Pentateuchal Criticism And Interpretation

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Pentateuchal Criticism and InterpretationKenneth A. KitchenNotes ofthree lectures given at the Annual Conference ofthe TheologicalStudents' Fellowship, held at The Hayes, Swanwick, Derbyshire fromDecember 27 to 31, 1965Digitised by Robert I Bradshaw, June 2011. 1965 UCCF. Reproduced by permission

SYNOPSIS OF CONTENTSLecture I:CONVENTIONAL DOCUMENTARY AND DEVELOPMENT THEORIES:THE INTERI AL EVIDENCEAIntroductoryBSignificant phases in the history of the theories:1-4: their history5: other views6:general observationsCThe criteria of the documentary theories:ICriteria listed: nos 1-811Criteria examined:1 Terms for Deity: 1st, role of certain passages(Gen 1 and 2; Ex 3.13; 6.3); 2nd, significanceof Divine names (Meaningful; elegant variation).2 Vocabulary3 'Style'4 'Doublets' (3 types)S 'Antichronismes'6 Differing theological concepts7 Differing social usages8 Cumulative argumentConclusionDThe basis and validity of the Development theory examined1 Inter-relation of groups of laws2 Centralization of cult3 Priests and Levites4 Endowments of Priests and Levites5 Supposed development of sacrifices6 Festivals7 Ezekiel and 'P'8 Laws and history9 Other points ('p' and 'H', etc.)ConclusionLecture II:ACONVENTIONAL DOCUr1ENTARY AND DEVELOPMENT THEORIES "NO THEANCIENT NEAR EASTIThe significance of the Ancient Near East11Background and PrinciplesIII Ancient Near East data and documentary/developmenttheories (criteria):1 Terms for Deity2 Vocabulary

34561B9BC'Style''Doublets' (3 types)'Antichronismes'Differing theological conceptsUnilinear evolutionLate words and AramaismsCompositiorl of ancient literary works.10 Cumulati ve argumentConclusionfORM CRITICISMI Basic idea11 Criticism of the method as practisedORAL TRADITIONI The idea11 Criticism of its useConclusionLecture 1111THE PENTATEUCH IN ITS NEAR EASTERN CONTEXTAIntroductoryBThe Books themselvesl) Post-Mosaica and1 Genesis) external data2 Deuteronomy) for each3 The others4 Limits and role of MosesConclusionNBIThis typescript does NOT constitute a formal publicationand cannot be cited as such,its contents and views can bereferred to as notes of lectures, however.12for abbreviations usad see at end of Lecture Ill.

PEN,ATEUCHAL CRITICISM AND INTERPRETATIONLecture I:ACONVENTIONAL DOCUMENTARY AND DEVELOPMErH THEORIES:THE INTERNAL EVIDENCEINTRODUCTORYThe Pentateuch, by its name, is the f:itl'st five books of the OT.Each of these books has traditionally been considered to be aliterary unit in itself and associated with the name of Moses(commonly as author),The associat.ion u:ith Moses appears:(i) in the text of the last four books of the five; (ii) elsewhere in the or; (iii) in Jewish tradition; (ivj in the NT; and(v) in derivative Christian tradition.HOWEver, widely differentestimates of the pentat'3uchal buoks have bscome current within thelast 200 years; how shall we view these writings today?8SIGNIFICANT PHASES IN THE HISTORYorTHE CONVENTIONAL THEORIESFor fuller detai,l, see: E J Young, lOT, 1964, chapter VIII, andA Hubbard, BD, 'PP 957-9154;from conventional documentaryviewpoint, cfOEissfeldt, on, 1965, pp 158-182, a"d C R Northin OTMS, chapter Ill.o1Until the 18th century AD, dissent from the common traditionswas relatively scattered and occasional:pagans like Celsus,pantheis s li e Spinoza, the veiled queries of Ibn Ezra, etc.These were relatively superficial.In the 18th/19th centuries,various currents of thought found their echo in the study of twopre-classical 'ancient monuments': the OT and Homer.The firstuse of terms for Deity (YHWtI, Elohim) to produce two parallelcreat on-a counts was by Witter in 1711; this criterion is stillaccepted today (Eissfeldt, Dl I, P '182), 255 years later.In 1753came ARtruc's CC'njectures sur los memoires que r oyse s'estservi pour' . Ge:18so.lIis basic premise:Genesis recordsevents long befora Moses' time, hence he could know of them onlyfrom di'recl revelation or else from prior docum'3nts (writtenrathe than oral?).As the prosentation is historical in, type,the latter solution is irdi ated.50 far so good (cf also Young,lOT, pp 119,120; v),But in crdor to try to delimit the priordocumeo1ts (:lS u!::ed by Moses and fuseet into one narrativlJ (Gen 1 toEy 2), Astruc offered four criteria:(i) 'Duplicate narratives'(eg, Gen 1 and 2) and repitHious language (og, Gen 7. 18-20);(H) Tl!.'o terms for oeit" (YI-I'WH, the proper name of God, andElohim the com on noun 'God'), esp. their use in continuouspassages;(iil) This distinction is only valid down to Ex 2,ie for periods before Moses' own 8xpe iance, depanding on priordocuments;(iv) 'Anti-chronismes', ie events related out ofchronological sequenc8.

