Grundgeschichte und Chronik

Die Fragestellung der frühjüdischen Chronikbücher und ihre Haltung zur Mosesüberlieferung

  • Thomas Willi
Schlagworte: Chronikbücher


The Chronicler used two types of sources in writing history: In general, the chronistic narration is based on the „Deuteronomistic history“ as it is called today. Nonetheless, the Pentateuch in its priestly components is another key to its concept.

In his historical outline, the Chronicler is aware of differences of time: There is, first of all, the epoch of Moses and of the Mosaic institutions given to a wandering Israel. A new age, second, started with David gathering a scattered people toward the new center in Jerusalem.

These epochs are characterized by both continuity in the worship of Yhwh and discontinuity of theperformance of that worship. The ark, the mobile sanctuary in the tent of the desert, was now to find its definite place and house, to be built and inhabited by Yhwh, prepared by David and finally realized by Solomon.

According to the Chronicler, God’s word had been present in both epochs, but in different forms. Originally, it was given orally to Moses. Yet, the history of Israel as described by Chronicles refers to written documents (kakkātûb). In light of their attribution in Chronicles we should not call them „priestly“ – as it has been customary since the 19th century (de Wette, Wellhausen) –but more adequately „Mosaic“ tradition.

For the Chronicler, such Mosaic tradition was applied and performed by David’s Israel. Of prime importance is the new position of Levi, Moses’ own tribe. According to the P-sources in the Pentateuch, the Levites had to do physical labour for the holy tent. But, in the era of the temple, they gained a new responsibility by interpreting, instructing and applying Tora in its broadest sense. The Priests's duties for their part are presupposed rather than itemized. Since the time of the Exodus – which is deliberately not a topic in Chronicles – they have remained the same.

Decisive for the Chronicler is the new presence of Moses’ revelation in the ongoing history of Israel and its kings, accompanied and guided by Moses’ tribe, the Levites.

Willi, T. (2020). Grundgeschichte und Chronik: Die Fragestellung der frühjüdischen Chronikbücher und ihre Haltung zur Mosesüberlieferung. Judaica. Neue Digitale Folge, 1.