The Documentary Hypothesis in the 21st Century

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
austendw
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Re: The Documentary Hypothesis in the 21st Century

Post by austendw » Sun Jun 25, 2017 2:22 pm

nili wrote:I've just ordered "Farewell to the Yahwist": The Composition of the Pentateuch in Recent European Interpretation (SBL Symposium Series, 34) so it may take some time before I am able to give your response the attention that it deserves.
I read that book few years ago (not that I can remember much detail). I think the argument of those in favour of "killing off" the Yahwist, is that it is P who first creates a complete unified Pentateuch (or Hex-ateuch); prior to that there are only patriarch story-cyles in Genesis, and similar in Exodus onwards, but that there is no strong or deep connection between these two halves, these two different origin myth cycles. I don't know what my first thoughts were about that, but I certainly have my doubts now: I see a strong thematic links between the Joseph story and the plague narrative in passages traditionally attributed to J, which I don't think can be considered post-P.
nili wrote:I honestly do not understand how something like parashot Balak could make it passed any serious redaction/harmonization effort.
But perhaps this redactor's primary aim was to be as all-inclusive as possible, to herd together different stories and keep them contained in the same pen, as it were. To do this he had to live without complete harmony.
nili wrote:Do these neo-DH scholars share a consensus concerning history?
As yet I cannot say, not having really read more than the pages I linked to.
Call me Ishmael...

semiopen
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Re: The Documentary Hypothesis in the 21st Century

Post by semiopen » Sun Jun 25, 2017 6:16 pm

My semi-educated guess about the Jahwist is that "he" (probably goes without saying it was more than one guy) is more or less exilic.
A number of current theories place J even later, in the exilic and/or post-exilic period (6th–5th centuries BCE).[16]
That means he is writing at approximately the same time as P, perhaps even after.

Just makes things easier to understand for me. It's hard to take the claims that there was some kind of bible factory at David's court seriously - not to mention Richard Elliott's famous theory that the Akeda Binding_of_Isaac was written by a woman - which I guess can be considered ludicrously unconvincing.

The question about threads is interesting, no doubt they exist, but interpretation is sort of an art form, and it's hard to find someone who does it well.

Personally, I like to study by looking up phrases. As an example the Akedah goes -
Some time afterward, God put Abraham to the test. He said to him, "Abraham," and he answered, "Here I am." (Gen. 22:1 TNK)
וַיְהִ֗י אַחַר֙ הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֔לֶּה (And it came to pass after these things... (Gen. 22:1 JPS))
After a time, his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph and said, "Lie with me." (Gen. 39:7 TNK)
Some time later, the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt gave offense to their lord the king of Egypt. (Gen. 40:1 TNK)
After a while, the son of the mistress of the house fell sick, and his illness grew worse, until he had no breath left in him. (1 Ki. 17:17 TNK)
The following events occurred sometime afterward: Naboth the Jezreelite owned a vineyard in Jezreel, adjoining the palace of King Ahab of Samaria. (1 Ki. 21:1 TNK)
My guess is that all these stories could have been written by the same guy. Of course, that conclusion requires more analysis and nobody would be more shocked than me if it was actually true. The point being it's not very difficult to do relatively sophisticated research without a lot of effort. Assuming these are all contemporaneous, some lofty lady in the magnificent court of King David doesn't seem to work.

nili
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Re: The Documentary Hypothesis in the 21st Century

Post by nili » Mon Jun 26, 2017 4:03 am

semiopen wrote:[wiki]A number of current theories place J even later, in the exilic and/or post-exilic period (6th–5th centuries BCE).[/wiki]
Would that be an example of people who 'just want to date crap as late as possible for political/secular reasons'?

To be honest, I've always assumed that J reflected an early southern influence, but this is clearly biased by my provisional views concerning Israelite ethnogenesis and sustained by the fact that I've never studied the exilic/post-exilic argument.
semiopen wrote: Just makes things easier to understand for me. It's hard to take the claims that there was some kind of bible factory at David's court seriously - not to mention Richard Elliott's famous theory that the Akeda Binding_of_Isaac was written by a woman - which I guess can be considered ludicrously unconvincing.
Point taken. :)

semiopen
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Re: The Documentary Hypothesis in the 21st Century

Post by semiopen » Mon Jun 26, 2017 1:23 pm

It seems to me that any biblical writing during the time of King David is quite dubious. That's because the existence of King David is questionable and there is no evidence that a united kingdom ever existed at Jerusalem. That's a DH problem that is political/religious.