2Everyone of these points is open to question.It seemsto have crossed Astruc's mind, as a frenchman and European of the18th century AD, that the literary peculiarities of the OT textmight be due to its origin in a distant antiquity and an alien(Near Eastern) culture.failure to allow for the non-European,non-Imodern' origin of the OT text was a cardinal error of thefirst magnitude, fatally repeated by practically all his successorsin conventional criticism.This will be more evident in lectures11 and Ill.The German Eichhorn also proposed the 'divine names' as criteria,but as these were inadequate (e9, absent from various passages) hesought to associate definite vocabularies and Istyles l with hisYHWH (J) and Elohim (E) documents, to carry through the analysis.This, too, is still basic to conventional literary criticism andis also open to seriou objection. De Wette in 1805 assignedDeuteronomy to the time of Josiah, such that pentateuchal matterconsidered dependent on Deuteronomy would be still later than it;160 years later this is still commonly held, despite opposition.In the first half of the 19th century rival theses arose alongsidethe older 'documentary' theory of long, parallel accounts.(i) The 'fragment' hypothesis, that Genesis (etc) was made up ofa large collection of fragments of varied origin;(ii) the'supplement' hypothesis, that a basic document had had furtherfragmentary matter added into it.Despite periodic revivals inone form or another, neither of these two hypotheses commands afollowing today, and so they lltill not be fur her dealt with.2In 1853, Hupfeld (DieGenesis) devided 'E' intotwo parts, the first lE (nowadays 'PI substantially in GBn 1-2P,and the second E (the IEI of tuday) from about Gen 20ff, producingin effect P,E,J,D.The essl3ntial criterion for di,viding off Pfrom E (so-called 'style ' ) is basically subject-matter (not a validcriterion; cf lecture lIon Khety son of Duauf). Note ther theobservations-;ad by Young, lOT, pp 130-135.Hupfeld thusfathered the classic analysis of documents still in vogue today,and opened the way for the next major phase I the dating of thedocuments so far obtained, bringing us to the development hypothesis.3Out of various discussions, Graf, Kuenen and Wellhausensuccessively argued for Dutting 'PI not first but , in postexilic times.'0' (Deutoronomy) was affirmed as from Josiahlstime, and J/E put roughly in the first 200 years of the dividedMonarchy;hence the classical dates and sequence of J (10th-9thcentury?), E (9th-8th century?), D (late 7th century), P (postexilic), still very widely uoted today.This question of orderand date rested on the interpretation given to the legal and ritualmatter in the Pentateuch (rather than on the narratives like theliterary analysis); and the interpretation adopted rests primarily

