[b-hebrew] Wellhausen

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Thu Dec 27 02:20:35 EST 2007

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "K Randolph" <kwrandolph at gmail.com>
> For someone who is so good at unearthing obscure references in libraries 
> and
> on the web, your inability to follow simple logic is mystifying.

Dear Karl,Yitzhak and all others: while this discussion has long ago ceased 
being about language, the moderators have not put a stop to it because it 
does deal with a key issue in biblical studies. However if any more comments 
of this type are made, we will have no choice but to end the thread.

> If J, E, P, D, and the final redactor are all one and the same person, 
> then
> that negates the whole argument against that Moses was the author of Torah
> about 1400 BC. But my statement above did not go that far, rather
> it acknowledges that once you admit that it is possible that one person
> could have performed all the roles of all the "sources" as well as the
> redactor who put it all together, then there is no necessity for multiple
> sources. If that one individual did perform all the roles of all the 
> sources
> and redactor, then it is the same at least as far as single authorship is
> concerned in the same manner as Mosaic Authorship, only under a different
> name.

Karl, you're actually conflating two seperate issues, which are obviously 
related: single vs. multiple authorship, and Mosaic authorship. The basic 
methodology behind the DH deals primarily with the first issue, but the 
second is always in the background. Even if you do not accept the idea that 
the Pentateuch was composed of several "sources" which went through a series 
of "redatcions" over time, you still have to show that the single author was 
actually a 14th century (or whenever) Moses. The problem, of course, is that 
there is so much in the Pentateuch that is either anachronistic or shows 
knowledge of "future" events. For a person whose religious faith leads him 
to accept that Moses was a prophet and that God revealed the future to him, 
this is no problem, but he must realize that this is a position of faith, 
not science. A scientifc view cannot accept anything that does not accord 
with the laws of nature AS WE KNOW THEM TODAY. This does not mean that a 
scientist cannot also believe in miracles and in prophecy - it just means 
that he cannot alow them into evidence.
Once this has been accepted, the Pentateuch as we know it could not have 
been composed before the Monarchy, probably not even before the Exile. Which 
would lead some scholars to argue that the whole thing was composed by a 
single, LATE, author (Ezra is always a favorate here), meaning that it would 
have little, if any, historical significance. Others, attempting to "save" 
some of the Pentateuch's value as a source for the early history of Israel, 
argue that the late "Ezra" was just a "redactor" who actually used 
pre-existing sources, which, since they were composed closer to the events 
that they describe, have more value as historical sources. NOW enter Graf, 
Wellhousen and others.

Yigal Levin 

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