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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
1. The Current Critical Scheme
2. The Evidence for the Current Critical Scheme
(1) Astruc's Clue
(2) Signs of Post-Mosaic Date
(3) Narrative Discrepancies
(5) The Laws
(6) The Argument from Style
(7) Props of the Development Hypothesis
3. The Answer to the Critical Analysis
(1) The Veto of Textual Criticism
(2) Astruc's Clue Tested
(3) The Narrative Discrepancies and Signs of Post-Mosaic Date Examined
(4) The Argument from the Doublets Examined
(5) The Critical Argument from the Laws
(6) The Argument from Style
(7) Perplexities of the Theory
(8) Signs of Unity
(9) The Supposed Props of the Development Hypothesis
4. The Evidence of Date
(1) The Narrative of Genesis
(2) Archaeology and Genesis
(3) The Legal Evidence of Genesis
(4) The Professedly Mosaic Character of the Legislation
(5) The Historical Situation Required by Pentateuch
(6) The Hierarchical Organization in Pentateuch
(7) The Legal Evidence of Pentateuch
(8) The Evidence of D
(9) Later Allusions
(10) Other Evidence
5. The Fundamental Improbabilities of the Critical Case
(1) The Moral and Psychological Issues
(2) The Historical Improbability
(3) The Divergence between the Laws and Post-exilic Practice
(4) The Testimony of Tradition
6. The Origin and Transmission of the Pentateuch
1. Style of Legislation
2. The Narrative
3. The Covenant
4. Order and Rhythm
1. Textual Criticism and History
2. Hebrew Methods of Expression
3. Personification and Genealogies
4. Literary Form
5. The Sacred Numbers
6. Habits of Thought
7. National Coloring
8. How Far the Pentateuch Is Trustworthy
(1) Contemporaneous Information
(2) Character of Our Informants
(3) Historical Genius of the People
(4) Good Faith of Deuteronomy
(5) Nature of the Events Recorded
(6) External Corroborations
9. The Pentateuch as Reasoned History
1. Hindu Law Books
4. The Universal Aspect
5. The National Aspect
I. Title, Division, Contents
( תּורה ,
The five books into which the Pentateuch is divided are respectively Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, and the separate articles should be consulted for information as to their nomenclature.
The work opens with an account of the Creation, and passes to the story of the first human couple. The narrative is carried on partly by genealogies and partly by fuller accounts to Abraham. Then comes a history of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the collateral lines of descendants being rapidly dismissed. The story of Joseph is told in detail, and Genesis closes with his death. The rest of the Pentateuch covers the oppression of the Israelites in Egypt, their exodus and wanderings, the conquest of the trans-Jordanic lands and the fortunes of the people to the death of Moses. The four concluding books contain masses of legislation mingled with the narrative (for special contents, see articles on the several books).
II. Authorship, Composition, Date.
1. The Current Critical Scheme:
The view that Moses was the author of the Pentateuch, with the exception of the concluding verses of Deuteronomy, was once held universally. It is still believed by the great mass of Jews and Christians, but in most universities of Northern Europe and North America other theories prevail. An application of what is called "higher" or "documentary criticism" (to distinguish it from lower or textual criticism) has led to the formation of a number of hypotheses. Some of these are very widely held, but unanimity has not been attained, and recent investigations have challenged even the conclusions that are most generally accepted. In the English-speaking countries the vast majority of the critics would regard Driver's, Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament and Carpenter and Harford-Battersby's Hexateuch as fairly representative of their position, but on the Continent of Europe the numerous school that holds some such position is dwindling alike in numbers and influence, while even in Great Britain and America some of the ablest critics are beginning to show signs of being shaken in their allegiance to cardinal points of the higher-critical case. However, at the time of writing, these latter critics have not put forward any fresh formulation of their views, and accordingly the general positions of the works named may be taken as representing with certain qualifications the general critical theory. Some of the chief stadia in the development of this may be mentioned.
