Wednesday, September 26, 2007

documentary hypothesis

A relational diagram describing the various versions postulated by the biblical documentary hypothesis. The documentary hypothesis (DH) proposes that the first five books of the Old Testament (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, known collectively as the Torah or Pentateuch), represent a combination of documents from four originally independent texts dating from various periods between the early 8th and late 5th centuries BCE. The hypothetical texts are:

  • the J, or Yahwist, text

  • the E, or Elohist, text (edited with J to form a combined JE text)

  • the P, or Priestly, text

  • the D, or Deuteronomist, text (which had a further major edit, resulting in sub-texts known as Dtr1 and Dtr2).
The texts were combined into their current form in the post-Exilic period (late 5th century BC) by an editor known as R (for Redactor, see Torah redactor), who also made small additions to harmonise discrepencies between his sources.


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