The Documentary Hypothesis in the 21st Century

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

Post by Krupin » Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:09 pm

Books of Genesis and Exodus were one narrative from the very beginning. The Torah had only one source. In the original story, Jacob and Israel were different persons. Jacob's wife Rachel gave birth to Joseph and Benjamin. Israel's wife Leah gave birth to the rest of the ancestors. Joseph punished cousins who sold him into slavery - An eye for an eye. The tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin remained in Palestine. In slavery they were not. When the evil pharaoh began the holocaust, the elohim amnestied the offspring of the scoundrels. Righteous tribes played the main role in the Exodus.

This plot was not liked by the Jerusalem priests. They slandered Ham. They drove all the tribes into Egypt.
In the original version, Israel was the son of Hagar. Jacob was the son of Sarah.

Elohim was first Yahweh+ Asherah . Asherah went to Egypt under the name Kadosh. She led the rescue operation. Righteous tribes made her a tent and an ark for the trek. The holy mountain was Mount Gerizim.

Abraham initially had no nephews. He received the land and the son according to the prayer of Melchizedek. Melchizedek was the king of the city liberated by Abraham.
Last edited by Krupin on Sat Jul 01, 2017 2:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.

semiopen
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Re: The Documentary Hypothesis in the 21st Century

Post by semiopen » Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:31 pm

neilgodfrey wrote:
Fri Jun 30, 2017 6:05 pm
In the newly released History, politics and the Bible from the Iron Age to the media age there is a chapter, "The Present Crisis in Biblical Scholarship", where John Van Seters discusses in detail scholarship relating to the DH but at no point addresses any viewpoint that denies outright the source (J, E, P..) theory.
The point of the Elohist is that the guy was from the north before the Assyrians took over. I suppose that could have happened, and it probably is much more likely than space aliens writing the stuff, but it just doesn't seem like a serious view anymore except in a synagogue.
Modern scholars agree that separate sources and multiple authors underlie the Pentateuch, but there is much disagreement on how these sources were used to write the first five books of the bible.[4] This documentary hypothesis dominated much of the 20th century, but the 20th-century consensus surrounding this hypothesis has now broken down. Those who uphold it now tend to do so in a strongly modified form, giving a much larger role to the redactors (editors), who are now seen as adding much material of their own rather than as simply passive combiners of documents.[5]
The David/Solomon United Kingdom monkey turned out to be too big eventually.

neilgodfrey
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Re: The Documentary Hypothesis in the 21st Century

Post by neilgodfrey » Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:13 pm

I too carelessly threw in "E" when I said Van Seters does not reject the DH. He addresses primarily the relationship between J and P in his chapter but does include a discussion of the use of "Elohim" by the different ideologically motivated authors. He certainly holds to the hypothesis of different sources, flatly contradictory sources, being juxtaposed to make up the Scriptures: that's the core message of his chapter.

austendw
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Re: The Documentary Hypothesis in the 21st Century

Post by austendw » Sun Jul 02, 2017 10:28 am

semiopen wrote:
Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:31 pm
The point of the Elohist is that the guy was from the north before the Assyrians took over. I suppose that could have happened, and it probably is much more likely than space aliens writing the stuff, but it just doesn't seem like a serious view anymore except in a synagogue.
What makes you say that "it just doesn't seem like a serious view anymore"? Apart from a general desire to down-date the entire literary corpus of the Pentateuch, which is certainly the zeitgeist of contemporary biblical criticism, what substantively would make the early northern origin of "E" so improbable?

I ask because there are some modern scholars who do entertain the possibility that at least some Pentateuchal material has a northern pre-722 BCE provenance.

