JEPD Evidence

peter_kirk at peter_kirk at
Sun Dec 19 00:37:28 EST 1999

Let the "one author" supporters speak for themselves rather than put 
words into their mouths! See comments below.

Peter Kirk

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: JEPD Evidence
Author:  <nor at> at Internet
Date:    18/12/1999 11:28

The one author supporters would have us believe that

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

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.

PK: Probably the one author, if there was one, was at least in part 
aware of changing style. But why should he (or even she!) not change 
style? Many authors, ancient and modern, have switched style in their 
works e.g. incorporating their own poems. It might not go down well in 
a modern work of history, but who said the Pentateuch was that?

2.    The author was either so weak that he did not notice doublets or 
contradictions or he left them in deliberately

PK: This argument applies just as much to a final redactor.

If you believe this then the view that the Pentateuch is a brilliant 
literary work has to be jettisoned
To conclude that he left them in deliberately is to conclude that he was 
using sources.

PK: No, he may have had all sorts of good reasons for including 
apparently repeated episodes which he has deliberately written in. 
After all, it is well known that history repeats itself. Or the 
reasons could be more literary, as part of the brilliant literary 

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.

PK: Now you are setting up a straw man to shoot down! No-one as far as 
I know ever claimed that there was a single author who used no 
reminiscences or traditions from others - unless there are those who 
claim the whole thing was a Hasmonean novel. What is doubted is that 
large chunks of pre-existing written sources were incorporated 
unchanged into the surviving text.

4.    That the Pentateuch was written in its entirety very late in the post 
exilic period

PK: Many of the one author supporters would rather make that one 
author Moses at a date a millennium earlier.

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

PK: Now at last we have some evidence to be working with! But we need 
to reexamine this too: are the traditions really that different, when 
we stop looking at them through the discredited spectacles of 
Wellhausen etc?

5.     Oh I haven't got time for a 5, have to go do the Christmas shopping

PK: I hope you found some good presents. Have a good holiday season.

Best regards

Noel O Riordan

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