized the text from the Priestly tradition with the Deuteronomic tradition.
[100]  Cf. J. L. Ska, Introduzione alla lettura del Pentateuco, Roma 1998, p. 164 – quoted from: R. Rubinkiewicz, Powstanie Pięcioksięgu w świetle najnowszych badań, art. cit., p. 118. As an example of combining a synchronic method with a diachronic analysis, see: D. Dziadosz, Przejście przez morze – aktywna obecność Boga kreująca Izrael (Ex 13:17-14:31) [Passing by the Sea – the Active Presence of God Creating Israel (Ex 13:17-14:31)], “Verbum Vitae” 6 (2004), p. 71-92.
[101]  Cf. J. Wagenaar, Crossing the Sea of Reeds (Exod 13-14) and the Jordan (Josh 3-4). A Priestly Framework for the Wilderness Wandering, [in:] M. Vervenne (ed.), Studies in the Book of Exodus, op.cit., p. 462-463.
[102]  Cf. M. Vervenne, The Question of ‘Deuteronomic’ Elements in Genesis to Numbers, [in:] F. García Martínez – A. Hilhorst – J. T. A. G. M. van Ruiten – A. S. van der Woude (ed.), Studies in Deuteronomy in Honour of C. J. Labuschagne on the Occasion of His 65th Birthday (SVT, 53), Leiden – New York – Köln 1994, p. 245 – I follow J. Wagenaar, Crossing the Sea, op.cit., p. 463.
[103]  Cf. J. E. Owens, Book Reviews: George W. Coats, Exodus 1-18 (FOTL 2A; Grand Rapids/Cambridge: Eerdmans, 1999), “The Catholic Biblical Quarterly” 62/1 (2000), p. 113-114. The author of the commentary so appraises Professor Coats’ book: “The volume is clearly the fruit of much labor and adds to the form-critical analysis of Exodus. However, in the period between Coats’ submission of the first draft in 1972 and the publication of the book in 1999 literary analysis (rhetorical, sociocultural, narrative-critical, etc.) has broadened the scholarly discussion of structures and individual units in biblical texts. More recent studies have moved beyond a focus on strictly form-critical units to the final text.”
[104]  Cf. D. J. A. Clines, What Does Eve Do to Help? and Other Readerly Questions to the Old Testament (Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series, 94), Sheffield 1990, p. 10.
[105]  Cf. W. Eichrodt, Theology of the Old Testament, op.cit., vol. 1, p. 31: “It is high time that the tyranny of historicism in OT studies was broken and the proper approach to our task re-discovered.” Cf. also S. Szymik, Podejście kanoniczne w interpretacji Pisma Świętego [Canonical Approach in the Interpretation of the Holy Scriptures], “Roczniki Teologiczne” 49 (2002) w. 1, p. 27.
[106]  Cf. J. Ratzinger, Preface to the document of Pontifical Biblical Commission “The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church”: “The Pontifical Biblical Commission, in its new form after the Second Vatican Council, is not an organ of the teaching office, but rather a commission of scholars who, in their scientific and ecclesial responsibility as believing exegetes, take positions on important problems of Scriptural interpretation and know that for this task they enjoy the confidence of the teaching office.
[107]  Cf. Pope John Paul II, Address on the Interpretation of The Bible in The Church [in:] J. A. Fitzmyer, The Biblical Commission’s document “The interpretation of the Bible in the Church”: text and commentary (series: Subsidia biblica, 18), Roma 1995, p. 1-10: “The Church is not afraid of scientific criticism. She distrusts only preconceived opinions that claim to be based on science, but which in reality surreptitiously cause science to depart from its domain” (p. 3). “The Catholic exegete does not entertain the individualist illusion leading to the belief that one can better understand the biblical texts outside the community of believers. The contrary is true […]” (p. 7).
[108]  Cf. J. Ratzinger, Preface to The Document of Pontifical Biblical Commission The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church: “the genuine author, God, is removed from the reach of a method which was established for understanding human reality […] Everything that shrinks our horizon and hinders us from seeing and hearing beyond that which is merely human must be opened up.”
[109]  The General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, Lineamenta for XII Ordinary General Assembly. The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church, No 8 c. See on the Internet.
