The Documents of the Hexateuch

I do not pretend to be an expert of source criticism of the Bible. In truth, I’ve read a couple of books about the Documentary Hypothesis, and not from a wide variety of authors. I have a lot to learn. (Especially with regard to Deuteronomical Histories.)

As another step in my continuing self-education, I’ve begun reading The Documents of the Hexateuch (Available in full on Google Books!), an 1892 work by W. E. Addis regarding the first six books of the Bible: The Torah + the book of Joshua. I’ve never heard of this organization scheme- generally the line is drawn between the Torah, which ends in Deuteronomy, and the Deuteronomical Histories, which begin with Deuteronomy. (The Deuteronomical Histories came first, and its first book was borrowed to cap the Torah. Confused yet?) The fact that the Histories use J is old hat, but I will be interested to see if this author sees Priestly work in Joshua. That would throw a monkey-wrench in my current conception of the Bible’s formation. AFAIK, the Histories continue the use of J (not sure about E) but the Priestly material is strictly limited to the Torah. If there’s P in Joshua, I will have food for thought.

I’ve only just started it, so we’ll see. The content is strikingly modern, for being about 120 years old:

The ‘Oldest Book’ [JE] is a composite work, in which it is a difficult and often hopeless task to disentangle the Jahvist and Elohist documents. The Deuteronomical code and narratives are written in a style comparatively uniform. About the Priestly history and code there is little room for divergence of opinion. They stand out clear, consistent, uniform in style, complete. No man [okay, not SO modern] who sees the results can doubt that he is dealing with an independent document.


Turns out (hard to get a feel for the contents of an ebook, you can’t riffle through it!) that the main contents of this book is a presentation of the JE text in full, followed by the Priestly Text and D. The lengthy introduction is very interesting but (somewhat surprisingly) comes to pretty much the same conclusions as Friedman does, almost a century later. (The dating of P being the major difference.)

The text translations are copiously footnoted and shall be fun. I will compare Addis’ parsing of the text with Friedman’s. (I’ve only just noticed that Friedman lists this book first in his bibliography for “The Bible With Sources Revealed”)

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