In his essay "The Deceptive Pen of Scribes: Judean Reworking of the Bethel Tradition as a Program of Assuming Israelite Identity", Koog P Hong examines the famous Jacob in Bethel pericope (Genesis 28:10-22) and, working from Erhard Blum's textual analysis, identifies the core of the Bethel story as northern, dating to before the fall of Samaria, which is subsequently "appropriated" by Judean scribes:
What remains firm despite this modification is his [Blum's] basic scheme in which the northern Israelite Jacob tradition has been re-appropriated by the Judeans after the fall of northern Israel (722 B.C.E.). First, Blum establishes the pre-promise, “pre-Hoseanic”, northern Israelite Bethel account in 28,11-13a*.15*.16-22 25, despite Van Seters’s challenge on the early dating.
Blum’s early dating might sound audacious, particularly in light of the recent minimalist trend that favors later dating. In fact, a number of observations appear to justify, if not favor, this early northern Israelite origin. At Bethel, YHWH appears as a deity unknown to Jacob, in a way quite similar to Exod 3, where Moses first encounters YHWH. Jacob’s vow, “YHWH will be my God” (28,21b), is otherwise difficult to understand. This implies that the Jacob story once existed without the preceding Abraham narrative. Moreover, Jacob’s vow to build a temple and pay tithe (28,22) is probably designed to elicit the reader’s response of support for the cultic function of the Bethel sanctuary. It is, then, most likely that this vow was written at a time when Bethel was functioning as a religious center. Besides, it is difficult to imagine an exilic Judean scribe composing a founding myth of Bethel, a major rival shrine of Jerusalem — and even calling for a continued support for it — without leaving any explicit mention to Jerusalem in the entire book of Genesis.
(my emphasis)
Those strike me as a not unreasonable arguments. And if this passage has northern origins, why not others?

To put that essay in context, and for the avoidance of doubt, Hong is himself critical of the notion that E must be from the north. In Abraham, Genesis 20-22, and the Northern Elohist he rejects the notion that the chapters in question show any evidence of a northern provenance, despite its clearly "Elohisitc" character. In contrast, Tsemah Yoreh argues that the core of these chapters is indeed an E narrative, and offers an implicitly critical view of Abraham the "southerner" . That's a novel but interesting viewpoint. While I'm certainly not entirely convinced, I don't think Hong's ciriticism of Yoreh is entirely valid either, so currently I'd argue that the idea of northern texts (notionally definable as "E"), subsequently appropriated and incorporated by southern scribes into their own narratives (roughly definable as "J") might offer a fruitful area of investigation.

Btw, à propos of nothing much, I think that the notion of "elegant simplicity" is an overrated virtue, so I don't consider complexity a barrier to plausibilty.
Call me Ishmael...

semiopen
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Re: The Documentary Hypothesis in the 21st Century

Post by semiopen » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:19 am

austendw wrote:
Sun Jul 02, 2017 10:28 am
semiopen wrote:
Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:31 pm
The point of the Elohist is that the guy was from the north before the Assyrians took over. I suppose that could have happened, and it probably is much more likely than space aliens writing the stuff, but it just doesn't seem like a serious view anymore except in a synagogue.
What makes you say that "it just doesn't seem like a serious view anymore"? Apart from a general desire to down-date the entire literary corpus of the Pentateuch, which is certainly the zeitgeist of contemporary biblical criticism, what substantively would make the early northern origin of "E" so improbable?

I ask because there are some modern scholars who do entertain the possibility that at least some Pentateuchal material has a northern pre-722 BCE provenance.
Like I said, it's possible. However the DH issue is that they also have the Jahwist writing during the United Kingdom.
Julius Wellhausen, the 19th century German scholar responsible for the classical form of the documentary hypothesis, did not attempt to date J more precisely than the monarchical period of Israel's history.[13] In 1938 Gerhard von Rad placed J at the court of Solomon, c. 950 BCE, and argued that his purpose in writing was to provide a theological justification for the unified state created by Solomon's father, David.[14] This was generally accepted until a crucial 1976 study by H.H. Schmid, Der sogenannte Jahwist ("The So-called Yahwist"), argued that J knew the prophetic books of the 8th and 7th centuries BCE, while the prophets did not know the traditions of the Torah, meaning J could not be earlier than the 7th century.[15] A number of current theories place J even later, in the exilic and/or post-exilic period (6th–5th centuries BCE).[16]
Notice the wiki mentions the monarchic period - this appears in the Talk section -
Anyone have a good idea for when J was written? 900 BCE? 800? Jonathan Tweet 01:28, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Between approximately 922 (break-up of the united kingdom) and 722 BC (fall of the northern kingdom of Israel). Friedman points out that J (given to word-games) makes multiple use of the root r-h-b - six times in J, never in E - which is the root of Rehoboam, first king of the southern kingdom of Judah. PiCo 05:28, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
A more accurate date is between 850 and 722. I did the correction just now. See Who Wrote the Bible? pp. 87. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.86.200.65 (talk) 18:20, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
Kind of a weird tap dance; guess the United Kingdom golden age of authorship idea is seriously dead. Why J couldn't have been written after 722 BCE is anyone's guess - which sort of demonstrates how unlevel the playing field is.

