Introduction, “Interpreting the Pentateuch” pp. 1-79
Part B, “The Historical Background of the Pentateuch” pp. 3-7
Historical background in the Pentateuch is studied on two levels, “first, the historical background or context within which the book was written, second, the historical background or context of the events recorded in the book” (Sailhamer 1992, 4).
Sailhamer assumes Mosaic authorship, placing the writing “during the general period of the Exodus” (Ibid.). Moses is shown as the leader who brought Israel out of Egypt, organized the people, and gave them laws and instructions. At various times he led the people to recommitment to God.
Moses in his writing seemed very “intent on portraying God as the Creator of the universe” (Ibid., 6). He begins with creation and uses this motif at different times to show God’s personality and ability.
As to the events, Sailhamer divides them into three categories. First, global or cosmic events, second, very localized events, and third, national and world historical events are cataloged. “The greatest majority of events recorded in the Pentateuch follow the second of these types” (Ibid., 6-7). Moses treats family matters very frequently.