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Robert Kawashima

Department of Religion and Center for Jewish Studies
2017 Rothman Faculty Summer Fellow

During the summer of 2017, with the support of the Rothman Fellowship, Dr. Kawashima began research on his proposed book project, The Pentateuch: An Interpretation, his attempt to read that narrative stretching from Genesis through Deuteronomy as if it was a novel, while also taking into consideration the Documentary Hypothesis, according to which the Pentateuch was written by four principle writers and later combined by an editor.

In its early stages, Dr. Kawashima began engaging with the relevant secondary literature using the resources of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. He also spent time conceptualizing and reconceptualizing the book as a whole. As a result of this research, he has come to think that the redactor or editor exercised less literary freedom than previously thought. This means that his interpretation will involve less technical discussion of how the sources were combined than initially projected. As a result, the “interpretation” will be aimed at a broader audience.