The Documentary Hypothesis: Past and Present

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The subject of this paper has at least five names. Documentary Hypothesis and JEDP Theory are the most common. In this paper, this scholarly position will always be referred to as Documentary Hypothesis with a few exceptions. Documentary Hypothesis, or JEDP Theory, is the view held by various scholars that the five books of the Pentateuch were really written by four different authors, and not Moses. This theory claims that afterwards various editors (called Redactors) blended the five books together and edited them to make them flow easier. Documentary Hypothesis is one form of higher criticism theology and is closely associated with Germany. This hypothesis has its roots as far back as the Middle Ages, but began mostly with scholars in the 19th century who recognized inconsistencies in the Pentateuch and sought to explain them. These inconsistencies, referred to by Documentary Hypothesists, include differing names for God, and differences in writing styles. Some scholars also use the record of Moses’ death to support the theory, stating that Moses could not have written about his own death if he were the author. Those who hold this scholarly position believe that the real writers of the Pentateuch were four authors referred to as the Jahwist (Yahwist), the Elohist, the Deuteronomist, and the Priestly Writer. From these names they formed one of the titles of this theory, JEDP. There are many contradictory opinions concerning the Jahwist, or J as it is often named. It is said that the Jahwist lived in the kingdom of Judah. Half of Genesis, the first half of Numbers, and the book of Joshua are supposed to have been written by the Jahwist due to their grammatical and literary form and the names used for God. Because the selecte... ... middle of paper ... 25 September. 2009. “Edouard Guillaume Eugene Reuss.” Encyclopaedia Britannica (eleventh edition). 1910-1911. 25 September. 2009. “Did Moses Write the Pentateuch?” Don Closson. 2001. 26 September. 2009. “The Book of Genesis.” Wikipedia. 2009. 28 September. 2009. Van Seters, John. Abraham in History and Tradition. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1975. Hill, Andrew E. and Walton, John H. A Survey of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2000. “JEDP Theory” Theopedia. 2009. 28 September. 2009.
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