JEPD Evidence

Niels Peter Lemche npl at
Sat Dec 18 07:39:49 EST 1999

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Noel O'Riordan [SMTP:nor at]
> Sent:	Saturday, 18 December, 1999 12:29
> To:	Biblical Hebrew
> Subject:	Re: JEPD Evidence
> The one author supporters would have us believe that
	[Niels Peter Lemche]  As somebody asked, are we talking about one
author or one redactor? 

> 1.    The author was able to switch at will from one style of writing to
> another, and many of these switches last for entire narrative tracts
> before
> he switches back.  E.g. gen. 1:-2:4a,- 2:4b-4:26
	[Niels Peter Lemche]  again if we work with the notion of one
redactor, we have to ask questions about how a redactor worked in ancient
times, whether he would mention his sources, quote them corrrectly, change
their subject, remould them as he or she wishes etc. If the rules of the
redactional game in those days are not known, we are moving around in
darkness when it comes to such questions as redactional history.
	[Niels Peter Lemche]  On the other hand, do we know more about the
process of being a creative author? 
> This of course implies that the author was conscious of this switch, so
> what
> possible reason would he have had for doing this?  Not very conducive for
> writing a continuos combined history.
> 2.    The author was either so weak that he did not notice doublets or
> contradictions or he left them in deliberately
	[Niels Peter Lemche]  Week by modern or by ancient standards? Think
of the way of interpreting texts in the pesharim: to us no logic at all, but
did it look as to the ancients?

> If you believe this then the view that the Pentateuch is a brilliant
> literary work has to be jettisoned
	[Niels Peter Lemche]  
	brilliant: according to whose standards?
> To conclude that he left them in deliberately is to conclude that he was
> using sources.
> 3.     You must conclude that all the material comes from his own mind,
> for
> to acknowledge more than one tradition is in effect to acknowledge more
> than
> one source.  From more than one source it is not that much of a leap to
> more
> than one author.
	[Niels Peter Lemche]  Unnecessary conclusion, ancient writers often
'borrowed' from any available source without acknowledging these sources,
and they might not always have shared our ideas about esthetics, idea of
style etc. I.e. the 'borrowings' might have been of a kind not accepted by
moderns standards of scholarly ethics.

	This is not to say that I will disfavor any kind of documentary
hypothesis, but the basis of any discussion about redactions and authors
should pay attention not to our ideas af the writing process but to ancient

> 4.    That the Pentateuch was written in its entirety very late in the
> post
> exilic period
> This causes problems for the development of tradition in 'Israel' For
> example why do the 'P' texts reflect a different tradition to the 'D'
> texts,
> i.e. different conceptions of the position of the priesthood and Law etc
	[Niels Peter Lemche]  Not at all, the so-called 'post-exilic' period
lasted for -- according to normal estimates--500 years, even within an
'unchanging structure' like the Church of Rome, 500 years would allow for
both Quasimodo and John XXIII.
	Are we narrowing down the period of origins to say, 200 years, well
200 years is a lot of time to produce, in Stuttgartensia little more then
1500 pages (i.e. in average little more than 2½ page a year including the
textual apparatus). Even a hundred years would be enough, and if people will
not accept that different ideas can be round at the same time and if they
don't  want to pay attention to modern examples, then they may think  of
intellectual  differences say in Greece between Plato's and Aristotle's
students belonging to the same century, or to the divergencis present in
Jewish extra-biblical literature of the 2nd and 1st century BCE including
the DSS.
> 5.     Oh I haven't got time for a 5, have to go do the Christmas shopping
> Best regards
> Noel O Riordan
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