The Moses Myth, Beyond Biblical History
�Research on the myth of Moses may not resolve anxieties about whether Moses existed, but it does suggest that across centuries and continents, Moses has retained strong links to written tradition and polemics about group identity.
The piece is effectively a long blurb for his forthcoming book, Rewriting Moses: The Narrative Eclipse of the Text (Continuum/ T &T Clark International), which sounds quite interesting. Excerpts from the essay:
But while the divide between minimalists and maximalists threatens gridlock, an entirely different approach to Moses has begun to flourish. The subject of these studies is the myth of Moses: legends, retellings, and elaborations of the biblical figure. In hagiography, midrash, sermons, popular novels and films, the mythic Moses neither accepts nor rejects the historicity of the biblical text. Instead, the strands of this myth have proliferated by adapting the biblical Moses to many purposes, from Jewish, Hellenistic, and Muslim identity to liberation from slavery and oppression.
Debates on the historical Moses will continue, but in the absence of startling new interpretations of the evidence, this work will likely reach a standstill. Research on the myth of Moses may not resolve anxieties about whether Moses existed, but it does suggest that across centuries and continents, Moses has retained strong links to written tradition and polemics about group identity. Sorting this evidence in light of biblical scholarship promises to yield insights into complexities of myth, memory, and biblical tradition.
Reception history is where it's at.