The Documentary Theory of Torah Origin

Professor Hayes tells about the fact that in 19th century the hypothesis that Moses probably composed Torah from two different sources appeared. Further researches became the base of the hypothesis that Torah was composed from four identifiable sources of different origins and periods During the lection she names them as J-source (Judah Kingdom), E-source (Israel, or Elohim source, the most fragmentary), D-source (deuteronomist source) and P-source (Priestly source).

These sources describe the beliefs and practices of the place and times they were written.  Sometimes these beliefs are contradictive; thus, in some places of the first books of Bible mankind knows the name of God from the first man Adam, and in other parts it is mentioned that first people didn’t know the God’s name Yahweh.

One of the first arguments for the Documentary hypothesis was the different name for God in different part: sometimes He was named Yahweh, sometimes Elohim.  Next, different sources provides different image of God: sometimes God is an abstraction, the spirit, and in other sources the God is personified: he smells scarification, closes the door and creates people in the image and likeness of Him.

The advocates of Documentary theory relate it to the history of ancient Israel. Thus, the northern and southern perspective appeared because southern Kingdom of Judah was separated from the northern kingdom of Israel. It explains the differences between J-source and E-source.

The Priestly source is the most recent of sources, it has the worst literary style and in sum it is the shortest. The researches suppose it was written after 600 BC in Jerusalem by local priests. This source pays many attentions to the Levis Law, and almost ignores the heroes of J and E sources.

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