After attention had been drawn by earlier writers to various signs of post-Mosaic date and extraordinary perplexities in the Pentateuch, the first real step toward what its advocates have, till within the last few years, called "the modern position" was taken by J. Astruc (1753). He propounded what Carpenter terms "the clue to the documents," i.e. the difference of the divine appellations in Genesis as a test of authorship. On this view the word
Geddes (1792) and Vater (1802-1805) extended the method applied to Genesis to the other books of the Pentateuch.
In 1798 Ilgen distinguished two Elohists in Genesis, but this view did not find followers for some time. The next step of fundamental importance was the assignment of the bulk of Deuteronomy to the 7th century BC. This was due to De Wette (1806). Hupfeld (1853) again distinguished a second Elohist, and this has been accepted by most critics. Thus, there are four main documents at least: D (the bulk of Deuteronomy), two Elohists (P and E) and one document (Jahwist) that uses the Tetragrammaton in Genesis. From 1822 (Bleek) a series of writers maintained that the Book of Joshua was compounded from the same documents as the Pentateuch (see HEXATEUCH ).
Two other developments call for notice: (1) there has been a tendency to subdivide these documents further, regarding them as the work of schools rather than of individuals, and resolving them into different strata (P1, Secondary Priestly Writers, P3, etc., J1, Later additions to J, etc., or in the notation of other writers Jj Je, etc.); (2) a particular scheme of dating has found wide acceptance. In the first period of the critical development it was assumed that the principal Elohist (P) was the earliest document. A succession of writers of whom Reuss, Graf, Kuenen and Wellhausen are the most prominent have, however, maintained that this is not the first but the last in point of time and should be referred to the exile or later. On this view theory is in outline as follows: J and E (so called from their respective divine appellations) - on the relative dates of which opinions differ - were composed probably during the early monarchy and subsequently combined by a redactor (Rje) into a single document JE. In the 7th century D, the bulk of Deuteronomy, was composed. It was published in the 18th year of Josiah's reign. Later it was combined with
This theory will hereafter be discussed at length for two reasons: (1) while it is now constantly losing ground, it is still more widely held than any other; and (2) so much of the modern literature on the Old Testament has been written from this standpoint that no intelligent use can be made of the most ordinary books of reference without some acquaintance with it.
Before 1908 the conservative opposition to the dominant theory had exhibited two separate tendencies. One school of conservatives rejected the scheme in toto ; the other accepted the analysis with certain modifications, but sought to throw back the dating of the documents. In both these respects it had points of contact with dissentient critics (e.g. Delitzsch, Dillmann, Baudissin, Kittel, Strack, Van Hoonacker), who sought to save for conservatism any spars they could from the general wreckage. The former school of thought was most prominently represented by the late W.H. Green, and J. Raven's Old Testament Introduction may be regarded as a typical modern presentation of their view; the latter especially by Robertson and Orr. The scheme put forward by the last named has found many adherents. He refuses to regard J and E as two separate documents, holding that we should rather think (as in the case of the parallel Psalms) of two recensions of one document marked by the use of different divine appellations. The critical P he treats as the work of a supplemented, and thinks it never had an independent existence, while he considers the whole Pentateuch as early. He holds that the work was done by "original composers, working with a common aim, and toward a common end, in contrast with the idea of late irresponsible redactors, combining, altering, manipulating, enlarging at pleasure" ( POT , 375).
While these were the views held among Old Testament critics, a separate opposition had been growing up among archaeologists. This was of course utilized to the utmost by the conservatives of both wings. In some ways archaeology undoubtedly has confirmed the traditional view as against the critical (see ARCHAEOLOGY AND CRITICISM ); but a candid survey leads to the belief that it has not yet dealt a mortal blow, and here again it must be remembered that the critics may justly plead that they must not be judged on mistakes that they made in their earlier investigations or on refutations of the more uncertain portions of their theory, but rather on the main completed result. It may indeed be said with confidence that there are certain topics to which archaeology can never supply any conclusive answer. If it be the case that the Pentateuch contains hopelessly contradictory laws, no archaeological discovery can make them anything else; if the numbers of the Israelites are original and impossible, archaeology cannot make them possible. It is fair and right to lay stress on the instances in which archaeology has confirmed the Bible as against the critics; it is neither fair nor right to speak as if archaeology had done what it never purported to do and never could effect.