[110]  Cf. Vatican Council II, Dogmatic Constitution On Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum), 11a.
[111]  The Holy Father Benedict XVI dedicated his book to defending the historical value of the Bible. Cf. also the teaching of Cardinal Karol Wojtyła on the misinterpretation of the basic message of Dei Verbum, cited by J. Kozyra, Sobór Watykański II o Biblii [Second Vatican Council about the Bible], [in:] T. Jelonek (ed.), Sto lat Kościelnego nauczania o Biblii. Materiały z Colloquium Biblicum [One Hundred Years of Church Teaching about the Bible. Materials from Colloquium Biblicum], Kraków 1993, p. 35: “God’s Revelation, in its essence, consists in the revelation that God gives about Himself. It is necessary to have before one’s eyes, and not only the means of expression or the sources of Revelation.” [Objawienie Boże polega więc w swej istocie na objawieniu Siebie ze strony Boga. To trzeba mieć przed oczyma, a nie tylko same środki wyrazu czy źródła Objawienia].
[112]  Among the significant works of this biblical scholar one should mention: Biblical Theology in Crisis, Philadelphia 1970; The Book of Exodus. A Critical Theological Commentary, Philadelphia 1974; Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture, London 1983; Old Testament Theology in Canonical Context, Philadelphia 1989; The New Testament as Canon. An Introduction, London 1984; Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testament, London 1992; The Struggle to Understand Isaiah as Christian Scripture, Grand Rapids, Michigan – Cambridge 2004.
[113]  Cf. Ibidem, p. 321: “To speak of the privileged state of the canonical form is not to disregard Israel’s past history. However, it refuses to fuse the canonical process of the shaping of the witness of the prophets and apostles with an allegedly (underscore of W. Kosek) objective scientific reconstruction that uses a critical filter to eliminate those very features that constitute its witness, namely, the presence of God in the history of Israel and the church”. See also on pp. 319-320 the history of exegesis that led to this secular, non-biblical understanding of biblical history!
[114]  Cf. Ibidem, p. 229: “The early level was natural; the latter was supernatural. The canonical redactor operates as a critical judgment against such a move and bears witness to how the separate parts which comprise the full tradition are to be understood”.
[115]  Cf. L. Roy, Wyzwolenie – wolność. Nota uzupełniająca [Liberation – Freedom. Supplementary Note], [in:] X. Léon-Dufour (ed.), Słownik teologii biblijnej, op.cit., pp. 1003-1104.
[116]  Cf. T. Jelonek, Chasydzi. Radośni mistycy żydowscy, op.cit., an excerpt from the cover of the book: “A student came to his master, and the master asks him: – What have you learned? – The student replied: – I have been rethinking the entire Talmud three times. – The master asked: – However, has the Talmud rearranged your thinking?” [Uczeń przyszedł do swego mistrza, a ten go pyta: – Czego się nauczyłeś? – Uczeń odpowiedział: – Przerobiłem trzy razy cały Talmud. – A mistrz na to: – Ale czy Talmud przerobił ciebie?].
[117]  T. Lenhard (editor), R. J. Rombs (assistant), T. C. Oden (general editor), Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, op.cit., p. 74. Caesarius of Arles then explains: God wanted this sign to let us know what secret the future tree (of Jesus’ cross) is, figuratively announced by the tree of the Moses’ staff.
[118]  Cf. G. E. Wright, Exodus, Book of, [in:] G. A. Buttrick and others, The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible. An Illustrated Encyclopedia: identifying and explaining all proper names and significant terms and subjects in the holy scriptures, including the apocrypha: with attention to archeological discoveries and researches into the life and faith of ancient times, Nashville 1991, vol. 2, p. 193. Quite differently (source E only) is given by S. Mędala, Wprowadzenie ogólne do Pięcioksięgu, op.cit., p. 69.
[119]  Cf. S. Mędala, Wprowadzenie ogólne do Pięcioksięgu, op.cit., p. 69.
[120]  Cf. G. E. Wright, Exodus, Book of, op.cit., p. 193.