3not on facts but on a particular philosophical theory of Israelitehistory and religion (Wellhausen, influenced by Vatke and Hegel)1a unilinear evolution from an 'early', most 'primitive' polytheismto a high, ethical, 'late' monotheism, and from a theoretical early,joyous, 'natural' religion to a lat , priest-ridden, sin obsessedceremonial cult. Classic exposi tion of the theory was Wellhausen' sPrologomena zur Geschichte Israels (1878 and later editions);popularized in Britain by W. Robertson Smith and esp. (withmoderation) by S R Driver, LOT (1819 to 1913 editions).4The 20th century falls roughly into three phases:(i)1900 - 1914/181 The conventional theori s d minated allrivals; a trend to splitting up J, E, etc. (J , J , etc., etc.) wasinconclusive.Rise of form-Criticism with Gunkel (cf Lecture 11).(ii) 1918 - 1939/451 Conventional theory still in the centre.Volz, Rudolph, Lohr sought to reduce documents (against E, p),whereas Eissfeldt (L-source), Pfeiffer (S-source) and Morgenstern(K-source) sought to divide J into J and an additional source(L, Sand K partly overlapping).Nyberg (1935) called for thestudy of Oral Tradition (cf Lecture 11).Josianic date forDeuteronomy challenged bycontradictory attempts to date it eitherearlier or later.(iii) 1945 - 1965: Even today, the literary criticism of documents(with less stress on unilinear development) is still widely held;cf, for example, Rowley, Growth, 1950;Anderson, ClOT, 1959;Eissfeldt, OTI, 1965; etc.Scandinavians (Pederson; Engnell)have emphasized 'oral tradition', ridiculing documentary 'desk-work',but their own blocs of material are not so different from the literarydocumentsin practice.Alt and esp Noth have combined study of'tradition' with the regular documentary hypothesis.5Movements outside the Conventional Theories:Outside of form-criticism and Oral Traditionlsm (Lecture II), along series of scholars has opposed the conventional theories asbeing fundamentally mistaken and unsoundly based.The followingare but a fow examples (cf further Young, lOT, chapters I and VIII).(i)In the early 1Ath ;;ntury, J G C3rpz in two Latin workseffectively disposed of early sceptics (Spinoza, Le Clerc, Simon, etc. ).(H) In the mid-19th century, W HengstGnberg and others marshalledthe internal evidence against the contemporary documentary theories.(iii) In the lato 19th/early 20th centuries, several German scholarsaccepted the analysis but not the developmental datings, for exampleBaudissin, Delitzsch, Dill , Kittel, I oeldeke.Moeller was atfirst a supporter of the documentary/developmental theories, butfound them fallacious and so opposed them.Conservative scepticson cogent internal grounds were W L Baxter (Sanctuary and Sacrifice,1895), James Orr (The Problem of the OT, 1906) in Britain, and espW H Green (Unity of the Book of Genesis, 1895, etc.) in the USA.(iv) In more recent times, the bases of conventional theory have

4been challenged by a variety of scholars.Among conservatives,T Allis (The Five Books of Moses, 1949), G C Aalders (A ShortIntroduction to the Pentateuch, 1949 - less thorough-going thrinAllis);outlines in Young, (lOT, 1964:chapters 2-8) andG L Archer (A survey of OT Introduction, 1965, chapters 6-13,cf 14-18 though treatment o oarly dates and of Egyptian mattersis woefully superficial and misleading).On certain points, cfW J Martin (Stylistic Criteria and the Analysis of the Pentateuch,1955);on Deuteronomy, cf G T Manley (The Book of the Law, 1957;both IVr):on 'P', cf SR KiHling (Zur Datierung der GenesisP-StUcke, 1964).Among Jewish scholars, Y Kaufmann (The Religionof Israel, 1961) accepted the analysis but refuted the dating ofthe documents (esp p);entirely sceptical have been U Cassuto(The Documentary Hypothesis, 1961: useful on some points, superficial on others;based on his large Italian book, La questionedella Genesi, 1934) and PI H Segal ('The Composition of thePentateuch - a Fresh Examination', pp 68-114 iM C Rabin (ed),Studies in the Bible vol VIII of Scripta Hi rosolymitana, 1961:comprehensive outline-treatment).oIn the light of the foregoing (and others unquoted), the conventional hypotheses cannot expect to pass as fact, unchallenged andunscrutinized, in this day and age;and their validity must betested just as with any other theory.6General ObservationsIn scrutinizing the standard introductions, whether written bysupporters of these theories or their opponents, one is struck bythe following curious facts.The samo basic arguments on behalfof the theoriesaretrottod out book after book after book(at random, of Driver, LOT;A T Chapman, Introduction to thePentateuch, 1911;D C Simpson, Pentateuchal Criticism, 1924;WOE Oesterley and T H Robinson, Introduction to the Books of theOT, 1937;H H Rowley, Growth, 19 '-Anderson, ClOT, 1959;o-Eissfeldt, OTI, 1965;etc.);and the objections or sooptice(conservative or otherwise) generally find little or no answer.It would appear that the theorists assume that objectors, commonlyconservatives, arc condemned by their theological posltion l1nd soneed no refutation. Typical is Eissfoldt (OTI,,1965, p 166) whocondemns a series of writers (not all conservative Christians)merely bocauso they have found reason to assign a m jor role toMosos in the formation of the Pentateuch.This naive attitudewould be justified if the roasoning of such conservative and othorsceptics were wholly dependent upon their theological outlooks forits validity.However, this is NOT so;the vast mujority oftheir argumonts stand on their own foet, within the rules of normalliterary and historical reasoning, and so must be refuted in detailby tho documentary, etc., theorists if the latter really wish tosoo their structures estaulished in fl1et and not mernly, as at

