SV: Re[2]: JEDP

Thomas L. Thompson tlt at
Fri Dec 17 03:12:08 EST 1999

Dear List,
The discussion of the Documentary Hypothesis needs some focus. The issues
are not simply reducible to the question of whether there is a single
literary composition of the pentateuch or whether there are 4 'sources'. For
example, neither Fokkelman's, Gunn's or Exum's treatment of narrative assume
neither the documentary hypothesis nor a tradition history; yet they hardly
assume a single literary author in their composition theories. Nor can one
assume that 'modified forms' of the dh do not involve substantial changes.
For example, Van Seters radically alters both relative and absolute
chronologies of the tradition. He also argues for authors and rewritten
traditions rather than sources. On the other hand, many scholars--such as
Avi Hurvitz--assume a fairly conventional view of the dh (not terribly far
from Eissfeldt) for the purpose of dating Classical biblical Hebrew and
distinguishing it from Late Biblical Hebrew--a position that would not be
compatible at all with Van Seters, to say nothing of scholars such as Lemche
or Auld. Others of us see composition questions answered more in the form of
organizing composite texts and traditions and are far from asserting either
classical sources or literary compositions as models of text production. 
I don't think it terribly profitable to start debating before it is clear
what the issue of discussion is.

	Noel Riordan wrote: 
> The documentary hypothesis still, (although in modified form, the best of 
> which I can not decide on) provides the best answers.
> Noel O Riordan

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