The year 1908 saw the beginning of a new critical development which makes it very difficult to speak positively of modern critical views. Kuenen has been mentioned as one of the ablest and most eminent of those who brought the Graf-Wellhausen theory into prominence. In that year B.D. Eerdmans, his pupil and successor at Leyden, began the publication of a series of Old Testament studies in which he renounces his allegiance to the line of critics that had extended from Astruc to the publications of our own day, and entered on a series of investigations that were intended to set forth a new critical view. As his labors are not yet complete, it is impossible to present any account of his scheme; but the volumes already published justify certain remarks. Eerdmans has perhaps not converted any member of the Wellhausen school, but he has made many realize that their own scheme is not the only one possible. Thus while a few years ago we were constantly assured that the "main results" of Old Testament criticism were unalterably settled, recent writers adopt a very different tone: e.g. Sellin (1910) says, "We stand in a time of fermentation and transition, and in what follows we present our own opinion merely as the hypothesis which appears to us to be the best founded" ( Einleitung , 18). By general consent Eerdmans' work contains a number of isolated shrewd remarks to which criticism will have to attend in the future; but it also contains many observations that are demonstrably unsound (for examples see BS, 1909,744-48; 1910,549-51). His own reconstruction is in many respects so faulty and blurred that it does not seem likely that it will ever secure a large following in its present form. On the other hand he appears to have succeeded in inducing a large number of students in various parts of the world to think along new lines and in this way may exercise a very potent influence on the future course of Old Testament study. His arguments show increasingly numerous signs of his having been influenced by the publications of conservative writers, and it seems certain that criticism will ultimately be driven to recognize the essential soundness of the conservative position. In 1912 Dahse (
2. The Evidence for the Current Critical Scheme:
The examination of the Graf-Wellhausen theory must now be undertaken, and attention must first be directed to the evidence which is adduced in its support. Why should it be held that the Pentateuch is composed mainly of excerpts from certain documents designated as J and E and P and D? Why is it believed that these documents are of very late date, in one case subsequent to the exile?
(1) Astruc's Clue.
It has been said above that Astruc propounded the use of the divine appellations in Genesis as a clue to the dissection of that book. This is based on Exodus 6:3 ,
(2) Signs of Post-Mosaic Date.
Close inspection of the Pentateuch shows that it contains a number of passages which, it is alleged, could not have proceeded from the pen of Moses in their present form. Probably the most familiar instance is the account of the death of Moses (Deuteronomy 34:1-12 ). Other examples are to be found in seeming allusions to post-Mosaic events, e.g. in Gen 22 we hear of the Mount of the Lord in the land of Moriah; this apparently refers to the Temple Hill, which, however, would not have been so designated before Solomon. So too the list of kings who reigned over Edom "before there reigned any king over the children of Israel" (Genesis 36:31 ) presumes the existence of the monarchy. The Canaanites who are referred to as being "then in the land" (Genesis 12:6; Genesis 13:7 ) did not disappear till the time of Solomon, and, accordingly, if this expression means "then still" it cannot antedate his reign. Deuteronomy 3:11 (Og's bedstead) comes unnaturally from one who had vanquished Og but a few weeks previously, while Numbers 21:14 (the King James Version) contains a reference to "the book of the Wars of the Lord" which would hardly have been quoted in this way by a contemporary. Exodus 16:35 refers to the cessation of the manna after the death of Moses. These passages, and more like them, are cited to disprove Mosaic authorship; but the main weight of the critical argument does not rest on them.
(3) Narrative Discrepancies.
While the divine appellations form the starting-point, they do not even in Genesis constitute the sole test of different documents. On the contrary, there are other narrative discrepancies, antinomies, differences of style, duplicate narratives, etc., adduced to support the critical theory. We must now glance at some of these.