For the United Kingdom to have ended, it must have started, but in all probability it never happened. If there is an Elohist and he was from the North before the Assyrians took over, that is just a wild accident as far as the DH goes - there's probably some cool German word to describe that.

Regarding my opinion, there is almost no mention of the forefathers outside of Genesis, so Genesis seems to be entirely exilic or later. There are probably some parts of the Torah from before the exile, but I'm not aware of any really great examples - maybe the Song of the the Sea, but I wouldn't bet my wife on it.

By "serious view" I meant that it's hard to produce credible evidence that would support an early date.

austendw
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Re: The Documentary Hypothesis in the 21st Century

Post by austendw » Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:28 am

semiopen wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:19 am
Why J couldn't have been written after 722 BCE is anyone's guess - which sort of demonstrates how unlevel the playing field is.
I agree with you entirely. The United Monarchy is pretty much a dead duck, let along the dating of any significant literary activity to that time.
semiopen wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:19 am
Regarding my opinion, there is almost no mention of the forefathers outside of Genesis, so Genesis seems to be entirely exilic or later.
Here we part company. This criterion is too unquantifiable, too vague, too subjective for me.

Over the past year and a half here in the UK I've been reading quite a lot in the UK newspapers about the impending Brexit: Britain's place in Europe, Britain's place in the world, the politics, economics, social implications, xenophobia, nostalgia, aspirations, delusions of Brexit etc etc etc. In all those column inches, only rarely have writers mentioned into Britain's history, seldom much further back than a century. And when they did it was usually a few key events: Henry VIII's split with Rome and the Norman Conquest, once maybe. King Alfred's burnt cakes, the Anglo-Saxons, the Romans and the Celts got no mention; too ancient to mention.

My point is that perhaps we shouldn't expect the Genesis patriarchs to make much of an appearance in prophetic literature where there were more pressing issues to chew over. Did the ancient foundation of Bethel matter when there were problems of poverty or cultic transgressions to tackle? Why should it? Would the slightly racy tales of Abraham/Isaac's wife in Egypt/Gerar (take your pick of three), or Jacob's wedding night, have mattered much to Amos or 'Hosea? Hard to imagine why.
semiopen wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:19 am
By "serious view" I meant that it's hard to produce credible evidence that would support an early date.
Well, I think Hong's reason for dating the Jacob/Bethel story to a time when Bethel was still a working sanctuary is credible. There may be better a explanation, but I haven't encountered it yet.
Call me Ishmael...

semiopen
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Re: The Documentary Hypothesis in the 21st Century

Post by semiopen » Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:03 am

austendw wrote:
Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:28 am
semiopen wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:19 am
Regarding my opinion, there is almost no mention of the forefathers outside of Genesis, so Genesis seems to be entirely exilic or later.
Here we part company. This criterion is too unquantifiable, too vague, too subjective for me.

