This article deals with the main theoretical concepts of Martin Noth (1902‒1968), the German orientalist and biblical scholar, in the context of historical biblical studies and historical and literary criticism. The studied concepts were formulated in the framework of his study of the literary and pre-literary stages in the formation of the text of Pentateuch (Torah). The article attempts to assess M. Noth’s works in order to determine their signifi cance in the context of development of the presentday biblical (Old Testament) studies. Particular attention is paid to the theoretical direction, the founder of which is regarded to be M. Noth, especially the study of the history of traditions (Russ. история преданий). The article makes an outline of the context in which M. Noth’s ideas originated and developed (documentary hypothesis, works of A. Alt, H. Gunkel, G. Gressman and other biblical scholars of the late 19th — early 20th centuries). The article studies the main works of M. Noth and discusses their ideas mostly in the context of development of such theories as the documentary theory and the history of traditions (Überlieferungsgeschichte) or tradition criticism. The article gives an account of Noth’s hypothesis of Deuteronomistic history, as well as of the related concept of Tetrateuch and the idea of the sacred league of Israelite tribes. Within the framework of source criticism, the article expounds on the original idea of the German scholar about the common and primordial source G (Grundlage), which could be the foundation of two other early sources of the text of Pentateuch, i.e. Yahwist (J) and Elohist (E). Close attention is paid to the reconstruction of pre-literary (oral) narratives, or traditions, which, according to M. Noth, made up the contentrelated nucleus of Torah. The article also touches upon the relevance of this view by M. Noth (in the framework of historical and critical studies of his time) that implies a justification of the initial autonomous character of various traditions which constituted the integrated narrative only after a long course of time. The article discusses M. Noth’s methodology, by means of which he carried out the aforementioned reconstruction of traditions and in which there are distinguished several methodological criteria. The article contains not only the historical but also the present-day perspective of discussing M. Noth’s legacy in the works of modern scholars.
Martin Noth, history of traditions (Überlieferungsgeschichte), origin and formation of Pentateuch, documentary hypothesis, methodology of biblical criticism, history of Old Testament studies
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Lavrentiev Andrey Academic Degree:
Candidate of Sciences*
in Philosophy; Place of work:
Institute of Linguistics and Intercultural Communication (Sechenov University); 3/1 Sadovaya-Kudrinskaya Str., Moscow, 123242, Russian Federation; Post:
associate professor; ORCID: 0000-0003-4533-8972
*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.
The study was carried out in 2019-2020 as part of the project "Documentary hypothesis in the context of modern theories of the origin of the Pentateuch" with the support by Foundation of Development St. Tikhon's Orthodox University.