[b-hebrew] Wellhausen

Brian Roberts formoria at carolina.rr.com
Thu Jan 10 10:07:56 EST 2008


Thank you for the article. I'll peruse it later today. New material is
always of interest to me, so I appreciate the link. Aside from being a
competent scholar, Mazar always struck me as being a likable fellow in
interviews, not pandering to leading questions by the hosts of the
respective programs. You could still tell he'd been through it all before,
but was answering questions as much to maintain a visibility about Israeli
archaeology as anything else.

Having read "Who Wrote the Bible?", I found it to be a plain-spoken
explanation of Friedman's take on DH. Was I convinced? No. There still seem
to be far too many intellectual hoops to jump through in order to accept the
theory. It was entertaining and stimulating nonetheless.

You've also presented one scholar's characterization of DH in 1889. It's
without context. 

When I spoke of DH being passed on from teacher to student as much as in
peer review, I was referring to the German scholars largely, among whom the
idea took early, and grew quickly. German theology does not by any stretch
constitute the prevailing view of all of biblical theology. It may be more
accurate to state it was the prevailing view of source and form critics.

Most of the vocal scholars I've read still hold to the ANCIENT (1670)
suggestion by Spinoza that Ezra wrote the Pentateuch, but has 338 years
provided proof for this notion? Even the most ardent supporters of DH cannot
confidently say yes. So, what does that mean about the science behind the
suggestion? How scientific are the idlest of musings of even the most
influential of philosophers, after 338 years of never having been proven?
Spinoza's own ideology is clear, having been derived from his own education
and naturalist bent.

Some of his own philosophies were:

1. The natural world is infinite. 
2. Good and evil are related to human pleasure and pain. 
3. Everything done by humans and other animals is excellent and divine. 
4. All rights are derived from the State. 
5. Animals can be used in any way by people for the benefit of the human
race, according to a rational consideration of the benefit as well as the
animal's status in nature.(see Ethics, Pt. IV, Prop. XXXVII, Note I.: "Still
I do not deny that beasts feel: what I deny is, that we may not consult our
own advantage and use them as we please, treating them in a way which best
suits us; for their nature is not like ours....")

My biggest problem with DH besides its naturalistic bent and extreme
speculative nature, is that it doesn't permit its followers to candidly
discuss issues that are not addressed within its structure of 4 narrative
threads. (Such as the occurrences in the Pentateuch and Psalms of patently
older passages, that may or may not have Egyptian origins).

If you would like to discuss those, I'm open off-list. I think it might be
beyond the scope of B-Hebrew.


R. Brian Roberts
Amateur Researcher in Biblical Archaeology

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