[121]  Cf. S. Mędala, Wprowadzenie ogólne do Pięcioksięgu, op.cit., p. 65; G. E. Wright, Exodus, Book of, op.cit., p. 193.
[122]  Cf. S. Mędala, Wprowadzenie ogólne do Pięcioksięgu, op.cit., p. 68 (emphasis on the salvific action of God; it is not patriarchs who are all-powerful, but God).
[123]  Cf. Ibidem, p. 70 (E: the emphasizing of the role of significant historical figures), p. 75 (P: the emphasizing of the transcendence of God).
[124]  Cf. S. Wypych, Autor, źródła, kompozycja i struktura Księgi Jozuego, op.cit., pp. 509-510: the author discusses here the exegetical achievements of R. G. Boling, who opposed the opinions of Noth (Noth argued without justification from the point of view of the historical value of the Bible that Joshua was late inserted into the narration of the Book of Joshua, viz. in the last phase of the editorial process). Boling discovered that in the concept of the Deuteronomist was Joshua a charismatic tool in the hands of God, to whom he owes his victories; God is their principal causative cause.
[125]  Cf. S. Mędala, Wprowadzenie ogólne do Pięcioksięgu, op.cit. p. 65, 69; G. E. Wright, Exodus, Book of, op.cit., p. 193; J. Scharbert, Exodus (Die Neue Echter Bibel. Kommentar zum Alten Testament mit der Einheitsübersetzung, 24), Würzburg 1989, p. 61.
[126]  Cf. J. Wagenaar, Crossing the Sea, op.cit., p. 469, footnote number 19; see also p. 464, 470.
[127]  Cf. J. V. Seters, The Life of Moses. The Yahwist as Historian in Exodus – Numbers (CBET, 10), Kampen 1994, p. 131-132.
[128]  Cf. J. Wagenaar, Crossing the Sea, op.cit., p. 469-470.
[129]  Cf. Ibidem, p. 470: “The crossing of the Sea Reeds as the counterpart of the crossing of the Jordan is an invention of the Priestly writer. In his view the crossing of the Sea of Reeds and the Jordan mark the beginning and the end of wilderness wandering. The Priestly writer solemnly frames these events by the rituals of circumcision and Passover”.
[130]  Cf. P. Kahn, Moses at the Waters of Meribah: A Case of Transference, “Jewish Bible Quarterly” 35/2 (2007), p. 88-89.
[131]  Cf. H. Marks, Biblical Naming and Poetic Etymology, “Journal of Biblical Literature” 114/1 (1995), p. 33: “A seemingly innocuous word here signals by allusion a fundamental offense against the principle of human dependency. Betrayed by his own etymological history, Moses will be buried and left behind in Midian for profanely referring to himself and Aaron as the ones who ‘bring forth’ or ‘draw out’”.
[132]  Cf. D. J. McCarthy, Plagues and the Sea of Reeds: Exodus 5-14, “Journal of Biblical Literature”, 85 (1966), p. 137.
[133]  Cf. J. I. Durham, Exodus (Word Biblical Commentary, 3), Waco, TX 1987.
[134]  Cf. C. Houtman, Exodus vertaald en verklaard, vol. I: Exodus 1,1-7,13 (COT), Kampen 1986; Idem, Exodus vertaald en verklaard, vol. II: Exodus 7,14-19,25 (COT), Kampen 1989; Idem, Exodus vertaald en verklaard, vol. III, Exodus 20-40 (COT), Kampen 1996.
[135]  Cf. M. Vervenne, Current Tendencies and Developments, op.cit., p. 29: “This is not to say, however, that they do not pay any attention to the literary history of the book. In their analysis of the narratives they often go into a full consideration of the irregularities demonstrated by the text. In their view these phenomena may point a complex process of growth. They remain rather reticent, however, with regard to the identification of literary strata.”
