JEPD Evidence

Jonathan Bailey jonathan.bailey at
Fri Dec 17 11:19:43 EST 1999

The title is misleading, as I am not putting forth evidence of the Wellhausen division of 
things, but I do see multiple authors in Genesis, and would like to put a few of them on 
the list.

First, though, one must be clear about the term "author". A redacteur/translator is 
really not too far from being an author who works from several sources, and perhaps 
would merit further clarification on this list, perhaps by those who have been more 
successful at articulating detailed statements than I. :-)   I intend to put some things 
on the floor that suggest multiple "authors", though I am not intending to abandon the 
view that Genesis is a unified composition with one author, Moses, who made use of 
a variety of sources.

One piece of evidence for multiple sources in Genesis is the spooky "toldot" phrase, in 
some cases accompanied by words such as sefer (Gen 5:1) which seem to go to 
extra effort to make the preceding or following segment that it heads appear to be a 
separate piece of writing. The toldot phrases do topologically divide the book. Each 
toldot phrase enclosed text is a story unto itself.

Evidence number two are doublets. A professor of mine, Baruch Halpern, made the 
statement that "without doublets, documentary hypothesis falls apart". Now I am not 
talking about supposed doublets here where the doubled story is a thematically 
independant work (I would not, for example call Gen 1 and Gen 2 a doublet of the 
same thing), but rather instances where the repeated text does not build a literary 
unit. Take the nephilim passages at the beginning of Gen 6. That is one of the best 
doublets I have found. Anyway, I would like to see how one accounts for doublets 
without mentioning compiling of varied source materials. Most of the answers that I 
have found are rather theological, and claim that the doublets reveal hidden spiritual 
pearls for the reader. Now I do admit that i have found a few such pearls in doublets 
during my lifetime, but I cannot convince myself of the idea that Moses (or whoever 
wrote/redacted) Genesis was saying (in every instance): "Let me write this in a wierd 
way, twice, so I can hide a few spiritual gems in there." Now I might buy the idea that 
God, using Moses' (or whoever's) redactional efforts, stuck the pearls in the text (if 
there is indeed a hidden mystery there in the first place), but I think that the concious 
concern on Moses' (or whoever's) mind was more along the lines of trying to figure 
out how to accurately preserve source materials.

So these evidences take me a long way toward thinking that a single author/redacteur 
made use of source material to such a conservative degree that the original source 
material still has visible traces in the present text.

Now I do not mean to defend the historical documentary hypothesis, but I think that 
the book of Genesis presents evidence that documents were involved. I would be hard 
pressed to say that Genesis came from a single author, but would be more 
comfortable with the term single redacteur/translator. Now this statement doesn't 
hurt the evangelical position, in my opinion, because it allows our present text to show 
traces of source material that is substantially OLDER than it's redacteur, who most 
fundamentalists/evangelicals would name Moses.

Anyway, those are my comments. There is evidence for A documentary hypothesis, 
though not necessarily the one Wellhausen sold to us.

Jonathan Bailey
Hochschule für Jüdische Studien

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