Reuse and Innovation in Ezekiel 20 and Exodus 31:12-17

Penelope Barter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Ezekiel 20 has long been recognized as dependent on numerous
Torah texts and traditions, in spite of the apparent contradictions. This study
examines how the relationship is in fact reversed in the case of Exodus
31.12-17*, the development of which has been influenced by the innovative
understanding of Sabbath in Ezekiel 20. We will first briefly explore the
compositional history of Exodus 31.12-17, concluding, with the majority of
contemporary mainstream scholarship, that the received text is secondary to
its context, and the product of more than one compositional layer. Upon
turning to the shared locutions and contextual overlap between Exodus
31.12-17 and Ezekiel 20, it becomes evident that the later layer of Exodus
31.12-17 is dependent on the description of Sabbath in Ezekiel 20.12-13,
16, 20-21, 24, leading us to argue that Exodus 31.12-17* was developed in
light of this text. The final part of the study is devoted to investigating how
and why the author of Ezekiel 20 used the language of the Holiness Code to
further develop this particular concept of Sabbath, particularly as a sign
related to sanctification of a people, which was later developed in Exodus
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-380
Number of pages16
JournalThe Catholic Biblical Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • Ezekiel
  • Exodus
  • reuse
  • composition
  • Sabbath


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