JEPD Evidence

Moshe Shulman mshulman at
Sat Dec 18 19:28:27 EST 1999

At 05:21 PM 12/18/99 +0100, Jonathan Bailey wrote:
>---------- Original Message ----------
A few comments.

>>POINT 1: So are you saying that Moses (or whoever) was such a careless 
>>editor that he just didn't notice that he had left doublets in his 
>>text, even when they were as close together as Genesis 6:2 and 4? And 
>>despite that he managed to produce such a brilliant literary work? 
>>Talk about schizophrenic authors! OK, I admit that the rather odd 
>>structure of this passage needs explaining, but I expect there are 
>>other ways to do that e.g. by interpreting 'ASHER in 6:4 to mean 
>>something like "as a result of".
>No, I am saying Moses (or whoever) did indeed notice that his finished
text had 
>doublets, and liked his text that way, as it best preserved his sources.
Now we also 
>have to look at the possibility of sources that are also compilations.
Perhaps Moses 
>was just putting together toldot accounts, but this particular toldot
account was itself 
>a conflation of sources. Then, if Moses was redacting conservatively, he
would not 
>dare mess with the content of the text to make it prettier or more
logical. At any rate, 
>the text as it stands is quite beautiful, and the repititions of God's
declaration of 
>Judgment (and its cause) are each different in style, and tell a much
fuller story when 
>read next to its partner, even giving the story a sort of rhythm, and so
if Moses 
>inherited a conflated text, then the initial conflator knew what he was
doing, and if 
>Moses himself did the deed, then he produced a great text in so doing.
>redaction scenario demands that Moses or his predecessors be blind or 

Isn't this somewhat contradictory. We assume that a redactor has kept two
different versions of the creation, but in other stories he mixes multiple
versions into one. What is it? Is he preserving the old complete, or not?
What type of 'preservation' is there when he kills a story by taking a few
lines from one source and a few from the other? In any case, how do you
distinguish (or prove) a redactor as opposed to an author who has a
preference for a certain style?

>And we may find ways to explain away doublets in scripture, but it will
take hundreds 

Doesn't this depend on what type of liturature you are classifying the text
as? A doublet is no problem in poetic forms.

>>POINT 2: As for the divisions by the "toldot" formula, is it evidence 
>>of the multiple authorship of this E-mail (before the "Reply 
>>Separator"!) that there is a repeated formulaic heading "POINT n"?
>It is evidence that can be interpreted as a thematic division or as a
>division. My interpretation is that it signals a source, but it must not
be interpret this 
>way. My interpretation rests on the fact that separate thematic units are
not always 
>signalled by toldots. There is not a toldot between the account of the
creation of the 
>garden and the temptation of Eve. There are many changes of style and
theme where 
>there are no toldots.

If the redactor found a purpose for these toldot passages, is it not
possible that a single author had the same purpose, and we are openly
dealing with a question of style and not sources. I find the 'redactor' a
type of Deus Ex Machina figure to be used a a gotcha at need. I would hate
to see you analyse a work like Lord of the Rings or other such works by
single authors which have different styles of writing at different times.

>>POINT 3 (relevant to some other recent postings): Is it evidence that 
>>a different Peter Kirk wrote this E-mail that I am adopting a 
>>tongue-in-cheek combative style for this one rather than the more 
>>academic style of some of my other recent postings?
>I made no statement about changes in style being evidence of redaction,
and I am not 
>sure if you are rebutting me or someone else. Anyway, I merely spoke of
toldots and 
>doublets. I agree that authors can change styles, and do so both
voluntarily for literary 

His point was that 'toldot' and 'doublets' are liturary styles that an
author can use, and are used at times in different types of works.

>absolutely ludicrous. The fact that Genesis is the literary work that it
is is evidence 
>that it was either handed down by God, or that Moses (or whoever) was
>brilliant, or that there was source material involved. For those who don't
buy the Sinai 
>theory, this is pretty convincing evidence for sources. Now, I have
mentioned before 
>that I DO subscribe to some version of the Sinai story, but even those who
do join me 
>in that endeavor are then faced with the fact that God either left mankind
in the dark 
>until the moment of Sinai, or He had provided mankind from the very
beginning with 
>accounts about where he came from and where he was going, either through
>the men of old to write and redact them, or through previous acts of

Let me give a simple solution. The whole of the Pentetuch was written by a
single author who wished to write down all of the oral traditions he had
heard at one time or another. There is not an objection which effects this.
The only question being who and when he did this. It could be Moses or
anyone, but it no longer depends on artificial impositions on a text.
(Believe me, as everyone here does know, if anyone applied the methodology
of DH to ANY literary work in an English lit class, we all know what the
grade would be.)

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