[136]  Cf. Joseph Ratzinger – Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth. Part 1: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration, translated from the German by Adrian J. Walker, New York – London – Toronto – Sydney – Auckland 2007, p. xxi-xxiii. The description of the applied methodology is here particularly meaningful: “I take for granted everything that the Council and modern exegesis tell us about literary genres, about authorial intention, and about the fact that the Gospels were written in the context, and speak within the living milieu, of communities. I have tried, to the best of my ability, to incorporate all of this, and yet I wanted to try to portray the Jesus of the Gospels as the real, ‘historical’ Jesus in the strict sense of the word. I am convinced, and I hope the reader will be, too, that this figure is much more logical and, historically speaking, much more intelligible than the reconstructions we have been presented with in the last decades. I believe that this Jesus – the Jesus of the Gospels – is a historically plausible and convincing figure. […] I have merely tried to go beyond purely historical-critical exegesis so as to apply new methodological insights that allow us to offer a properly theological interpretation of the Bible. To be sure, this requires faith, but the aim unequivocally is not, nor should be, to give up serious engagement with history.”
[137]  It is a citation from the book: R. Schnackenburg, Die Person Jesu Christi im Spiegel der vier Evangelien [Jesus in the Gospels: A Biblical Christology] Herder 1993, p. 349. It is worth noting this opinion in order to avoid the illusion that the historical-critical method in the end, as a result of the continuous process of its improvement, will learn truly rational principles of dividing the text into primary units according to sources of their origin. This process does not lead to such a goal because the discussions will never end.
[138]  One should not equate the intention of the biblical writer with his psychical states accompanying writing but above all with “his will to communicate the message”: cf. J. Chmiel, Intencja autora jako zasada hermeneutyczna. Przyczynek do teologii natchnienia biblijnego [Intention of the Author as a Hermeneutical Principle. Contribution to the Theology of Biblical Inspiration], “Ruch Biblijny i Liturgiczny” 32 (1979), p. 6. The author notes then (p. 11) very aptly that the document “Dei Verbum”, proclaimed during the deliberations of the Second Vatican Council, in points 12 and 19 contains wording ‘intention of biblical writers’ or ‘intention of evangelists,’ but not ‘intention of God.’ In such a way the Fathers of the Council deliberately did not identify the intention of the biblical writer with the intention of God as Author, leaving open for further research the problem of ‘the fuller sense.’ God can put in a text more than biblical writer consciously includes.
[139]  Cf. The discussion of exegetical methods and problems, presented by M. Vervenne, president of the 44th Colloquium Biblicum Lovaniense, which took place in 1995: M. Vervenne, Introduction, [in:] M. Vervenne (ed.), Studies in the Book of Exodus, op.cit., p. 5-8. The article presents the following scholars and their views: 1. pp. 5-6: E. Otto: The Pentateuch is not a compromise between the Dtr tradition (deuteronomistic) and the P tradition (priestly), but manifests the post-priestly redaction, the author of which adapted the priestly concepts to the deuteronomistic ones; 2. p. 7: F. Polak: The Book of Exodus is thematically uniform because it presents the development of the revelation of God: from private revelation to Moses, through public revelation at Sinai, anti-revelation of the golden calf, private one to Moses in Ex 33-34, to the descent of the cloud of glory of God onto the tabernacle; 3. p. 7: G. Fischer: Ex 1-15 does not contain any text from the source/redaction P (priestly); the individual fragments in Ex 1-15, previously understood as P, should be considered as ‘the voice of the narrator’ (Stimme des Erzählers); Ex 1-15 one must consider as a homogeneous story (einheitliche Erzählung); 4. p. 7-8: P. Weimar opposes to the contemporary divisions of Ex 1:1-2:25 into several independent fragments and shows that it is a coherent text composed of three two-part elements: α). 1:1-7 + 1:8-14; β). 1:15-17 + 1:18-21; γ). 1:22-2:4 + 2:5-10, of which the central element 1:15-21 is the center of thematic and verbal symmetry (Symmetrizentrum), surrounded by the outer elements 1:1-14 and 1:22-2:10. At the same time, Ex 1:1-2:25 is an introduction to the whole book and its fundamental issues.
[140]  Cf. G. Fischer, Exodus 1-15 – eine Erzählung, op.cit., p. 149. The author refers to publications: E. Blum, Studien zur Komposition des Pentateuch (BZAW, 189), Berlin 1990 – Blum does, of course, take into account the editorial work and later additions; C. Houtman, Der Pentateuch. Die Geschichte seiner Erforschung neben einer Auswertung, Kampen 1994. It was Houtman who stated (p. 419) peremptorily that the theory of sources/layers does not explain anything about the origins of the Pentateuch: “Die Quellentheorie vermag keine Antwort auf die Frage nach der Entstehung des Pentateuch zu leisten”.