In Genesis 21:14 f Ishmael is a boy who can be carried on his mother's shoulder, but from a comparison of Genesis 16:3 , Genesis 16:16; 17, it appears that he must have been 14 when Isaac was born, and, since weaning sometimes occurs at the age of 3 in the East, may have been even as old as 17 when this incident happened. Again, "We all remember the scene (Gen 27) in which Isaac in extreme old age blesses his sons; we picture him as lying on his deathbed. Do we, however, all realize that according to the chronology of the Book of Genesis he must have been thus lying on his deathbed for eighty years (compare Genesis 25:26; Genesis 26:34; Genesis 35:28 )? Yet we can only diminish this period by extending proportionately the interval between Esau marrying his Hittite wives (Genesis 26:34 ) and Rebekah's suggestion to Isaac to send Jacob away, lest he should follow his brother's example (Genesis 27:46 ); which, from the nature of the case, will not admit of any but slight extension. Keil, however, does so extend it, reducing the period of Isaac's final illness by 43 years, and is conscious of no incongruity in supposing that Rebekah, 30 years after Esau had taken his Hittite wives, should express her fear that Jacob, then aged 77, will do the same" (Driver, Contemporary Review ,
An important instance occurs in Numbers. According to Numbers 33:38 , Aaron died on the 1st day of the 5th month. From Deuteronomy 1:3 it appears that 6 months later Moses delivered his speech in the plains of Moab. Into those 6 months are compressed one month's mourning for Aaron, the Arad campaign, the wandering round by the Red Sea, the campaigns against Sihon and Og, the missions to Balaam and the whole episode of his prophecies, the painful occurrences of Nu 25, the second census, the appointment of Joshua, the expedition against Midian, besides other events. It is clearly impossible to fit all these into the time.
Other discrepancies are of the most formidable character. Aaron dies now at Mt. Hor (Numbers 20:28; Numbers 33:38 ), now at Moserah (Deuteronomy 10:6 ). According to Dt 1; Deuteronomy 2:1 , Deuteronomy 2:14 , the children of Israel left Kadesh-barnea in the 3rd year and never subsequently returned to it, while in Nu they apparently remain there till the journey to Mt. Hor, where Aaron dies in the 40th year. The Tent of Meeting perhaps _ provides some of the most perplexing of the discrepancies, for while according to the well-known scheme of Ex 25 ff and many other passages, it was a large and heavy erection standing in the midst of the camp, Exodus 33:7-11 provides us with another Tent of Meeting that stood outside the camp at a distance and could be carried by Moses alone. The verbs used are frequentative, denoting a regular practice, and it is impossible to suppose that after receiving the commands for the Tent of Meeting Moses could have instituted a quite different tent of the same name . Joseph again is sold, now by Ishmaelites (Genesis 37:27 , Genesis 37:28; Genesis 39:1 ), anon by Midianites (31:28a, 36). Sometimes he is imprisoned in one place, sometimes apparently in another. The story of Korah, Dathan and Abiram in Nu 16 is equally full of difficulty. The enormous numbers of the Israelites given in Nu 1 through 4, etc., are in conflict with passages that regard them as very few.
Another portion of the critical argument is provided by doublets or duplicate narratives of the same event, e.g. Genesis 16,21 . These are particularly numerous in Genesis, but are not confined to that book. "Twice do quails appear in connection with the daily manna (Numbers 11:4-6 , Numbers 11:31 ff; Exodus 16:13 ). Twice does Moses draw water from the rock, when the strife of Israel begets the name Meribah ('strife') (Exodus 17:1-7; Numbers 20:1-13 )" (Carpenter, Hexateuch , I, 30).
(5) The Laws.
Most stress is laid on the argument from the laws and their supposed historical setting. By far the most important portions of this are examined in SANCTUARY and
(6) The Argument from Style.
