The Old Testament and Documentary Theory

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Arjuna
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 08:25 am
Documentary Theory of the OT (according to an Islamic perspective on the Bible that I'm reading) goes like this:

We first note a cultural division between the Northern and Southern Israelites, drawing a kind of Mason-Dixon line from the northen end of the Dead Sea to the Mediterranean.

"The origins of this rivalry are obscure (traditionally, they begin with the twelve sons of Jacob), but except for the reigns of David and Solomon, the relations between the two groups were more often than not charcterized by one-upmanship, acrimony, hostility, and even war. This state of affairs lasted throughtout most of the Old Testament era, its effects persisting even into New Testament times. The Northen tribes that formed the Kingdom of Israel eventually dispersed (they are represented today by the small Samaritan community of central Palestine), whilst the Southern kingdom of Judah survived to be the ancestor of modern Jewry. " --Jay Crook: The Bible: An Islamic Perspective-- all the quotes here are from this book.

As religion scholars pick over the OT, a picture develops:

"1. The Yahwist History, also clled J, composed in the South (Judah) c. 1000 BC with a Hebron orientation. For J, the name of God was always YHWH. This history underwent a redaction a century later. To distinguish them when necessary, the earlier redactor is referred to as J1, the later, J2. At Jerusalem, J2 endeavored to weave material appealing to the estranged North into his predominately Southern tradition.

2. The Elohist History of Israel, of Northern provenance, (also called E) was written about 700 BC, perhaps after the fall of the Northern kingdom. Amid the ruins ofo the Northern monarch, E wrote to preserve the Northern version of Israel's history. For E, the central event of Israelite history was the revelation of the Name of God (YHWH) to Moses at Sinai. He only uses YHWH after that moment. Before that, he had used elohim to signify God."


BTW: elohim is what people heard Jesus call God while he was dying, although some people thought he'd said Elijah and that he was calling for the prophet to come and help him -- Mark and Matthew

"3. J and E were conflated by Southerners into JE, perhaps before the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC, perhaps after (in which case the work would have been performed in Babylon).

"4. The Deuteronomist, also called D, wrote his history c. 610 BC after the 'discovery' of the Book of the Law (thought by many scholars to be the core of Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the Pentateuch). D, of Southern origin in Jerusaolem, accepted this as the basis of a vast hisotory. D came to be combined with JE as JED, probably in Babylon in the second half of the 6th century BC. There is much scholarly debate about the exact sequence of events."

"5. The last major contribution to the present shape of the Pentateuch was made by the Priestly Document (P). It is thought that P also incorporated the Holiness Code composed in Babylonia c. 570 BC. It was probably written c. 500 BC at Jersualem, although there are many differing opinions about this. In any event, the conflation of JED with P pretty much represents the completion of the Pentateuch as we have it."

"....For the Muslim, the Documentary Theory validates the Quranic asserton that the Bible is not the pristine Word of God that the Christians and Jews had long claimed it to be. "

I thought it was funny that Muslims would appreciate the work of western religion scholars as much as any other kind of non-Judeo-Christian type.

 
Krumple
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 08:52 am
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;131000 wrote:
Documentary Theory of the OT (according to an Islamic perspective on the Bible that I'm reading) goes like this:

We first note a cultural division between the Northern and Southern Israelites, drawing a kind of Mason-Dixon line from the northen end of the Dead Sea to the Mediterranean.

"The origins of this rivalry are obscure (traditionally, they begin with the twelve sons of Jacob), but except for the reigns of David and Solomon, the relations between the two groups were more often than not charcterized by one-upmanship, acrimony, hostility, and even war. This state of affairs lasted throughtout most of the Old Testament era, its effects persisting even into New Testament times. The Northen tribes that formed the Kingdom of Israel eventually dispersed (they are represented today by the small Samaritan community of central Palestine), whilst the Southern kingdom of Judah survived to be the ancestor of modern Jewry. " --Jay Crook: The Bible: An Islamic Perspective-- all the quotes here are from this book.

