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    Texts that borrow from each other – P’kudei

    The final section of the Book of Sh’mot reminds us of the story of Creation. Parashat P’kudei says, “And all the work of the Tabernacle… was finished… and Moses finished the work”.

    The Creation narrative concludes, “And the heavens and the earth were finished… and God finished all His work”. This is an example of a stylistic feature found quite often in the Bible, where texts borrow phraseology from one another.

    A famous example is the Joseph stories in B’reshit. Their description of life in the Egyptian royal court is mirrored in the Book of Esther, which describes life in the palace of Persia. In the Book of Psalms there are also many places which echo the language of other books, especially the Torah itself; and a number of Psalms borrow words and phrases from each other.

    One might see this phenomenon as evidence that the Scriptures are one integrated whole, contrary to the argument of some Bible critics that the Tanach is a patchwork of material that has been badly put together and needs to be separated out into constituent elements that reflect disparate places, times and cultures.

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