The argument from style is less easy to exemplify shortly, since it depends so largely on an immense mass of details. It is said that each of the sources has certain characteristic phrases which either occur nowhere else or only with very much less frequency. For instance in Genesis 1 , where
(7) Props of the Development Hypothesis.
While the main supports of the Graf-Wellhausen theory must be sought in the articles to which reference has been made, it is necessary to mention briefly some other phenomena to which some weight is attached. Jeremiah displays many close resemblances to Deuteronomy, and the framework of Kings is written in a style that has marked similarities to the same book. Ezekiel again has notable points of contact with P and especially with H; either he was acquainted with these portions of the Pentateuch or else he must have exercised considerable influence on those who composed them. Lastly the Chronicler is obviously acquainted with the completed Pentateuch. Accordingly, it is claimed that the literature provides a sort of external standard that confirms the historical stages which the different Pentateuchal sources are said to mark. Deuteronomy influences Jeremiah and the subsequent literature. It is argued that it would equally have influenced the earlier books, had it then existed. So too the completed Pentateuch should have influenced Kings as it did Chronicles, if it had been in existence when the earlier history was composed.
3. Answer to the Critical Analysis:
(1) The Veto of Textual Criticism.
The first great objection that may be made to the higher criticism is that it starts from the Massoretic text (MT) without investigation. This is not the only text that has come down to us, and in some instances it can be shown that alternative readings that have been preserved are superior to those of the Massoretic Text. A convincing example occurs in Exodus 18 . According to the Hebrew, Jethro comes to Moses and says "I, thy father-in-law ... am come," and subsequently Moses goes out to meet his father-in-law. The critics here postulate different sources, but some of the best authorities have preserved a reading which (allowing for ancient differences of orthography) supposes an alteration of a single letter. According to this reading the text told how one (or they) came to Moses and said "Behold thy father-in-law ... is come." As the result of this Moses went out and met Jethro. The vast improvement in the sense is self-evident. But in weighing the change other considerations must be borne in mind. Since this is the reading of some of the most ancient authorities, only two views are possible. Either the Massoretic Text has undergone a corruption of a single letter, or else a redactor made a most improbable cento of two documents which gave a narrative of the most doubtful sense. Fortunately this was followed by textual corruption of so happy a character as to remove the difficulty by the change of a single letter; and this corruption was so widespread that it was accepted as the genuine text by some of our best authorities. There can be little doubt which of these two cases is the more credible, and with the recognition of the textual solution the particular bit of the analysis that depends on this corruption falls to the ground. This instance illustrates one branch of textual criticism; there are others. Sometimes the narrative shows with certainty that in the transmission of the text transpositions have taken place; e.g. the identification of Kadesh shows that it was South of Hormah. Consequently, a march to compass Edom by way of the Red Sea would not bring the Israelites to Hormah. Here there is no reason to doubt that the events narrated are historically true, but there is grave reason to doubt that they happened in the present order of the narrative. Further, Deuteronomy gives an account that is parallel to certain passages of Numbers; and it confirms those passages, but places the events in a different order. Such difficulties may often be solved by simple transpositions, and when transpositions in the text of Nu are made under the guidance of Deuteronomy they have a very different probability from guesses that enjoy no such sanction. Another department of textual criticism deals with the removal of glosses, i.e. notes that have crept into the text. Here the ancient versions often help us, one or other omitting some words which may be proved from other sources to be a later addition. Thus in Exodus 17:7 the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) did not know the expression, "and Meribah" (one word in Hebrew), and calls the place "Massah" simply. This is confirmed by the fact that Deuteronomy habitually calls the place Massah ( Deuteronomy 6:16; Deuteronomy 9:22; Deuteronomy 33:8 ). The true Meribah was Kadesh (Nu 20) and a glossator has here added this by mistake (see further (4) below). Thus we can say that a scientific textual criticism often opposes a real veto to the higher critical analysis by showing that the arguments rest on late corruptions and by explaining the true origin of the difficulties on which the critics rely.
