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Scrolls of the Torah (meaning teaching in Hebrew) or Pentateuch (meaning five scrolls in Greek).  Photo credit: Lawrie Cate, Wikimedia Commons

Notes and Essays on

the Pentateuch (Torah)


From Garden to Exile: 

A Thematic and Canonical Analysis of the Old Testament


Torah:  Chiastic Structure of the Torah


Torah:  Does the Bible Have Evidence of God's Design? 

A Sociological Glance


Torah:  Slavery in the Bible, Slavery Today (and ppt)


Torah:  Is God a Misogynist? 

Women in the Pentateuch (ppt part 1 and part 2)


Torah:  The Theme of Fire in the Pentateuch


Torah:  Atonement in the Pentateuch

long essay exploring biblical passages and themes which emerge from the Pentateuch; makes an argument for medical substitution see some blog posts for this material in shorter sections


Torah:  God as Dialysis Machine: The Sacrificial Calendar as the Renewal of the Covenant and the Retelling of Moses’ Mediation on Mount Sinai

a table distilling previous work on the sacrificial system on the theme of purification; compares Moses' ascent up Mount Sinai to the high priest's entrance into the holy of holies; argues that the sacrificial system foreshadows Jesus as a medical substitute, not a penal substitute; lists patristic sources that also interpret the sacrifices as a medical, cleansing, and purifying expression


Genesis:  The Creation Account in Genesis and Tolkien's Silmarillion


Genesis:  Literary Structures in Genesis


Genesis:  The Genesis Account and the Documentary Hypothesis


Genesis:  The Creation Account and the Narrative of Science


Genesis:  God, Omnipotence, and Evil: God in Genesis


Genesis:  Jesus in Genesis?


Genesis:  Whose Family? Which Union?  Reflections on Scripture, Human Sexuality and God's Purposes


Exodus: Who Hardened Pharaoh's Heart?


(Exodus) Hell as Fire and Darkness: Remembrance of Sinai as Covenant Rejection in Matthew's Gospel

 This is a long essay exploring how Jesus' use of the phrase "fire and darkness" is a motif that comes from the story of God at Mount Sinai, where Israel rejects the covenant, and resists being purified by God. I consider Old Testament intertextuality, and virtually all the New Testament texts dealing with "fire" as a motif.


Numbers:  Chiastic Structure of Numbers,

and the Recapitulation of Exodus 1 - 18


Why Did God Choose a "Chosen People"? 

Why Not Just Skip Right to Jesus? 


The Troubling Acts of God: 

Noah's Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah,

the Egyptian Firstborn, and the Canaanites


The Troubling Acts of God: 

The Destruction of the Canaanites (ppt part 1 and part 2)


Hope Filled Full, Part One: 

The New Testament and the Hopes of the Pentateuch

Human Being, Human Becoming:

Exploring Human Nature

and Human Personhood

(NHI blog series) 

Circumcision and Atonement

(NHI blog series)

Temple Sacrifices and a Bloodthirsty God?

(NHI blog series)

Helpful Academic Books and Articles on

the Pentateuch (Torah)


Canon Garratt, The Samaritan Pentateuch (article, Mar 21, 1904)

implications of the Samaritan Torah on higher criticism and textual analysis


S.I. McMillen, M.D., None of These Diseases (Amazon book, 1963 originally) A doctor makes a compelling case for divine influence in the biblical text by using comparative medical anthropology


Leo Strauss, Jerusalem and Athens: Some Introductory Reflections(Commentary, Jun 1, 1967)


John W. Welch, Chiasmus in Ancient Greek and Latin Literatures

excellent resource demonstrating the prevalence of chiastic literary structures in Greek and Latin literature


Gordon Hugenberger, The Historicity of the Bible (ppts to his class lecture)


Frank Moore Cross, From Epic to Canon: History and Literature in Ancient Israel (Amazon book, 1998)


James Barr, The Concept of Biblical Theology (Google book, 1999)


Kenneth A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Amazon book, 2006)


Joshua J. Mark, Love, Sex, and Marriage in Ancient Mesopotamia (Ancient History Encyclopedia, May 16, 2014)


Greg Boyd, Must We Deny Biblical Infallibility to “Disarm” Scripture? A Review of Derek Flood’s Disarming Scripture: Part 1 (ReKnew blog, Apr 13, 2015)


Donald L. Wasson, Ancient Roman Family Life (Ancient History Encyclopedia, Feb 26, 2016)


Joshua J. Mark, Love, Sex, and Marriage in Ancient Egypt (Ancient History Encyclopedia, Sep 26, 2016)


Joshua J. Mark, Women in Ancient Egypt (Ancient History Encyclopedia, Nov 4, 2016)


Mark Cartwright, Women in Ancient China (Ancient History Encyclopedia, Oct 19, 2017)

Helpful Practical Tools on

the Pentateuch (Torah)


Alastair Roberts, 40 Days of Exoduses (blog) a helpful example of how Scripture repeats patterned themes


Damon Young, The Wisdom of Gardens (Aeon, Jun 14, 2013) gardens expand our thinking, console us in times of crisis, school us in emotional generosity, and show us that life goes on


The Bible Project, Sacrifice and Atonement (The Bible Project, Aug 27, 2015) a good 7 minute video which accurately talks about the purification by blood depicted in the Jewish offerings 


The Bible Project, The Law (The Bible Project, Oct 12, 2015) a very nice 6 minute video which places the stress on the story of the Torah, and beyond, not simply the commandments