JEPD Evidence

Jonathan Bailey jonathan.bailey at
Sun Dec 19 06:52:37 EST 1999

---------- Original Message ----------

>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?

In another post I wrote to Kirk I spoke at length about just what sort of evidences I 
was giving and what I could provide in the way of proof. The gist of it was that all of us 
will have a hard time coming up with proof for any theory at all. I was just giving 
evidences. Not absolutely convincing proofs. Now also, if you will remember back to 
the earlier threads on Genesis, I believe I started the one where I spoke of Genesis 2 
as an account of the creation of the Garden of Eden and of woman, which was 
actually the first half of the story about the fall of man. I do not believe there are 2 
accounts of creation. While I do hold out the possibility of 2 sources on account of the 
toldot in 2:4, I do not see a doublet here and would not use a doublet as evidence for 
sources in this instance.

Now about toldots, I did bring up the point that there does not seem to be any 
particularly universal use of them outside the fact that all the sections divided by 
toldots can be viewed as separate pieces of writing. For instance, 11:10-11:27 is 
simply a geneology. This is contrasted to 37:2ff where the toldot marks a literary unit. 
It would seem the author's use of toldots was fairly chaotic. Now granted, he is 
perfectly within his liberty to do this, and I will not be so bold as to call this proof. I am 
just saying that it lends itself to the interpretation that toldots reflect various sources.

Now this conversation beginning to remind me of more evangelistic conversations I 
have had with prospective converts to my faith. They will ask for some sort of 
evidence for the reality of my religion, and I will give them some evidence, fully aware 
that abolute proof is impossible to come by, and they will scoff at that and then come 
up with something like "aliens could have made all this!" Now I agree, Aliens could 
have indeed made all this, but they have given even less evidence than I.

Now about toldots, I have explained that the fact that toldots are not used uniformly is 
evidence (though not proof) that they refer to sources, and I have been met with the 
response "they can also be theme dividers", yet I have not been given any theory 
about why I should prefer to call them theme dividers. Can anyone give me any ideas 
about why they are more likely to be theme dividers than source markers? I realize 
that both are possible, but why should I pick themes over sources?

>>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.

Yes. And stylistic choice is certainly a valid explanation for a doublet. So is the 
theological argument that it is a method of hiding spiritual pearls in the text. So is the 
argument that a number of things really happened twice. And finally, so is the 
argument that different sources were involved. All are useful explanations for the 
various doublets that are found in scripture. I am not saying that every doublet means 
a different source. I am saying that it is probable that sources might account for a few 
of them.

>>>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.

Well, could you theorise some details about the purpose? There are certainly a 
number of shifts in theme in Genesis without toldots. Now about your comment to 
Lord of the Rings, I really don't know what to say. Perhaps you have not been following 
my previous posts on this thread. I am not a typical DHer. I believe that Exodus, 
Leviticus, and Numbers are more or less independant compositions of Moses, while 
Genesis is simply a redactional composition of Moses, and Deuteronomy to consist of 
the actual words of Moses' speech framed by prefatory and concluding material by a 
redactor at a later date (not too far from the rabbinical tradition that Joshua added the 
last chapter). At any rate, I am prepared to accept the three middle books of Torah as 
independant compositions, with all their doublets and shifts in style. I do not take DH 
to every text I read. And I am fully aware that conclusive proof about the redactionary 
character of Genesis is not to be found. Please do not categorize me in the same 
type of thinking as Ian and Noel (no offense to those two persons - their ideas are 
welcome, and appreciated). But I am coming from a completely different perspective 
than traditional DH. I am just saying that I see evidence for sources in DH which has 
led me to categorize Moses as more of a redacteur than an author in that case, 
though the distinction is often blurry between those roles, as authors do indeed use 
oral and written sources, and redacteurs to do bits of composing, particularly if they 
are translating, which I believe to be the case with Moses in Genesis.

>>>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.

I am aware of this.

>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.)

I am in agreement with you here. Our only disagreement would probably be in the 
amount of conservatism in writing them down. Now with Ex, Lev, and Num you and I 
would probably be in full agreement. Concerning Genesis, however, I would say that 
he was very conservatively putting together written sources, rather than freely 
composing from oral traditions. And for Deuteronomy, read my post to Ian. I will be 
better prepared to give a detailed account of my understanding of things after I have 
studied the book in more detail.

Jonathan Bailey
Hochschule für Jüdische Studien

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