(2) Astruc's Clue Tested.
Astruc's clue must next be examined. The critical case breaks down with extraordinary frequency. No clean division can be effected, i.e. there are cases where the Massoretic Text of Genesis makes P or E use the Tetragrammaton (
(3) The Narrative Discrepancies and Signs of Post-Mosaic Date Examined.
Septuagintal manuscripts are providing very illuminating material for dealing with the chronological difficulties. It is well known that the Septuagint became corrupt and passed through various recensions (see SEPTUAGINT ). The original text has not yet been reconstructed, but as the result of the great variety of recensions it happens that our various manuscripts present a wealth of alternative readings. Some of these show an intrinsic superiority to the corresponding readings of the Massoretic Text. Take the case of Ishmael's age. We have seen (above, 2, (3)) that although in Genesis 21:14 f he is a boy who can be carried by his mother even after the weaning of Isaac, his father, according to Genesis 16:3 , Genesis 16:16 , was 86 years old at the time of his birth, and, according to Genesis 17, 100 years old when Isaac was born. In Genesis 17:25 we find that Ishmael is already 13 a year before Isaac's birth. Now we are familiar with marginal notes that set forth a system of chronology in many printed English Bibles. In this case the Septuagintal variants suggest that something similar is responsible for the difficulty of our Hebrew. Two manuscripts, apparently representing a recension, omit the words, "after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan" in Genesis 16:3 , and again, Genesis 16:16 , while in Genesis 17:25 there is a variant making Ishmael only 3 years old. If these readings are correct it is easy to see how the difficulty arose. The narrative originally contained mere round numbers, like 100 years old, and these were not intended to be taken literally. A commentator constructed a scheme of chronology which was embodied in marginal notes. Then these crept into the text and such numbers as were in conflict with them were thought to be corrupt and underwent alteration. Thus the 3-year-old Ishmael became 13.
The same manuscripts that present us with the variants in Genesis 16 have also preserved a suggestive reading in Genesis 35:28 , one of the passages that are responsible for the inference that according to the text of Genesis Isaac lay on his deathbed for 80 years (see above, 2, (3)). According to this Isaac was not 180, but 150 years old when he died. It is easy to see that this is a round number, not to be taken literally, but this is not the only source of the difficulty. In Genesis 27:41 , Esau, according to English Versions of the Bible, states "The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob." This is a perfectly possible rendering of the Hebrew, but the Septuagint translated the text differently, and its rendering, while grammatically correct, has the double advantage of avoiding Isaac's long lingering on a deathbed and of presenting Esau's hatred and ferocity far more vividly. It renders, "May the days of mourning for my father approach that I may slay my brother Jacob." Subsequent translators preferred the milder version, but doubtless the Septuagint has truly apprehended the real sense of the narrative. If we read the chapter with this modification, we see Isaac as an old man, not knowing when he may die, performing the equivalent of making his will. It puts no strain on our credulity to suppose that he may have lived 20 or 30 years longer. Such episodes occur constantly in everyday experience. As to the calculations based on Genesis 25:26 and Genesis 26:34 , the numbers used are 60 and 40, which, as is well known, were frequently employed by the ancient Hebrews, not as mathematical expressions, but simply to denote unknown or unspecified periods. See NUMBER .