[141]  Cf. B. S. Childs, Old Testament Theology in Canonical Context, op.cit., p. 5: “In sum, it seems neither unfair nor an exaggeration to conclude that the field has run into a stalemate. In spite of the impressive legacy from the last generation for which one can only be grateful, the need is acute for a fresh proposal which can at least begin to point in a direction for overcoming the present impasse”; M. Vervenne, Current Tendencies and Developments, op.cit., p. 22-23; W. Chrostowski, Kościół i Biblia. Katolicka interpretacja Pisma Świętego a egzegeza historyczno-krytyczna [Church and Bible. The Catholic Interpretation of Scripture Versus Historical-Critical Exegesis], [in:] W. Chrostowski and others (ed.), “Zeszyty Naukowe Stowarzyszenia Biblistów Polskich” 4 (2007), p. 221-241.
[142]  Cf. Pope Benedict XV, Encyclical Spiritus Paraclitus, 22: “history […] must square with the facts since history is the written account of events as they actually occurred.” Then the Pope notes that the Bible does not contain “pseudo-historical narratives” or “such kinds of literature [which] cannot be reconciled with the entire and perfect truth of God’s word” (No. 26). Cf. on the Internet. Cf. Pope  Pius XII, Encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu, 1: The Pope remind about “this solemn definition of Catholic doctrine, by which such divine authority is claimed for the ‘entire books with all their parts’ as to secure freedom from any error whatsoever.” Cf. on the Internet. Cf. Vatican Council II, Dogmatic Constitution On Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum), 11 b.
[143]  Ibidem, 11 a.
[144]  Such pseudo-methodological ‘interpretation’ of the Holy Scriptures is unfortunately characteristic of many contemporary exegetes who work in the spirit of poorly understood historical-critical exegesis.
[145]  It is not an easy task, seeing that during the work on the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation the tendency to intellectual and spiritual ‘escape’ from the consistent adoption by exegetes of the historical dimension of the Bible texts became apparent: cf. J. Kozyra, Sobór Watykański II o Biblii, op.cit., p. 40-41: “In the constitution scheme prepared for the final vote, there was no term ‘historicity of the Gospel’ (historicitas Evangeliorum). The Commission avoided it by replacing it with the term ‘truly and faithfully’ (vera et sincera). The names ‘history’ and ‘historical’ (history et historica) are ambiguous for the modern man. However, it could cause not only astonishment but also serious confusion that it is the reason for the rejection of the established and long-adopted terminology. It was the opinion of many Fathers of the Council and Pope Paul VI himself. The Pope at the last stage of the proceedings in the Conciliar Commission demanded the inclusion of the word ‘historicity’ into the text regarding the Gospel. How this historicity should be understood is indicated by the text of the Constitution itself (no. 19): ‘the four Gospels just named, whose historical character the Church unhesitatingly asserts, faithfully hand on what Jesus Christ, while living among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation.’
[146]  Studying the structure of the text of Septuagint goes beyond the scope of a single publication. However, it is worth undertaking such research in the future in order to compare the results obtained. It would be an essential contribution to the discussion on the value of Septuagint as a text: inspired or only translated? One should not forget the unquestionably inspired character of those books of the canon recognized by the Church, which do not occur in the Hebrew Bible but only in Septuagint. See the value of Septuagint: W. Chrostowski, Żydowskie tradycje interpretacyjne pomocą w zrozumieniu Biblii [Jewish Interpretation Traditions as a Help in Understanding the Bible], [in:] R. Rubinkiewicz, Interpretacja Biblii w Kościele. Dokument Papieskiej Komisji Biblijnej z komentarzem biblistów polskich, op. cit., p. 37, 140; K. Mielcarek, Ku nowej koncepcji natchnienia [Towards a New Concept of Inspiration], “Roczniki Teologiczne” 48 (2001) z. 1, pp. 5-25; B. S. Childs, Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture, op. cit., p. 98-100: Septuagint has always been considered to be dependent on the Hebrew text of the Bible, and this means that it could not question its essential content. In this way, the analysis of Septuagint helps to understand the essential content of the Hebrew text; J. L. Mckenzie, Dictionary of the Bible, op.cit., pp. 786-788 (Septuagint); T. Jelonek, Prorocy Starego Testamentu [Prophets of the Old Testament], Kraków 1993, pp. 65-66.