There are apparently some biblical writings from the 7th and 8th centuries BCE, but nothing clearly before that. Josiah was considered a key 7th century BCE guy.

He was a big deal because there was a semi-DH theory that Deuteronomy was written during his reign.
For much of the 19th and 20th centuries it was agreed among scholars that this was an early version of the Book of Deuteronomy, but recent biblical scholarship sees it as largely legendary narrative about one of the earliest stages of creation of Deuteronomistic work.[20]
Probably the wiki' tone is too complementary to the earlier scholars, but the erosion of Josiah's biblical position hasn't helped the DH either.

The High Places (Bāmôt) and the Reforms of Hezekiah and Josiah: An Archaeological Investigation
Lisbeth S. Fried
Journal of the American Oriental Society
Vol. 122, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 2002), pp. 437-465

http://lisbethfried.com/wp-content/uplo ... ation1.pdf

is a very important article where Dr. Fried demonstrates a total lack of archaeological evidence for the reforms mentioned in 2 Kings. Although, this was written quite a while ago, this was a very serious blow to the DH. Sort of amazing that the DH sort of seemed to weather these storms but the lack of younger adherents will eventually make its obsolescence obvious.

Once we get past the 7th century BCE, we're pretty much looking at the exile and after.

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DCHindley
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Re: The Documentary Hypothesis in the 21st Century

Post by DCHindley » Wed Jun 28, 2017 4:00 am

nili,

I am not a DH expert, but I have read J Estlin Carpenter's books on the subject (late 19th century), and there are quite a many apparent "seams" in the five books of the Law if looked at as a literary relic. Attempts have been made to reconstruct the sources, and as semiopen said, the attempts had initially assumed a long period of development and redaction that conformed to the belief among these scholars that it was holy writ, so we had to accept the rough chronology suggested by the sources.

It has resulted in chaos, unfortunately. I think that there is plenty good reason to suspect sources, and JEP relate to the four books aside from Deuteronomy, the latter which gets treated as a unified source D which influenced the final redaction of JEP.

However, as soon as we impute motive to the sources or redactors of the sources, we have left the realm of history and stepped into the world of constructing theories of development from the scanty remains by use of theological (Rabbis, Christians) and/or social theories (Marxists & some modern biblical critics).

Time for work!

DCH

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John T
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Re: The Documentary Hypothesis in the 21st Century

Post by John T » Wed Jun 28, 2017 7:25 am

Krupin wrote:The documentary hypothesis is dead
I guess I missed the funeral.

Where/when/why did the four-document hypothesis of Julius Wellhausen go wrong?

Your link is not in English. Do you have an English version of your compelling alternative to J,E,D, and P?

Thanks in advance,

John T

http://mb-soft.com/believe/txs/genesis.htm
"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into."...Jonathan Swift

Krupin
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Re: The Documentary Hypothesis in the 21st Century

Post by Krupin » Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:07 pm

Unfortunately I do not know English well. I can not fully translate my articles into English. They are long. I will try to briefly describe them. Give final conclusions. This will take some time.

The Jewish priests made a brilliant scam. Sage Wellhausen fell on their hook like a stupid carp. Of course, the priests deceived their contemporaries, not Wellhausen.
They created the illusion that they have ancient works J, E, P, D. But these papyri was rot. They (Ostensibly) can read some fragments. Therefore, the first four books had to be mosaic of J, E, P.
Deuteronomy was able to read completely.
In fact, all these papyri were fabricated by the priests themselves after the captivity.

nili
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Re: The Documentary Hypothesis in the 21st Century

Post by nili » Wed Jun 28, 2017 2:12 pm

Krupin wrote:Unfortunately I do not know English well. I can not fully translate my articles into English. They are long. I will try to briefly describe them. Give final conclusions. This will take some time.
:banghead: You have all the time you need and absolutely no reason not to pursue the matter in your own thread.

austendw
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Re: The Documentary Hypothesis in the 21st Century