The other chronological difficulty cited above (namely, that there is not room between the date of Aaron's death and the address by Moses in the plains of Moab for all the events assigned to this period by Numbers) is met partly by a reading preserved by the Peshitta and partly by a series of transpositions. In Numbers 33:38 Peshitta reads "first" for "fifth" as the month of Aaron's death, thus recognizing a longer period for the subsequent events. The transpositions, however, which are largely due to the evidence of Deuteronomy, solve the most formidable and varied difficulties; e.g. a southerly march from Kadesh no longer conducts the Israelites to Arad in the north, the name Hormah is no longer used ( Numbers 14:45 ) before it is explained (Numbers 21:3 ), there is no longer an account directly contradicting Dt and making the Israelites spend 38 years at Kadesh immediately after receiving a divine command to turn "tomorrow" (Numbers 14:25 ). A full discussion is impossible here and will be found in EPC , 114-38. The order of the narrative that emerges as probably original is as follows: Nu 12; Numbers 20:1 , Numbers 20:14-21; Numbers 21:1-3; 13; 14; 16 through 18; Numbers 20:2-13 , Numbers 20:12; Numbers 21:4-9 , then some missing vs, bringing the Israelites to the head of the Gulf of Akabah and narrating the turn northward from Elath and Ezion-geber, then Numbers 20:22-29; Numbers 21:4 , and some lost words telling of the arrival at the station before Oboth. In Numbers 33:40 is a gloss that is missing in Lagarde's Septuagint, and Numbers 33:36-37 should probably come earlier in the chapter than they do at present.
Another example of transposition is afforded by Exodus 33:7-11 , the passage relating to the Tent of Meeting which is at present out of place (see above 2, (3)). It is supposed that this is E's idea of the Tabernacle, but that, unlike the Priestly Code (P), he places it outside the camp and makes Joshua its priest. This latter view is discussed and refuted in
Some other points must be indicated more briefly. In Numbers 16 important Septuagintal variants remove the main difficulties by substituting "company of Korah" for "dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram" in two verses (see
(4) The Argument from the Doublets Examined.
The foregoing sections show that the documentary theory often depends on phenomena that were absent from the original Pentateuch. We are now to examine arguments that rest on other foundations. The doublets have been cited, but when we examine the instances more carefully, some curious facts emerge. Genesis 16,21 are, to all appearance, narratives of different events; so are Exodus 17:1-7 and Numbers 20:1-13 (the drawing of water from rocks). In the latter case the critics after rejecting this divide the passages into 5 different stories, two going to J, two to E and one to Pentateuch. If the latter also had a Rephidimnarrative (compare Numbers 33:14 P), there were 6 tales. In any case both J and E tell two stories each. It is impossible to assign any cogency to the argument that the author of the Pentateuch could not have told two such narratives, if not merely the redactor of the Pentateuch but also J and E could do so. The facts as to the manna stories are similar. As to the flights of quails, it is known that these do in fact occur every year, and the Pentateuch places them at almost exactly a year's interval (see EPC , 104 f, 109 f).
(5) The Critical Argument from the Laws.
The legal arguments are due to a variety of misconceptions, the washing out of the historical background and the state of the text. Reference must be made to the separate articles (especially SANCTUARY;
(6) The Argument from Style.
Just as this argument is too detailed to be set out in a work like the present, so the answer cannot be given with any degree of fullness. It may be said generally that the argument too frequently neglects differences of subject-matter and other sufficient reasons (such as considerations of euphony and slight variations of meaning) which often provide far more natural reasons for the phenomena observed. Again, the versions suggest that the Biblical text has been heavily glossed. Thus in many passages where the frequent recurrence of certain words and phrases is supposed to attest the presence of the Priestly Code (P), versional evidence seems to show that the expressions in question have been introduced by glossators, and when they are removed the narrative remains unaffected in meaning, but terser and more vigorous and greatly improved as a vehicle of expression. To take a simple instance in Genesis 23:1 , "And the life of Sarah was a hundred and seven and twenty years:...the years of the fife of Sarah ," the italicized words were missing in the Septuagint. When they are removed the meaning is unaltered, but the form of expression is far superior. They are obviously mere marginal note. Again the critical method is perpetually breaking down. It constantly occurs that redactors have to be called in to remove from a passage attributed to some source expressions that are supposed to be characteristic of another source, and this is habitually done on no other ground than that theory requires it. One instance muse be given. It is claimed that the word "create" is a P-word. It occurs several times in Gen 1:1 through 2:4a and Genesis 2:3 times in Genesis 5:1 , Genesis 5:2 , but in Genesis 6:7 it is found in a J-passage, and some critics therefore assign it to a redactor. Yet J undoubtedly uses the word in Numbers 16:30 and D in Dt 4:82. On the other hand, P does not use the word exclusively , even in Gen 1 through 2:4, the word "make" being employed in Genesis 1:7 , Genesis 1:25 , Genesis 1:26 , Genesis 1:31; Genesis 2:2 , while in Genesis 2:3 both words are combined. Yet all these passages are given unhesitatingly to P.
