[b-hebrew] Documentary Hypothesis - Just a Bit More

david.kimbrough at charter.net david.kimbrough at charter.net
Fri Jun 4 17:20:28 EDT 2004


The first point that must realized is that the JEDP documents are not identified solely by the name of God.  I have lost count of how many different ways God is addressed in the OT.  Each of the four hypothesized books has a distinct writing style, word use pattern, and theology. Comparing just J and P is illustrative. The J portions make extensive use of word play, puns, and irony and present a very anthropogenic God and called Yahweh in Eden and at Horeb.  Women play a very important part in the J portions.  In J, humans offer sacrifices to God from Eden to Horeb (no Sinai). J is not particularly interested in priestly rituals or prohibitions.  In the P portions, God is very distant, awesome, and detached, the language is highly repetitive and obsessive about the numbers of things, (length of the ark, age of Abraham, days of rain, etc).  No sacrifices are made to God until Moses makes the first at Sinai (no Horeb).  P is mostly long lists of priestly rituals and prohibitio!
 ns.  In P God is called either Elohim or El Shaddai but explicitly changes His name at Sinai to Yahweh.  There is little punning or irony in P.  The differences in style are not very apparent in English translations. 

A second point is that in fact It is not possible take ordinary stories a part and get two complete but quite versions of the same story.  Try to pull apart War & Peace based on how the character Vasili Dmitrich Denisov is addressed.  In some parts he is called *General Densilov* and in others he is called *Vasili Dmitrich*.  You will not get two parallel complete versions but distinct versions of War & Peace.  You will get two strange disjointed stories, but both will read like Tolstoy and will have a similar point of view.  This is true despite the fact that there is plenty of redundant material in this book.

Again, I do not wish to debate this in any detail.  My point is that this is complex theory that cannot be appreciated, proven, or disproven by just reading one book, a book on a different subject.  I happen like Friedman?s book but it pretty assumes the DH and goes from there to topic of book, which is who wrote which sections.  The scholars behind the DH may be wrong, but they are not fools.

> From: Banyai at t-online.de (Michael Banyai)
> Date: 2004/06/04 Fri PM 07:08:00 GMT
> To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Subject: [b-hebrew] Documentary Hypothesis
> <David, you are misunderstanding.
> I am writing from an agnostic point of view. I just state there is no direct evidence that a redundance of material in for example the "Noah story" has to be explained by this separation pattern between Yahwistic and Elohistic writers. 
> Last one sounds good but is undemonstrable. It is even arbitrary and running against the evidence which shows, there is no difference between both names. Never.
> One could construct, should one wish this, also different two stories of the flood by recombining differently the redundant material.
> Here is a logical fault of the DH theory.
> It is entirely on the other hand the question: has one to split indeed the Noah story for example, or are the redundancies, the general typical phaenomena of ANE literature? I offered an example in Ugaritic literature.
> Best regards,
> Bányai Michael
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David Kimbrough
San Gabriel

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