[147]  Cf. J. Warzecha, Nowe spojrzenie na Psalmy. Wokół książki L. Alonso-Schökela: Treinta Salmos, Madrid 1981 [A New Look at Psalms. Around the book by L. Alonso-Schökel: Treinta Salmos, Madrid 1981], “Studia Theologica Varsaviensia” 22 (1984) No. 1, p. 197-201. Author of the article shows how L. Alonso Schökel, the lecturer of the Old Testament at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, overcame the limitations of the method of genres by Gunkel, becoming the precursor of the well-understood role of the exegete in assimilating the content of the inspired text: through the study of its particular literary form, one reaches the content intended by the biblical writer; see also J. Warzecha, Analiza strukturalna w egzegezie psalmów [Structural Analysis in the Exegesis of Psalms], “Studia Theologica Varsaviensia” 26 (1988), p. 54-66. 61.
[148]  Cf. Ibidem, p. 61: the author discusses the work: M. Girard, Les Psaumes. Analyse sructurelle et interprétation, Montreal – Paris 1984; on pp. 56-57, J. Warzecha thoroughly comments and highlights the main assumptions of the work that influenced the proper development of exegesis: L. Alonso Schökel, Treinta Salmos. Poesia y oración, Madrid 1981: research has shown that H. Gunkel, the creator of the Formgeschichte method, limiting himself to the study of literary genres and the living environment, was unable to discover the composition principles of individual psalms, because each of them can be uniquely built. Alonso has shown that the literary medium of meaning is also relations (chiastic, alternating, concentric) between the elements of the structure of the work, and not just the words, sentences, or motifs.
[149]  Cf. S. Hałas, Analiza retoryczna [Rhetorical Analysis], [in:] T. Jelonek (ed.), Z badań nad Biblią (2), op.cit., p. 25-38. Following R. Meynet, the author presents the leading authors of this direction: R. Lowth and J. A. Bengel, who created their works in the 17th century. He also gives the results of their analyses. He points out that parallelisms (synonymic, antithetic, synthetic) and concentric structures are typical for Semitic composition techniques; they can be connected not only with verses but also with larger fragments of text. The author gives numerous examples of biblical structures. Cf. T. A. Bryan, The New Compact Bible Dictionary, op.cit., p. 434 (Parallelism): “Parallelism [is] a characteristic of OT Hebrew verse, which has neither rhyme nor meter.”
[150]  Cf. A. Vanhoye, La structure littéraire de l’épître aux Hébreux, Paris 1976.
[151]  Cf. also in the English translation of the above work: A. Vanhoye, Structure and Message of the Epistle to the Hebrew (Subsidia Biblica, 12), translated by J. Swetnam, Roma 1989, p. V (Preface): On p. 20, the author details various text structuring techniques. Cf. also discussion of this work and method: S. Hałas, Analiza struktury literackiej drogą do lepszego zrozumienia tekstu biblijnego [The Literary Structure Analysis as a Way to Better Understand the Biblical Text], [in:] R. Rubinkiewicz, Interpretacja Biblii w Kościele. Dokument Papieskiej Komisji Biblijnej z komentarzem biblistów polskich, op.cit., pp. 117-130.
[152]  Cf. St. Augustine, De Doctrina Christiana, III, 18, 26: PL 34, 75-76; CSEL 80,95 – I follow: Vatican Council II, Dogmatic Constitution On Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum), 12.
[153]  Cf. S. Pecaric (red.), סידור שערי תשובה Sidur. Modlitewnik żydowski. Szaarej Teszuwa według obyczaju aszkenazyjskiego [Siddur. Jewish Prayer Book. Shaarei Teshuva According to Ashkenazi Custom], Warszawa 2005.