Re: JEDP: another heresy?

From: Jack Haas <>
Date: Tue Dec 06 2005 - 11:56:05 EST


JEPD and other forms of "Biblical Criticism" bother evangelicals today
in much the same way as occurred when English translations from the
German scholarship first arrived in England and the US in the middle
19th C. (via Samuel Coleridge George Eliot, I think). Many Christians,
Protestant and Catholic, accepted major parts of the program - others
vigorously rejected the debunking of the supernatural.

At this time of the year, to be told that the scriptures predicting the
coming of the Messiah were talking about someone else are a bit of a
downer for the evangelical. At the same time we should not throw out
the baby with the bathwater. Context and literary form do have

Jack Haas

Janice Matchett wrote:

> At 06:51 AM 12/6/2005, Chris Barden wrote:
>> Hello all,
>> I've been wondering lately what the status of the JEDP documentary
>> hypothesis should be in light of its "evolutionary" character. It is
>> cited approvingly in plenty of Bible commentaries and is lambasted by
>> Answers in Genesis (see
>> so my
>> assumption is to treat it with some plausibility. But I don't really
>> know much about it, so I thought I would ask experts on the list if
>> it is a firm explanation of "textual origins" or something weaker.
>> ~ Chris
> ### In a nutshell:
> *Composing the Old Testament
> The JEDP Theory in a Nutshell James Patrick Holding
> *
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Maybe you have heard of the "*JEDP*" theory, or else, have heard of
> theories that Moses did not write the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus,
> Numbers, Leviticus, Deuteronomy), and that it was written later in
> Israel's history.
> *What does JEDP* stand for? J is supposed to be Jawhist (or Yahwist),
> a writer who had a thing for the name "Yahweh" and viewed God as very
> personal E is supposed to be Elohimist, a writer who had a thing for
> the name "Elohim" and viewed God as somewhat distant D is supposed to
> be Deuteronomist, a writer who composed Deuteronomy and maybe did a
> few tweaks here and there P is supposed to be Priestly, a writer who
> took the works of J, E and D and mashed them together into what we
> have now, adding his own touches
> The *JEDP* theory has a lot of mutations, with some people adding
> other letters, and offering a variety of ideas about when each writer
> did their work, though all agree that little if any of the first five
> books of the Bible were written by Moses.
> *What's wrong with this theory?*
> It started with certain ideas that further research has shown to be
> false. In particular, the idea that the books of the Bible could be
> divided by the use of the two names for God, Yahweh and Elohim, has
> been found to have reasonable cause that a single author allows. But
> it was one of the original criteria for divinding parts of the
> Pentateuch into J and E sections, and now, theorists will either
> ignore the later research, or else continue to change the theory to
> keep it alive. One way they do this is by turning "P" into a genie who
> edited and changed the text at various places for no discernible
> reason (other than, maybe, to confuse modern *JEDP* theorists into
> thinking there was a problem for their theory). For another example,
> certain features of the text that were once taken as proof for *JEDP*
> are now known to simply reflect normal writing practice for ancient
> people, and thus work with an idea of just one author writing. *JEDP*
> also did not conceive of the idea of such things as scribes writing on
> behalf of others, or of later writers making minor updates to texts to
> keep them from becoming anachronistic.
> Today many scholars still hold to *JEDP* because they do not know what
> else to put in its place, and they don't consider Mosaic authorship an
> option.
> For further and more detailed reading:
> *Specific Case Studies* on some texts said to support *JEDP*:
> Gen. 12:10-20, 20:1-18, and 26:1-11
> <> Gen. 15 and 17
> <> Gen. 21:14-21
> <> Gen. 37
> <> Exod. 17:2-7, Num. 20:2-13
> <> Num. 16
> <> Deuteronomy
> <> 1 Samuel 16-18
> <>
> *General Studies*
> The Making of the Old Testament
> <> [Off Site] -- includes
> pertinent commentary showing the internal unity of items like the
> Flood story A Brief Case
> <> for Moses as author of
> the Pentateuch [Off Site] More on what "Mosaic authorship" means
> <> [Off Site] Was the
> Pentateuch adulterated by later additions?
> <> [Off Site] Satire
> <> of *JEDP*
> principles used on the works of A. A. Milne (Winnie the Pooh) [Off Site]
> *Book Reviews*
> The Pentateuch as Narrative
> <> by John Sailhamer
> Review <> of /The
> Hidden Book in the Bible/ by Richard Elliott Freidman Who Wrote the
> Bible? <> by Friedman
> ~ Janice
Received on Tue Dec 6 11:58:37 2005

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Dec 06 2005 - 11:58:37 EST