My point is that perhaps we shouldn't expect the Genesis patriarchs to make much of an appearance in prophetic literature where there were more pressing issues to chew over. Did the ancient foundation of Bethel matter when there were problems of poverty or cultic transgressions to tackle? Why should it? Would the slightly racy tales of Abraham/Isaac's wife in Egypt/Gerar (take your pick of three), or Jacob's wedding night, have mattered much to Amos or 'Hosea? Hard to imagine why.
semiopen wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:19 am
By "serious view" I meant that it's hard to produce credible evidence that would support an early date.
Well, I think Hong's reason for dating the Jacob/Bethel story to a time when Bethel was still a working sanctuary is credible. There may be better a explanation, but I haven't encountered it yet.
There is no question that the names of two of the patriarchs were known before the exile -
The shrines of Isaac shall be laid waste, and the sanctuaries of Israel reduced to ruins; and I will turn upon the House of Jeroboam with the sword." (Amos 7:9 TNK)
And so, hear the word of the LORD. You say I must not prophesy about the House of Israel or preach about the House of Isaac; (Amos 7:16 TNK)
Odd that big Abe didn't make it into Amos, but that's poetry I guess. Abraham doesn't make anything clearly pre-exilic, he's mentioned in Deuteronomy 6 and 9 and a few other times in the Torah outside of Genesis in relation to the covenant. Note Jacob isn't mentioned in Amos. Esau makes the book of Obadiah, but that's 6th century BCE (I think that means exilic).

Jacob and Beth-El is an interesting point - not to mention other parts of the Jacob saga. However, I see Jacob as a unified story and am not sure whether each vignette shows a separate literary layer.

Have to admit, I was a little surprised, reviewing the literature (wiki mostly as my books and I are temporarily separated), that the DH does actually seem to be in bad shape. Never ceases to amaze me that I might not be spouting total bullshit.

semiopen
Posts: 330
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2014 6:27 pm

Re: The Documentary Hypothesis in the 21st Century

Post by semiopen » Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:04 am

semiopen wrote:
Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:03 am
austendw wrote:
Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:28 am
semiopen wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:19 am
Regarding my opinion, there is almost no mention of the forefathers outside of Genesis, so Genesis seems to be entirely exilic or later.
Here we part company. This criterion is too unquantifiable, too vague, too subjective for me.

My point is that perhaps we shouldn't expect the Genesis patriarchs to make much of an appearance in prophetic literature where there were more pressing issues to chew over. Did the ancient foundation of Bethel matter when there were problems of poverty or cultic transgressions to tackle? Why should it? Would the slightly racy tales of Abraham/Isaac's wife in Egypt/Gerar (take your pick of three), or Jacob's wedding night, have mattered much to Amos or 'Hosea? Hard to imagine why.
semiopen wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:19 am
By "serious view" I meant that it's hard to produce credible evidence that would support an early date.
Well, I think Hong's reason for dating the Jacob/Bethel story to a time when Bethel was still a working sanctuary is credible. There may be better a explanation, but I haven't encountered it yet.
There is no question that the names of two of the patriarchs were known before the exile -
The shrines of Isaac shall be laid waste, and the sanctuaries of Israel reduced to ruins; and I will turn upon the House of Jeroboam with the sword." (Amos 7:9 TNK)
And so, hear the word of the LORD. You say I must not prophesy about the House of Israel or preach about the House of Isaac; (Amos 7:16 TNK)
Odd that big Abe didn't make it into Amos, but that's poetry I guess. Abraham doesn't make anything clearly pre-exilic, he's mentioned in Deuteronomy 6 and 9 and a few other times in the Torah outside of Genesis in relation to the covenant. Note Jacob isn't mentioned in Amos. Esau makes the book of Obadiah, but that's 6th century BCE (I think that means exilic).

Jacob and Beth-El is an interesting point - not to mention other parts of the Jacob saga. However, I see Jacob as a unified story and am not convinced that each vignette shows a separate literary layer.

Have to admit, I was a little surprised, reviewing the literature (wiki mostly as my books and I are temporarily separated), that the DH does actually seem to be in bad shape. Never ceases to amaze me that I might not be spouting total bullshit.

semiopen
Posts: 330
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2014 6:27 pm

Re: The Documentary Hypothesis in the 21st Century

Post by semiopen » Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:05 am

austendw wrote:
Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:28 am


Here we part company. This criterion is too unquantifiable, too vague, too subjective for me.

