[b-hebrew] Wellhausen, Vintage 1889

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Mon Jan 7 15:04:17 EST 2008


Yitzhak Sapir:
 
You wrote:  “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
_http://yitzhaksapir.googlepages.com/tatian%27sdiatessaron_ 
(http://yitzhaksapir.googlepages.com/tatian'sdiatessaron)   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.”
 
1.  In 1889, Prof. Moore said “the Pentateuch is a composite work”.  But his 
article says nothing as to whether the Patriarchal narratives are a composite 
work.
 
2.  Writing in 1889, Prof. Moore was blissfully ignorant of most, if not all, 
of the following parallels between the secular history of the mid-14th 
century BCE and the Patriarchal narratives:
 
(a)  The Hittites.
 
(b)  The Hurrians/Horites.
 
(c)  The historical iniquity of the Amorites, when the Amorites sold out 
northern Lebanon and the west coast of Syria to the dreaded Hittites.
 
(d)  The Decapitation of the Shechem Offensive, when the forces of the first 
historical monotheistic leader of a people, in a morally questionable action 
not ordered by such monotheistic leader, killed the leader of Shechem and the 
men who were with him at the time, thereby dramatically ending Shechem’s threat 
to dominate central Canaan by using tent-dwelling habiru/Hebrews as its foot 
soldiers.
 
(e)  A leader named Abimelech/Abimilki of Sur, who was constantly jousting 
for access to valuable water wells.
 
(f)  A terrible two-year famine in parts of Canaan that led some people to 
flee to Sur for food.
 
(g)  An irate father-in-law from Nahrima/Naharim, in Paddan-Aram, on the 
upper Euphrates River who broke off relations with his monotheistic son-in-law 
from far to the southwest, with the last straw being, believe it or not, certain 
statues (either gold statues or teraphim) that the monotheistic son-in-law 
failed to deliver to his irate father-in-law on the upper Euphrates River.
 
In a word, Prof. Moore knew essentially nothing about the secular history of 
the mid-14th century BCE.  So how on earth could he, in 1889, tell if the 
Patriarchal narratives match up, item for item, with the detailed secular history 
of the mid-14th century BCE, instead of being fiction patched together from 
four different sources (JEPD) over the course of several centuries in the 
mid-1st millennium BCE? 
 
3.  Let me now use your own exact words to attack the JEPD analysis of the 
Patriarchal narratives, simply changing your reference to “critics against” to “
supporters of”:
 
“It is as if all the [“supporters of”] 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.”
 
Today we have a veritable cornucopia of detailed information about the 
secular history of the mid-14th century BCE.  Yet it still seems to be glorious 
1889, when very little was known about the mid-14th century BCE, to those who 
continue to promote a JEPD/mid-1st millennium BCE composition theory for the 
Patriarchal narratives.
 
How can 100 years of vast development of knowledge about the mid-14th century 
BCE be so blissfully and totally ignored by today’s secular scholarly 
analysts of the Patriarchal narratives?  It still seems to be the blissful, ignorant 
days of 1889 in their sheltered world.  You’re right:  that 1889 article could 
have been written, word for word, in 1989, or in 2006, for that matter.  When 
is any Biblical scholar ever going to grapple with comparing the foreign 
policy events in the last 40 chapters of Genesis with the foreign policy events in 
the mid-14th century BCE?  I’m still waiting.
 
We’ve got “pharaoh” and “Ashur” and “chânîykîm” and “Naharim” and “
Paddan-Aram” in the Patriarchal narratives, and no “Pithom” or “Assur” in the 
Patriarchal narratives, and each of Dinah and Rebekah is called a “boy” in the 
Patriarchal narratives.  Where are the historical linguists when we need them?  
How could JEPD come up with all this vintage mid-14th century BCE lingo, and 
also match all the many recent archeological discoveries regarding the 
mid-14th century BCE, in the Patriarchal narratives, while being thoroughly 1st 
millennium BCE in all the rest of the Bible?  Is that a believable theory of the 
case?
 
It’s still 1889 when it comes to today’s scholarly analysis of the 
Patriarchal narratives.  
 
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois




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