5present, in what is (despite appearances) a superficial concensusof scholarly imagination in which a multitude of contrary factshave been tacitly ignored.In the light of this remarkable situation, then, I have madeconsiderable but critical use of the works of Green (Genesis),Aalders, Allis, Archer, finn (The Unity of the Pentateuch, nodate, 1924), besides other less comprehensive works.Althoughunpretentious in every way, finn's work is remarkable for itscare,- thoroughness and fairness, and is worth careful study.CTHE CRITERIAorCONVENTIONAL LITERARY CRITICISM VIA DOCUMENTSIThe Criteria listed1Words: The multiple terms for Deity: Elohim ('[I), commonword for 'God' and YHWH ('J') the special name for the God of theIsraelites.Considered to be each the mark of distinct writers;inadoquate (eg, in passages without references to Deity), hencewas introduced:2Vocabulary of passages 'divisible' by 'divine names' was usedto extend the analysis to passages where the 'divine names' didnot occur or suffice.('Style' is sometimes confused withvocabulary;but style is not just words, but how words are used).3Style:J:a lively, human, picturesque sourcedifficult toE:also a good narrator, more restrainedtell apartPIdry, statistical, genealogical, precise, etc.0:exhortatory.4Content: 'Doublets' of several kinds that should be keptapart for clarity in studying them:(a) Alleged Duplicate Narratives, explicitly concerned with thesame event, separately recorded in extant OT text.(Eg, creation,Gen 1-2).(b) Alleged Duplicate Narratives, on similar themes, recordedssparately;given as different events in the OT text, but areconsidered as rival versions of the same theme or incident byconventional theorists. (Eg, wife passed off as sister in Gen 12,20, 26).(c) Supposedly ropetitious narratives, each a single narrativein the extant OT text, but partitioned by the theorists intoseparate strands to yield two or three parallel accounts (oftenfrag entar/), often on the basis of apparently repetitious Hebrewstyle.(Eg, the flood, the sale of Joseph, etc.).5'Anti-chronismes', events related out of chronological order.6Differing theological conceptsJ: 'anthropomorphic' view of Deity[: more restrained;God acts through dreams and visionsP: expresses just the pure, spiritual, utterly transcendentview of God.

