[b-hebrew] Wellhausen

Moshe Shulman mshulman at ix.netcom.com
Mon Dec 24 15:26:59 EST 2007

At 01:43 AM 12/24/2007, you wrote:
>Dear Edward,
>Please don't missunderstand; no-one here has claimed that it is "not
>permitted" to question the Documenary Hypothesis. Quite the contrary -
>Yitzhak has mentioned the many changes and ammendments that have been
>proposed over time, as our understanding of the archaeological,
>geographical, historical, literary and linguistic background of the biblical
>world has evolved. In any kind of science, a theory/hypothesis (and that
>really IS all we are discussing here) is only valid as long as it is the
>most reasonable way to understand the evidence as it is known at the time.
>As new evidence comes in, the theory must be either updated or abandoned. In
>the field of biblical studeis, the past 150 years have produced more
>evidence than did the previous 1500 years, and yet the basic methodology
>behind the DH has proven to be sound. So that while present-day renderings
>of the DH are as similar to the "original" Graf-Wellhausen theory as
>present-day biology is to Darwin's original theory of evolution, it can
>certainly be said that (in both cases) the "original" still stands. Of
>course, an astonishingly new discovery this afternoon may force all of us to
>eat our hats, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
>You are also correct, that in all sciences (not just "hard science") someone
>does occasioally come along and revolutionalize the field. Even if a
>person's "radical new" ideas eventually turn out to be wrong, "rocking the
>boat" and frosing everyone to re-think their positions is a good thing.
>However, the difference between humanistic studies, especially biblical
>studies, and the "hard sciences" is that no-one would dare claim that the
>accepted theories that guide physics are wrong, without first aquiring a
>proper education and the approprate degrees in those theories. In the case
>of biblical studies, many people feel free to criticize without first really
>studying what they propose to knock down. Of course, this is met with
>antagonism from the "professionals". Now it is still possible that someone
>from "left field" might actually be right - but for every persecuted
>Galileo, there are a hundred more would-be wanna-be's who just do not get
>The main part of your message claimed that the Graf-Wellhausen theory should
>be discounted because its propnants were anti-semites, predecesors of the
>Nazis. While it is true that every scholar is a product of his or her
>society and generation, and some of them may have actually been despicable
>human beings, the scientific meathod that I was taught says that one should
>evaluate a theory by what it says, not by who said it.
>Yigal Levin

Yigal until it is reproducible it is just a fantasy and not even a 
scientific theory. Anyone coming from a Scientific/Mathematical 
background as I do, will tell you that. To be reproducible the same 
theory needs to be applied to other works of literature where we KNOW 
that there are multiple authors and single authors with multiple 
styles and work. It does not. (Try doing it with Tolkein and you see 
the failure of it. LOTR is by a single author and Silmirilian was 
edited and has additions from his son. It cannot be done.) While DH 
does give some interesting insights into the text, if it were true 
that it is a revised, combined text, there is no way of knowing how 
many hands were involved in it.

BTW with todays computers one can easily take any text and program 
for various grammatical or other factors and see it they divide as DH 
would 'predict'.

Moshe Shulman   outreach at judaismsanswer.com 718-436-7705
Judaism's Answer:  http://www.judaismsanswer.com/

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