As religion scholars pick over the OT, a picture develops:

"1. The Yahwist History, also clled J, composed in the South (Judah) c. 1000 BC with a Hebron orientation. For J, the name of God was always YHWH. This history underwent a redaction a century later. To distinguish them when necessary, the earlier redactor is referred to as J1, the later, J2. At Jerusalem, J2 endeavored to weave material appealing to the estranged North into his predominately Southern tradition.

2. The Elohist History of Israel, of Northern provenance, (also called E) was written about 700 BC, perhaps after the fall of the Northern kingdom. Amid the ruins ofo the Northern monarch, E wrote to preserve the Northern version of Israel's history. For E, the central event of Israelite history was the revelation of the Name of God (YHWH) to Moses at Sinai. He only uses YHWH after that moment. Before that, he had used elohim to signify God."


BTW: elohim is what people heard Jesus call God while he was dying, although some people thought he'd said Elijah and that he was calling for the prophet to come and help him -- Mark and Matthew

"3. J and E were conflated by Southerners into JE, perhaps before the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC, perhaps after (in which case the work would have been performed in Babylon).

"4. The Deuteronomist, also called D, wrote his history c. 610 BC after the 'discovery' of the Book of the Law (thought by many scholars to be the core of Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the Pentateuch). D, of Southern origin in Jerusaolem, accepted this as the basis of a vast hisotory. D came to be combined with JE as JED, probably in Babylon in the second half of the 6th century BC. There is much scholarly debate about the exact sequence of events."

"5. The last major contribution to the present shape of the Pentateuch was made by the Priestly Document (P). It is thought that P also incorporated the Holiness Code composed in Babylonia c. 570 BC. It was probably written c. 500 BC at Jersualem, although there are many differing opinions about this. In any event, the conflation of JED with P pretty much represents the completion of the Pentateuch as we have it."

"....For the Muslim, the Documentary Theory validates the Quranic asserton that the Bible is not the pristine Word of God that the Christians and Jews had long claimed it to be. "

I thought it was funny that Muslims would appreciate the work of western religion scholars as much as any other kind of non-Judeo-Christian type.



Thank you for this run down of the documentary. I would have really liked to of seen it. I could comment on all of what you have presented here but I really only want to comment on the last portion of what you mention.

I find it even more funny when Muslims scoff and jump up and down to disprove Christianity or mock it when their own faith is riddled with just as many holes and nonsense. That is like the village idiot laughing and poking fun at the cross town village idiot. Is idiot to harsh of a word?
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 09:12 am
@Krumple,
Krumple;131001 wrote:
Thank you for this run down of the documentary. I would have really liked to of seen it. I could comment on all of what you have presented here but I really only want to comment on the last portion of what you mention.

I find it even more funny when Muslims scoff and jump up and down to disprove Christianity or mock it when their own faith is riddled with just as many holes and nonsense. That is like the village idiot laughing and poking fun at the cross town village idiot. Is idiot to harsh of a word?
That's what I meant: for a Muslim, embracing the work of religion scholars would seem to be a two-edged sword. But this book is by an American (I assume a convert of Islam because he has another name: Muhammad Nur.) He's a Ph.D. in Persian Literature for Foreigners (Tehran University), a former Peace Corps field representative (1971), and he's translated several books from Persian to English, including Ghazzali's The Alchemy of Happiness, which I'd like to read. The point of this book on the Old Testament is to explain how Muslims think about the stories of Abraham, Sodom and Gomorrah, Nimrod, and so on. It's interesting to me because he says the Ur, the birthplace of Abraham, was once a port city (it's now many miles inland because of silt), but at one time, it was like the NYC, London, Hong Kong of the middle east. At the time Abraham left, the city was going into decline. Puts an interesting twist on things.
 
 

 
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