[b-hebrew] Wellhausen

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Thu Dec 27 12:20:03 EST 2007


On Dec 26, 2007 11:20 PM, Yigal Levin <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il> wrote:

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "K Randolph" <kwrandolph at gmail.com>
> >
> > 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.…

That's what I was trying to avoid. Yitzhak made that connection when I
didn't. Maybe I was not clear enough, but I thought that saying "under a
different name" was enough to indicate that it is not the same.

> … 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.…

Actually, let the text speak for itself. The question all along has been: do
we read the text as it is written, or do we eisegete our own
religion/philosophy into the text?

> … The problem, of course, is that
> there is so much in the Pentateuch that is either anachronistic or shows
> knowledge of "future" events.…

That is a matter of dispute, or within B-Hebrew, interpretation of the

For example, the issue was raised that at the time of Abraham, there was no
town at Beersheba. Actually, the text of Genesis supports the description
that at Abraham's time, Beersheba was merely a well surrounded by pastures
used by seasonal nomads. The same is true of other place names that later
had towns. Abraham was a nomad, there is no reason to conclude that he did
not visit a place he called Beersheba. Under analysis of the text, that
anachronism falls apart. The same is true of other issues.

> … 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.…

That's why science can study only the present. History studies the past. The
rules for history are different than those for science. While they both are
based on observation, those for history can no longer be observed, i.e.
those observations cannot be repeated. Repeatability is a requirement for

History can use some of the tools created by science, such as in archeology
and in the analysis of artifacts that have survived. But to jump from saying
that history can use some of the tools of science, to where science can tell
us about the past, is a jump that many of us, for a variety of reasons, are
not willing to make. We do not make the claim that the present is the key to
the past.

> … 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.

Depends on what sort of evidence he is talking about and where it is to be

> 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.…

Whoa! You have jumped ahead of the game. You can't go to the conclusion
before we have agreed on the start. We haven't resolved the supposed
anachronisms yet. Nor the type and value of observations to allow into the
discussion. Until these and related issues are addressed, many will conclude
that your conclusion above is invalid. I am one of those.

> … 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.…

All of this is mere speculation, with less evidence to back it up than the
claim that Moses wrote Torah before 1400 BC. At least that's how I and many
others see it.

> … NOW enter Graf,
> Wellhousen and others.

Actually they were there all along. It was their philosophy/religion
eisegeted into the text that set up this stage of the discussion. They now
propose a solution to a problem that they themselves have created. Without
their philosophy/religion taken as an à priori belief, would we even be
going through this discussion?

> Yigal Levin

To give another example: the book of Daniel is usually dated by those who
have taken the philosophy/religion of Graf, Wellhousen and others as an à
priori position as late, because its accurate predictions could not be done
without supernatural intervention, which supernatural intervention was à
priori ruled out. According to Prof. Dr. Furuli, the Aramaic portion of the
text is stylistically consistent with a 6th century BC authorship, giving
evidence for the date as written in the text. The only way to get the late
date is by contradicting the written text.

If we restrict ourselves to a study of the Hebrew language and the text, we
wouldn't mention the late date proposed by critics. That is adding
contention and friction to the discussion that is ultimately, as you admit,
off topic for this list. We can mention "alleged 6th century BC authorship"
which is accurate and recognized by all. We should not mention any other
date outside a study of the language.

What I and others on this list object to is not so much that this
extra-Biblical, extra-linguistic faith proposition is occasionally
mentioned, after all, we recognize that it is a widely held belief, rather
we object to being subjected to proselytism to this religion under the
mistaken notion that it is a scientific conclusion, when it is not even
scientific at all. All it is is one of several religions/faiths held by
different members of this group. Again I point to
show some of the roots to this disagreement.

Karl W. Randolph.

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