Source: T. D. Alexander, From Paradise to the Promised Land: An Introduction to the Pentateuch. 2nd ed., Grand Rapids: MI, Baker Academic, 2002, chapter 2.
These are from my reading notes that are meant to recapitulate the history of source criticism of Pentateuch of the Bible.
Classical documentary hypothesis
- Jean Astruc (1684-1766): Genesis is not all mosaic
- Johann Gottfried Eichhorn (1752-1827): mosaic authorship but two distinct source documents were behind the Genesis
- Karl David Ilgen (1763-1834): Genesis comprises 17 individual documents three authors— Two Elohists and one Yahwist
- Attention extends beyond the Genesis and to all the Pentateuch
- redefines source documents as fragmentary nature (rather than extensive documents)
- Alexander Geddes (1737-1802): proposed text Hexateuch and rejected mosaic authorship
- Johann Severin Vater (1771 1826): Deuteronomy is the nucleus around which the Pentateuch has been constructed
- Wilhelm Martín Kebrecht de Wette (1780 849): Deuteronomy was composed in a time of King Josiah (c. 621 BC); i.e. the book of law in 2 Kings 22. The Deuteronomistic history (Joshua to Kings prior to the time of Josiah) displays no knowledge of the sanctuary and the kingship laws, which is Deuteronomy’s main concern (17:14-20). His view is influential. Leviticus is after Solomon; Cultic history recorded in Joshua and the Chronicles was unreliable; the oldest of the Pentateuch came from the time of David; Genesis derives from one main Elohist document supplemented by sections of another Yawist source (this view boasts strong support by later scholars)
The supplementary hypothesis
- this view does not receive much support
- Heinrich George August Ewlad (1803 1875): Hexateuch was composed of an Elohist source supplemented by later Yawist source (supports Wette).
- Friedrich Bleek: the Yahwist editor is from the early monarchy. He compiles of the Genesis by supplementing the Elohist source with Yahwist parallel accounts.
New documentary hypothesis
- Hermann Hupfield (1796 1866): return to the pure documentary explanation and rejects the idea of later supplements. Two Elohists and one Yahwis (same as Ilgen); the first Elohist document is the original (Gen. 1-19); the second Elohist begins in Genesis 20 and dominates the narrative.
- Eduard Riehm: Deuteronomy is independent from other books of the Pentateuch (supports Wette). This new documentary hypothesis proposes that the attitude was composed of four documents combined by a redactor. Its order is: 1) first Elohist (P); 2) second Elohist (E); Yahwist (J); Deuteronomy (D)
- Edward Boehmer (supports Hupfield): P is Davidic, J is during Elisha (9th century BC), E is during Jeroboam’s reign (first half of 8th century BC), and finally a redactor combined them during Josiah’s time (late 7th century BC).
- Theodor Noeldeke: P is after Solomon.
- Karl Heinrich Gref (1815-1859): JE is earlier than D; tabernacle reference in P is fictional; P is late or even postexilic.
- Wilhelm Vatke (1806-1882): Hegelian idea of history; 1) JE came first with an emphasis on nature and fertility; 2) D emphasizes on the spiritual and ethical ideals aligning with the prophetic tradition in the 8th century BC); 3) P is legalistic thus came last.
- Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918): JE (Yahwis and Elohist were combined during the first redaction stage; 840 and 700 respectively); then D (Josiah’s time, with a subsequent supplementation of narrative and legal contents by someone with the knowledge of JE but not P); P came last during the fifth century BC after JED were combined (500-450).
- He also concluded that three main feasts featured in ancient Israel: unleavened bread, Sukkoth, and tabernacle week tell us about an agricultural society rather than a nomadic one.
- Passover was after J and was connected with the unleavened bread only during Josiah’s reform. It suggests a nomadic culture in prior to the early monarchy but is left out in the book of the Covenant. The feast was loosely observed after the Canaan settlement (the beginning of agricultural transition) as it went through a cultic decentralization process and faded into a family-based practice. It only gets revived again after Northern Kingdom’s fall.
- J. Van Seters: DJP; unleavened bread is totally a late thing, invented only during the exile when the temple is destroyed and eating Passover meal is no longer possible. (D restricted Passover to be a centralized celebration.)