[b-hebrew] The Priestly Stratum
Martin A. Shields
mshields at mail.usyd.edu.au
Tue Feb 25 23:32:10 EST 2003
On 26/2/03 2:00 PM, Polycarp66 at aol.com at Polycarp66 at aol.com wrote:
> I think there can be little doubt from a critical point of view regarding the
> existence of the documentary traditions designated by JEDP. That a unity has
> been noted in the entire composition does not negate this. From a
> form-critical point of view the overall unity of the composition may be
> attributed to the schema imposed upon the pre-existing material by the
> redactor. Profound respect is given to Ezra in the Jewish tradition in that
> it was said âEzra would have been worthy of receiving the Torah had Moses
> not preceded himâ (R. JosÃ©, b. Sanh. 21b). It could well be that such
> redaction could be assigned to this period and to the work of Ezra.
Perhaps I am opening a can of worms in saying this, but until recent
discussions made reference to the DH and revealed that many on this list
still subscribe to the theory, I had the distinct impression that it was
pretty much dead. Clearly I am reading the wrong books.
Whybray's Making of the Pentateuch, for example, seems to be a comprehensive
critique of the underlying methodology used to identify the supposed
sources. (I would add that Clines' "New Directions in Pooh Studies" is also
a critique, although in the form of a parody--available online somewhere.)
Is there any response to Whybray's work which shows his analysis was wrong?
I also seem to remember David Gunn writing something along the lines that
the conclusive results of historical criticism would fill but a pamphlet
(sorry, it'd be some time since I came across that quote, please forgive me
if I'm incorrect).
This is not to deny that there could have been sources, only that they
cannot be reliably identified, and even more so, that the theology and
ideology of the individual sources cannot be reliably discerned. It
therefore seems that conclusions reached on the basis of the DH are on very
Furthermore, if a unity has been identified in the final composition, does
this not undermine the basis for DH which originated in the supposed lack of
unity in the final form of the redacted documents? To rephrase from the
>From a literary-critical point of view the overall disunity of the
composition may be attributed to the schema imposed upon the final material
by the modern form critics.
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