Post by austendw » Wed Jun 28, 2017 2:14 pm

semiopen wrote:http://lisbethfried.com/wp-content/uplo ... ation1.pdf

is a very important article where Dr. Fried demonstrates a total lack of archaeological evidence for the reforms mentioned in 2 Kings.
However that article contains a number of flaws. She's good on the archaeology, but not so hot when it comes to the textual criticism or her conclusions about the relevant texts. She makes a strangely sweeping judgement when she says:
Yet if the historical reality of Joseiah's reforms is doubtful, so is the historical reality of an historian who wrote contemporanously to them.
But who thinks that the entire account of Josah's reform is contemporaneous? The passage is clearly heavily supplemented. At least three distinct strata can be found, and only the "cleansing" of the Jerusalem temple cult, making it a Yahweh-only site, can surely be attributed to the earliest stratum. (The extension of this "reform" to outlying areas of Israel is awkwardly inserted into the earlier account and the Bethel story is manifestly an even later myth.)
semiopen wrote:Sort of amazing that the DH sort of seemed to weather these storms but the lack of younger adherents will eventually make its obsolescence obvious.
The DH has survived - albeit in variously amended forms - because although the chronological and historical ideas that Wellhausen developed have indeed suffered major criticism, especially in recent years, the identification of the sources J, E, D, P, and the concept of their amalgamation is still pretty useful in terms of a purely literary criticism. The DH can and has survived the attacks on the chronological suppositions, because the difference between the major strands of the Pentateuch (Hexateuch?) is the central insight of the theory and one that still has value.
semiopen wrote:Once we get past the 7th century BCE, we're pretty much looking at the exile and after.
But nothing Fried says moves the terminus post quem for Deuteronomy "past the 7th Century" She says:
The Temple's miraculous survival in 701 after the demise of every other cult site may have given rise to the belief that the Temple in Jerusalem was the only place in which YHWH had caused his name to dwell. The doctrine of cult centralization elucidated in Deuteronomy 12 as not a program for the future, it was an interpretation and explanation of a devastating present. [p.461]
Not only does that not exclude the possibility that Deuteronomy's centralisation doctrine was written in the 7th Century (i.e. in the years immediately following Hezekiah's reign), it actually confirms the traditional Wellhausen chronology. I'm not particularly advocating that early dating, but the truth is that neither the archaeology, nor Fried's essay, rules it out.
Last edited by austendw on Thu Jun 29, 2017 11:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
Call me Ishmael...

semiopen
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Re: The Documentary Hypothesis in the 21st Century

Post by semiopen » Thu Jun 29, 2017 5:46 am

austendw wrote:
semiopen wrote:http://lisbethfried.com/wp-content/uplo ... ation1.pdf
semiopen wrote:Sort of amazing that the DH sort of seemed to weather these storms but the lack of younger adherents will eventually make its obsolescence obvious.
The DH has survived - albeit in variously amended forms - because although the chronological and historical ideas that Wellhausen developed have indeed suffered major criticism, especially in recent years, the identification of the sources J, E, D, P, and the concept of their amalgamation is still pretty useful in terms of a purely literary criticism. The DH can and has survived the attacks on the chronological suppositions, because the difference between the major strands of the Pentateuch (Hexateuch?) is the central insight of the theory and one that still has value.
Thanks for the excellent post about this.

I've tried to avoid being too critical of the DH, and agree with most of your comments, as it is useful.

There is a discussion of the composition history of the Book_of_Deuteronomy.
... With Josiah's support they launched a full-scale reform of worship based on an early form of Deuteronomy 5–26, which takes the form of a covenant (i.e., treaty) between Judah and Yahweh to replace that between Judah and Assyria. This covenant was formulated as an address by Moses to the Israelites (Deut.5:1).

The next stage took place during the Babylonian captivity. The destruction of the Kingdom of Judah by Babylon in 586 BC and the end of kingship was the occasion of much reflection and theological speculation among the Deuteronomistic elite, now in exile in the city of Babylon. They explained the disaster as Yahweh's punishment of their failure to follow the law, and created a history of Israel (the books of Joshua through Kings) to illustrate this.

At the end of the Exile, when the Persians agreed that the Jews could return and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, chapters 1–4 and 29–30 were added and Deuteronomy was made the introductory book to this history, so that a story about a people about to enter the Promised Land became a story about a people about to return to the land. The legal sections of chapters 19–25 were expanded to meet new situations that had arisen, and chapters 31–34 were added as a new conclusion.
If there was no campaign against the high places, etc. one has to wonder about the appearance of a book, but I assume that I should do some more study.

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