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Offline RebelLibertarian  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, May 23, 2012 1:14:51 PM(UTC)
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Neither the forum nor YY has considered the Documentary Hypothesis at all; while I am doing elementary research into it, I am mostly ignorant myself concerning its merits. For those unfamiliar with the theory, it was guessed in the 19th century that four independent narratives (best known as "Jahwist"/"Yahwist", "Elohist", "Deuteronomic", and "Priestly" sources) were combined to produce our current copy of the Torah; they noted concrete differences in styles, word-choice, and principal concerns of various sections of the Torah. German scholar Julius Wellhausen tried to estimate the date and country (Israel or Judah) wherein each source was written.

The theory postulates that the authorized version of the Torah was finally assembled after a series of redactions of undesired, repetitive, or contradictory text.

I'd be interested to hear what knowledge YY readers already have on the subject or if any references on it are considered especially good. For what it's worth, I was encouraged to study it by Karaite scholar and published author Dr. Shmuel Asher (http://www.ancienthebrewlearningcenter.blogspot.com, who claims that it's common knowledge (if rarely admitted in devout company) that the version of the Torah available to us is different from what Moshe must originally have received.
Offline James  
#2 Posted : Thursday, May 24, 2012 4:39:33 AM(UTC)
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While I have never heard it referred to as the Documentary Hypothesis before I have heard the theory a number of times, nice to finally have a name to put to it.

Personally I don't buy it. And i won't get into arguing every point that the authors make because it becomes it would take forever. I will however get into why I am not a proponent of it. It is based entirely on source/textual criticism, something which attempts to objectively quantify a subjective thing. The basics is they take 5 books and decide because one uses this name or phrase frequently and this one doesn't that it must have been written by different authors. So because one uses Yahowah more and another uses Elohiym more then they where done by two different authors.

The fact is the books of the Towrah where each written for a different purpose, you would therefore not expect them to have the exact same writing style as each other. If i where to give you five paper I wrote in college for different purposes you could apply the same methods and make a convincing argument that they where written by 5 different people.

Apart from the subjective nature of writing, the sample size is much to small to really determine an authors style. 5 books is all you have. I don't think you can take 5 books, each written for a different purpose and argue that different styles means different authors.

And that is the crux of it, style is subjective, and tailored to the people and the topic you are addressing. So for example using the name issue, which is one of the biggest points of DH, Yahowah is used when showing God in a personal way and in direct relationship with man, where as the title Elohiym gets used more often to describe His role as creator, and God. It's much the same way friends of a person in office switch between using the persons name and their title. If you are good friends with a mayor and are having dinner at there house you call them Bob, but if you are in public you refer to them as Mr. Mayor.

And that's just one example. Differences in text do not necessarily mean different authors.
Don't take my word for it, Look it up.

“The truth is not for all men but only for those who seek it.” ― Ayn Rand
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Sheree on 2/16/2015(UTC)
Offline Richard  
#3 Posted : Friday, May 25, 2012 6:17:52 AM(UTC)
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Sometimes we can tell a lot about someone from their Display Name. We can see what is important to them, how they want us to see them; their Display Name becomes their super hero outfit, as it were. And frankly, I find it difficult to take seriously anything someone says who uses a "Hey! Look at ME! I am SPECIAL!" Display Name.
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Sheree on 2/16/2015(UTC)
Offline RebelLibertarian2  
#4 Posted : Saturday, May 26, 2012 8:22:53 AM(UTC)
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James wrote:
While I have never heard it referred to as the Documentary Hypothesis before I have heard the theory a number of times, nice to finally have a name to put to it.


It's also called the JEDP Hypothesis (after the four postulated sources), or sometimes even the Graff-Wellhausen Hypothesis, even though neither Graf nor Wellhausen invented it. Maybe these names will ring bells for someone.

J wrote:
Personally I don't buy it. And i won't get into arguing every point that the authors make because it becomes it would take forever. I will however get into why I am not a proponent of it. It is based entirely on source/textual criticism, something which attempts to objectively quantify a subjective thing.


I respect that; it is a quite reasonable response since you don't claim to be 100% that what purports to be the Torah isn't at least slightly corrupted.

J wrote:
The basics is they take 5 books and decide because one uses this name or phrase frequently and this one doesn't that it must have been written by different authors. So because one uses Yahowah more and another uses Elohiym more then they where done by two different authors.
Sorry, this is a major misconception. The theory posits that the several sources were used to compile each book (except for "Leviticus", which is thought to have been mostly the work of the Priestly Source, and Deuteronomy, which is believed to have been largely the work of the Deuteronomist, Jahwist, and Elohist sources). Here's a graphical representation of how the theory attributes authorship of the first four books: UserPostedImage

J wrote:
...

And that is the crux of it, style is subjective, and tailored to the people and the topic you are addressing. So for example using the name issue, which is one of the biggest points of DH, Yahowah is used when showing God in a personal way and in direct relationship with man, where as the title Elohiym gets used more often to describe His role as creator, and God. It's much the same way friends of a person in office switch between using the persons name and their title. If you are good friends with a mayor and are having dinner at there house you call them Bob, but if you are in public you refer to them as Mr. Mayor.

And that's just one example. Differences in text do not necessarily mean different authors.


No disagreement on this last point: it will take more evidence than mere textual analysis to confirm the DH. However, I personally believe it deserves interest, not even so much because learned Jews and Karaites privately acknowledge it, but also because there are records in the Prophets and Writings (like in Nehemiah, wherein the Persian military helps impose some new "law" on the newly-returned exiles, whereat the latter weep) that strike me as arcane messages intended only for the comprehension of the "enlightened" that our version of the Torah is distinct from the oldest Israelite tradition. (For what it's worth, genocide, circumcision, and animal sacrifices are not to be found in the hypothetical "J" text, thought to be the oldest of the four sources.) Any more information would thus be appreciated.

FlintFace, we're all special, and I'm really just trying to learn here.
Offline James  
#5 Posted : Saturday, May 26, 2012 9:32:52 AM(UTC)
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The problem with accepting the DH is that it then renders God unknowable. So for me to accept it there would have to be a lot more evidence then the DH offers. There would have to be concrete evidence, not just subjective textual criticism. So if we where to say find a source as old or older than the the DSS that differed significantly with the DSS it would cause me to rethink it.

The other thing is that Yahowah knew that man could not be trusted with preserving His message 100%, which is why he repeats himself over and over. Another thing to keep in mind is that while there are difference between the Masoretic and the DSS the various manuscripts found among the DSS that contain the same passages are nearly uniform in their rendering (I haven't done a verse by verse comparison).

Again for me to throw away the Towrah as unreliable, which is what I would have to do if I accepted the DH, then I would need hard evidence, and there simply isn't any.
Don't take my word for it, Look it up.

“The truth is not for all men but only for those who seek it.” ― Ayn Rand
Offline Richard  
#6 Posted : Wednesday, May 30, 2012 2:15:20 PM(UTC)
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RebelLibertarian2 wrote:
FlintFace, we're all special, and I'm really just trying to learn here.


The only thing special about anyone anywhere would be that Yahowah knows them. If you are sincerely trying to learn, then I apologize.
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FredSnell on 3/10/2015(UTC)
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