[b-hebrew] Wellhausen

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Tue Dec 25 07:00:37 EST 2007

On Dec 25, 2007 2:17 AM, Moshe Shulman wrote:

> >attempt to falsify them.  Picking a modern text and trying to
> >analyze it -- then concluding that we cannot determine editing
> >work is poor methodology.  Just because one type of editing
> Only if the methodology used to decide if a text has multiple authors
> it invalid. What makes an ancient text of multiple authorship
> inherently different from a modern text of multiple authorship? If
> one has a method to dissect one, then it should work for the other.
> IF NOT, then one needs to examine the methodology being used to
> divide a text by authors. Every work I have read on the subject is
> circular in reasoning and non-reproducible.

You have it wrong here.  There is no "generic methodology" or algorithm
to determine if a text has multiple authors.  The theory does not test or
apply any generic algorithm, because none exists.  The theory claims that
certain elements in the Pentateuchal narrative can be best explained by
assuming multiple sources each of which represents a separate development
of the same original source, and all of which were combined in a specific
method.  Not all texts with multiple sources were necessarily combined in
this way, but the theory suggests that the Pentateuchal narrative was
combined in this way.  On the basis of this combination method, there is
a methodology to determine sources.  But the method won't work for all
compositions of combined sources.  It probably won't even work for all
compositions which were combined of conflated sources.  It requires the
duplications to exist in order to be able to determine stylistic differences
that allows us to extrapolate further the division of the sources.

> > >does not allow us to reconstruct two editors, does not mean
> >that it is the only type of editing processes that could have
> >been taken.  In fact, Van Seters apparently claimed at a
> The only type of editing that would allow for the DH is if there were
> multiple sources and  the editor did a cut and paste job. I don't
> think any serious person would contend that this was the way people
> edited at any time in the past.

Many serious people do.  Even Van Seters apparently claims this is
how people edited in the recent past (after the printing press) and that
recognition of this process is what led to extrapolate the same editorial
process in the distant past.

> Let me give a counter theory which
> indicates your problem. Let's say a Mr X at some time (choose whoever
> you want and when) takes some stories he heard orally, and some
> written texts he has seen, and with his own additions moulds them
> into one book. Unless you had a copy of the originals which he used,
> you could never know what came from where, and what was original to
> Mr X. But this is what DH proposes. BTW The Silmarillian was in fact
> made this way by Tolkein's son and without outside material you will
> never know who wrote what.

First, Tolkien is problematic because Tolkien both lived after Biblical
Criticism was well developed, and also because in many ways the Bible
provided inspiration for him in writing his work.  Having said that, does the
Silmarillion contain a conflation of two or more sources each being a
separate development of the same original source?

Yitzhak Sapir

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list