My point is that perhaps we shouldn't expect the Genesis patriarchs to make much of an appearance in prophetic literature where there were more pressing issues to chew over. Did the ancient foundation of Bethel matter when there were problems of poverty or cultic transgressions to tackle? Why should it? Would the slightly racy tales of Abraham/Isaac's wife in Egypt/Gerar (take your pick of three), or Jacob's wedding night, have mattered much to Amos or 'Hosea? Hard to imagine why.


Well, I think Hong's reason for dating the Jacob/Bethel story to a time when Bethel was still a working sanctuary is credible. There may be better a explanation, but I haven't encountered it yet.
There is no question that the names of two of the patriarchs were known before the exile -
The shrines of Isaac shall be laid waste, and the sanctuaries of Israel reduced to ruins; and I will turn upon the House of Jeroboam with the sword." (Amos 7:9 TNK)
And so, hear the word of the LORD. You say I must not prophesy about the House of Israel or preach about the House of Isaac; (Amos 7:16 TNK)
Odd that big Abe didn't make it into Amos, but that's poetry I guess. Abraham doesn't make anything clearly pre-exilic, he's mentioned in Deuteronomy 6 and 9 and a few other times in the Torah outside of Genesis in relation to the covenant. Note Jacob isn't mentioned in Amos. Esau makes the book of Obadiah, but that's 6th century BCE (I think that means exilic).

Jacob and Beth-El is an interesting point - not to mention other parts of the Jacob saga. However, I see Jacob as a unified story and am not convinced that each vignette shows a separate literary layer.

Have to admit, I was a little surprised, reviewing the literature (wiki mostly as my books and I are temporarily separated), that the DH does actually seem to be in bad shape. Never ceases to amaze me that I might not be spouting total bullshit.
[/quote]
[/quote]

semiopen
Posts: 330
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2014 6:27 pm

Re: The Documentary Hypothesis in the 21st Century

Post by semiopen » Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:05 am

semiopen wrote:
Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:05 am
austendw wrote:
Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:28 am


Here we part company. This criterion is too unquantifiable, too vague, too subjective for me.

My point is that perhaps we shouldn't expect the Genesis patriarchs to make much of an appearance in prophetic literature where there were more pressing issues to chew over. Did the ancient foundation of Bethel matter when there were problems of poverty or cultic transgressions to tackle? Why should it? Would the slightly racy tales of Abraham/Isaac's wife in Egypt/Gerar (take your pick of three), or Jacob's wedding night, have mattered much to Amos or 'Hosea? Hard to imagine why.


Well, I think Hong's reason for dating the Jacob/Bethel story to a time when Bethel was still a working sanctuary is credible. There may be better a explanation, but I haven't encountered it yet.
There is no question that the names of two of the patriarchs were known before the exile -
The shrines of Isaac shall be laid waste, and the sanctuaries of Israel reduced to ruins; and I will turn upon the House of Jeroboam with the sword." (Amos 7:9 TNK)
And so, hear the word of the LORD. You say I must not prophesy about the House of Israel or preach about the House of Isaac; (Amos 7:16 TNK)
Odd that big Abe didn't make it into Amos, but that's poetry I guess. Abraham doesn't make anything clearly pre-exilic, he's mentioned in Deuteronomy 6 and 9 and a few other times in the Torah outside of Genesis in relation to the covenant. Note Jacob isn't mentioned in Amos. Esau makes the book of Obadiah, but that's 6th century BCE (I think that means exilic).

Jacob and Beth-El is an interesting point - not to mention other parts of the Jacob saga. However, I see Jacob as a unified story and am not convinced that each vignette shows a separate literary layer.

Have to admit, I was a little surprised, reviewing the literature (wiki mostly as my books and I are temporarily separated), that the DH does actually seem to be in bad shape. Never ceases to amaze me that I might not be spouting total bullshit.

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