(7) Perplexities of the Theory.
The perplexities of the critical hypothesis are very striking, but a detailed discussion is impossible here. Much material will, however, be found in POT and Eerd . A few general statements may be made. The critical analysis repeatedly divides a straightforward narrative into two sets of fragments, neither of which will make sense without the other. A man will go to sleep in one document and wake in another, or a subject will belong to one source and the predicate to another. No intelligible account can be given of the proceedings of the redactors who one moment slavishly preserve their sources and at another cut them about without any necessity, who now rewrite their material and now leave it untouched. Even in the ranks of the Wellhausen critics chapters will be assigned by one writer to the post-exilic period and by another to the earliest sources (e.g. Genesis 14 , pre-Mosaic in the main according to Sellin (1910), post-exilic according to others), and the advent of Eerdmans and Dahse has greatly increased the perplexity. Clue after clue, both stylistic and material, is put forward, to be abandoned silently at some later stage. Circular arguments are extremely common: it is first alleged that some phenomenon is characteristic of a particular source; then passages are referred to that source for no other reason than the presence of that phenomenon; lastly these passages are cited to prove that the phenomenon in question distinguishes the source. Again theory is compelled to feed on itself; for J, E, the Priestly Code (P), etc., we have schools of J's, E's, etc., subsisting side by side for centuries, using the same material, employing the same ideas, yet remaining separate in minute stylistic points. This becomes impossible when viewed in the light of the evidences of pre-Mosaic date in parts of Genesis (see below 4, (1) to (3)).
(8) Signs of Unity.
It is often possible to produce very convincing internal evidence of the unity of what the critics sunder. A strong instance of this is to be found when one considers the characters portrayed. The character of Abraham or Laban, Jacob or Moses is essentially unitary. There is but one Abraham, and this would not be so if we really had a cento of different documents representing the results of the labor of various schools during different centuries. Again, there are sometimes literary marks of unity, e.g. in Numbers 16 , the effect of rising anger is given to the dialogue by the repetition of "Ye take too much upon you" (Numbers 16:3 , Numbers 16:7 ), followed by the repetition of "Is it a small thing that" (Numbers 16:9 , Numbers 16:13 ). This must be the work of a single literary artist (see further SBL , 37 f).
(9) The Supposed Props of the Development Hypothesis.
When we turn to the supposed props of the development hypothesis we see that there is nothing conclusive in the critical argument. Jeremiah and the subsequent literature certainly exhibit the influence of Deuteronomy, but a Book of the Law was admittedly found in Josiah's reign and had lain unread for at any rate some considerable time. Some of its requirements had been in actual operation, e.g. in Naboth's case, while others had become a dead letter. The circumstances of its discovery, the belief in its undoubted Mosaic authenticity and the subsequent course of history led to its greatly influencing contemporary and later writers, but that really proves nothing. Ezekiel again was steeped in priestly ideas, but it is shown in
4. The Evidence of Date:
(1) The Narrative of Genesis.
Entirely different lines of argument are provided by the abundant internal evidences of date. In Genesis 10:19 , we read the phrase "as thou goest toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and Admah and Zeboiim" in a definition of boundary. Such language could only have originated when the places named actually existed. One does not define boundaries by reference to towns that are purely mythical or have been overthrown many centuries previously. The consistent tradition is that these towns were destroyed in the lifetime of Abraham, and the passage therefore cannot be later than his age. But the critics assign it to a late stratum of J, i.e. to a period at least 1,000 years too late. This suggests
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Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Pentateuch'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/isb/p/pentateuch.html. 1915.
the Sixth Week after Easter