[b-hebrew] Wellhausen

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Mon Jan 7 13:09:25 EST 2008

List readers may be interested in the following article, which I placed online:
Tatian's Diatessaron and the Analysis of the Pentateuch
by Prof. George F. Moore (Read in December 1889)
Journal of Biblical Literature 9 (1890) 201-15

I found it amazing how an article from over a century ago, is still so timely.
It is as if all the critics against the Documentary Hypothesis are simply
repeating, for a century now, the same arguments, with no care to the fact
that long ago, responses have been published to those same questions.

Using the Diatessaron, it is possible to place the Documentary Hypothesis
on more solid ground.  Accordingly, the Diatessaron would serve as a basis
by which editorial and redactional methods may be analyzed in the
Pentateuch.  If it is possible to show that there exist a number of documents
to which when some methods of redaction, the same as in the Diatessaron,
are applied provides us with the text of the Pentateuch, that would stand as
an argument for their original independent existence.  The basic hypothesis
would be, then, that if a unified text was composed from scratch, without
previous source documents of which it is a composite, there would be no group
of source documents of comparable length to which an arbitrary series of
redactional methods similar to those applied to the Diatessaron could be
applied, and which would provide us with that unified original text.
This should
be fairly easy to disprove -- for one can take any text produced, such as
Tolstoy's War and Peace (to use one author whose name has come up),
and simply produce for us those source documents.  But so long as the
hypothesis stands, despite the large amounts of compositions which could
be utilized to disprove it, it must show that the Pentateuch is indeed a
composite work, and the only reason we find those source documents in
the Pentateuch, is because they are really there.

Yitzhak Sapir

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