Monday, August 14, 2006

A Theory Passing Away

I recently discovered a very interesting article by Rolf Rendtorff on the Society of Biblical Literature's website. Rendtorff looks at the 2002 collection of essays assembled by Christoph Levin, entitled, Abschied vom Jahwisten. Die Komposition des Hexateuch in der jüngsten Diskussion (A Farewell to the Yahwist. The Composition of the Hexateuch in Recent Discussion).

Rendtorff makes the following observation at the end of his article:

In my view, this book shows very clearly that the end of the Yahwist means at the same time the end of the Documentary Hypothesis. A documentary hypothesis with just one single document cannot work like an hypothesis that was originally established and developed with four or at least three documents or sources, whose interrelations are a basic element of the method of working in the framework of this theory. As I mentioned before, only a few of the essays in this volume deal with this question, and they touch it just briefly and rather hesitantly. Instead, the question is raised of the interrelations between certain blocks, such as patriarchal stories and Exodus traditions or Genesis and the following books. These are questions beyond the Documentary Hypothesis. By the way, this was already the key point in my paper of 1974. Other scholars developed this approach more deeply and broadly, first of all Erhard Blum in his two books from 1984 and 1990.

You can read the whole article here.


Matthew Gonzalez said...

The historical-critical method was not immaculately conceived.

Kent said...


Have you seen the new collection of material on the Pentateuch released on Pre-Pub from Logos Bible Software? It includes books by Rendtorff, Whybray, and others, and contains extensive discussion on the DH. I thought you might be interested: Pentateuch History and Origins Collection (10 Vols.)