67 Differing social customs, as between different documents.8The cumulative argument: it is commonly asserted that thecoincidence and cumulative weight of all these arguments (and.likewiso with the sequence of laws on a unilinear development)furnishes convincing evidence for the genoral correctness of thetheories, apart from uncertain details.11 The criteria examinedThe actual value of these critoria is wide open to question.1Multiple terms for Deity:'This argument still retainsits great significance' (Eissfeldt, OTI, 1965, p 182), and sorequires careful examination as one of the first two criteriaoffered.IntroductoryIt is an open question whether the soppoeed documents suppliedthe criteria or vice-versa (W J Martin, Style Criteria, 1955,pp 11,15).Note that in 1711 Witter noted the two terms forDeity in Gon 1 and 2 respectively and thence deduced two 'accounts';whereas in 1753 Astruc (Conjectures, p 9) put up the allegeddoublet as his first clue and then noted the two terms for Deityand applied them to the rest of Genesis. Two aspects of· this criterion emerge: 1st, the role of certainpaasages (i: Gen 1-2;11:Ex 3.13-16 & 6.2-3);and 2nd, thesignificance of the terms in question (meaningful; literary). 1st:the Role of Certain Passages as key points(t) Gen 1-2It is common dogma today that Gen 1 & 2 are two separate, duplicateand differing accounts of creation, marked (inter alia) by two termsfor Doity (eg, Anderson, !QI, p 23: 'different'; Rowley, Growth,p 18: 'irreconcilable') .I would most strongly suggest that this dogma is wholly misleading;Gen 1 & 2 are complementary.(a) . Thus Gon 1-2.3 is simply a balanced outline of the wholecreation with mankind as the climax.No details at all are givonabout mankind beyond God's making them in 'his image', of twogenders, and earth's store as provision for them. (When Rowley andAnderson, Locc. citt., claim that in the first account man andwoman were created together (contrast Gen 2), they are merelyreading this into the text;Gen 1.27 does not say either'together' or which came first).--(b) But Gon 2.4-25 (plus r all, Gen 3) is not in! any way afull and independent creation-narrative (eg., no-roference tocreation of heavenly bodies, light, etc.).It concentrates onmankind's inmediate setting (Eden) and twofold naturo. (maSCUlineand feminine).

7Gen 2.4 is a heading to 2.5ff exactly as all other toledoth('genarations') are headings in Genesis (5.1; 10.1; 11.10,27: 25.12; 36.1; 37.2), and is not a colophon to 1.1-2.3(or misplaced from 1.1).It is a back-reference to Gen 1(craatior. of heaven and earth is in the 'when'-clauses).Furthermoro, Gen 2.4 is a literary unity of a type common inHebrew (and elsewhere, cf LecturE I I) on a chiasmic patterna-b-c / c-b-a (heaven, earth, when created; when created earth, heaven); this pattern cannot be split up merely tosatisfy a priori theories.Gen 2.5-7, 8 & 9-14 plus 15-17 specify with increasing detail(again characteristic of HGbrew and other literature) the setting(Eden) and man's place and work there; it goes well enough withGen 1.1-2.3.Then, 2.18 raises the cond topic: a companion for man.Gen 2.19-7.0 merely state that aftor animols were created theywere subsequently named by man (but not how long after); nonewas a fit companion.So, 2.21-25 deals with the creation ofwoman.Verse 19 is the key verse. It is repeatedly misinterpreted asputting the creation of animals after man was placed in Eden.Hence the supposed clash with Gon 1.This clash is only tenable if ono decides in advance that Gen 1& 2 are two soparate and unrelated accounts.For, in the extantOT text, with Gen 1-2 as a single context, 2.19 simply harks backto 1.20-23, 24-25 (5th-6th 'da s') and is a bare recap of theformer creation of animal life, not a rival version of it. We arenot entitled a priori to make the reference to the creation ofanimals in 2.19 into an event later thon God's decision of 2.18.The matter can be made perfectly clear if one renders 2.19 intoEnglish with an English pluperfect as follows:'Now, (Jut of the ground til0 Lord God had formed every beastof the field ( atc), ar.d he brought them to the man to seewhat he would call them'.However, conventional literary critics simply cannot bear to hearof a pluperfect translation, ns it so simply removes their precioUScontradiction at one fell SI OOp.S R Driver and nis adherents allege that f

This, too, is still basic to conventional literary criticism and is also open to seriou objection. De Wette in 1805 assigned Deuteronomy to the time of Josiah, such that pentateuchal matter considered dependent on Deuteronomy would be still later than it; 160 years later this is still commonly held, despite opposition. In the first half of the 19th century rival theses arose alongside the .

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