JEPD Evidence

Jonathan Bailey jonathan.bailey at
Sun Dec 19 15:35:57 EST 1999

In my post to Peter, I state that I have no commitment to whether Genesis was 
redacted or composed. Now theologically speaking, I am tied to Moses, but that is not 
what we are discussing here, hence the proliferous "Moses (or whoever)" statement. 
We are discussing whether Genesis is a composition or redaction. I have taken the 
position that it is a redaction, and have used a number of arguments commonly put 
forth by DHers, to include doublets and catch phrases (in this case, "toldots"). Ian did 
try to snare me into a conversation about whether Moses wrote the Pentateuch, but I 
did not take the bait. Now the fact that I have been quite candid about my 
presumption that Moses wrote the Torah should not be confused with our current 
discussion, in which I have been arguing as a DHer.

I do believe Moses wrote the Torah, and will not apologize for that. No one has 
successfully challenged this belief through critical means. We have not been 
discussing that, however. We might as well have been discussing whether Genesis 
was a redaction by King Josiah from compiled sources or a free composition by King 

My connection of Moses to Genesis has only served to flavor the conversation in 
small ways.

Jonathan Bailey
Hochschule für Jüdische Studien

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

>Dear Jonathan,

>If I may, you seem to "want" the Pentateuch to be redacted by Moses, apparently 
because of 
>theological commitments.  It is difficult to take such a view seriously as it admits an 
>critical bias and thereby violates sound scholarship.  Does this not bode ill for your 
>credibility?  I cannot help but think that you are engaging in apologetic, ending with 
>conclusions that are as predictable as the setting sun.

>But perhaps I am wrong.

>For your consideration,


>> ** Original Subject: Re[4]: JEPD Evidence
>> ** Original Sender: Jonathan Bailey <jonathan.bailey at>
>> ** Original Date: Sun, 19 Dec 1999 12:52:37 +0100

>> ** Original Message follows... 

>> ---------- 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 
>> 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 
>> the earlier threads on Genesis, I believe I started the one where I spoke of Genesis 
>> 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 
>> toldot in 2:4, I do not see a doublet here and would not use a doublet as evidence 
>> 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 
>> 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 
>> just saying that it lends itself to the interpretation that toldots reflect various 
>> Now this conversation beginning to remind me of more evangelistic conversations 
>> 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 
>> that abolute proof is impossible to come by, and they will scoff at that and then 
>> 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 
>> 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 
>> 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 
>> 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 
>> a different source. I am saying that it is probable that sources might account for a 
>> 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
>> >redactionary
>> >>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 
>> 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, 
>> 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 
>> redactor at a later date (not too far from the rabbinical tradition that Joshua added 
>> last chapter). At any rate, I am prepared to accept the three middle books of Torah 
>> independant compositions, with all their doublets and shifts in style. I do not take 
>> to every text I read. And I am fully aware that conclusive proof about the 
>> 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 
>> than traditional DH. I am just saying that I see evidence for sources in DH which 
>> 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 
>> oral and written sources, and redacteurs to do bits of composing, particularly if 
>> 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 
>> 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 
>> studied the book in more detail.
>> Jonathan Bailey
>> Hochschule für Jüdische Studien
>> Heidelberg
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>>** --------- End Original Message ----------- **


>L. M. Barre, Ph.D.

>barre at
>La Jolla, California

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