Genesis' JEDP ????

Walter Mattfeld mattfeld at
Sun Sep 3 00:57:41 EDT 2000

I have been following the discussions about Genesis and its theoretically
having been composed by four Artists known as JEDP. As most members of this
list are aware, this view, while the majority view amongst Liberal scholars,
is not shared by everyone.

Some scholars have argued that there is "a unity" throughout the 9 books of
the Primary History (Genesis-2 Kings), suggesting one Artist put it all
together, using earlier sources, some oral, some written, plus introducing
unique creations of his own.

For whatever it is worth, I favor a single Artist composition and reject the
JEDP construct for the following reasons:

In composing a work, the Artist (Author) has to first have "a Grand Plan," a
beginning, a middle, and an end. If he is composing a history, he attempts
to convince his audience (readers ?) that he possesses the correct
understanding of how past events came to be responsible for the "present"
that he and his audience are living in.

There is an old saying, "Too many cooks ruin the pot." I just can't envision
4 authors within the Primary History, for each would have his own world
view, contradicting his fellows. I see a single world view throughout the
Primary History, suggesting a single Artist.

In ancient times, a common way of composing histories, at least by the
Greeks, was the utilization of a literary device called a

In a Ring-Composition the beginning *foreshadows the end* and the end
alludes back to the beginning, providing "closure."  I see a
"Ring-Composition" in Genesis and 2 Kings, suggesting a single Artist put it
all together as a Grand Plan.

Genesis opens with God creating an earthly paradise called the Garden of
Eden, he makes man and places him in Eden. Man disobeys God's command, and
is expelled from paradise and sent to live in Exile. This for me, is a
*fore-shadowing* of 2 Kings' ending, Israel and Judah, placed in an earthly
paradise (Canaan being likened to "the garden of the Lord or Eden" in some
verses), the "Promised Land," disobey God, and like Adam and Eve, they are
expelled for disobeying God's command, to live in Exile, like Adam and Eve.
So, I understand 2 Kings' ending to be "the closure to the
Ring-Composition." This isn't the work of 4 different Artists, its one
Artist's Grand Plan.

As the  members of this list are well aware, I have presented earlier
arguments for the Primary History being "an original composition" of either
the 6th or 5th century BCE (see the b-hebrew archives for those arguments),
preferring the latter century. I suspect Ezra created the Primary History.

All the best,


Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld
Walldorf by Heidelberg

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