The Documentary Hypothesis is exactly that: an hypothesis. It has proven useful in literary criticism of the Bible. It is one of many useful tools. However it fails, as has modern scholarship in general, to demonstrate the purpose of the Bible. Until we can answer that question we miss the larger picture.
The Documentary Hypothesis (DH) maintains that the Pentateuch derives from four documentary sources:
(1) The Yahwist (J) source, representing the southern tradition of Judah in early monarchial times
(2) The Elohist (E) source, representing the north tradition of Israel after the division of the kingdoms. Somewhat later these two sources were combined and the combination is referred to as JE.
(3) The Deuteronomic (D) source, representing renewal of Torah during the 621 B.C. reforms of Josiah.
(4) The Priestly (P) source, which mos adherents of the Documentary Hypothesis thought to be post-Exilic. These sources were combined by an editor or final Redactor (R) to form the first five books of the Old Testament (the Pentateuch).
The Documentary Hypothesis was the dominant approch in critical scholarship for most of the 20th century. Its detractors were largely ignored, but some were too persuasive to dismiss, such an Hermann Gunkel. In his three commentaries on Genesis, Gunkel posed serious doubts about Wellhausen's hypothesis. Wellhausen regarded Genesis as a compliation of narratives projected backward into pre-Mosiac times at the time of the Monarchy. He argued that the material reflects the life and times of the Monarchy and presents an erroneous picture of the earlier time of the Patriarchs. Gunkel, on the other hand, insisted that the Patriarchal sagas are a reliable oral transmission from before the time of Moses.
Wellhausen wasn't interested in the archaeological discoveries that shed light on the Afro-Asiatics living in Canaan, but Gunkel recognized that the finds of biblical archaeology revealed that Canaanite culture was not an anomaly. Rather it was consistent with the larger ethnological and linguistic heritage of the Afro-Asiatics who had been around for centuries before the time of Moses.
Both men failed to account for the purpose of the Bible, and especially for the uniqueness of Genesis, the account of Afro-Asiatic ruler-priests who preserved their bloodlines through endogamy. The intermarriage between priestly lines existed long before the emergence of a people called Israel. The pattern is consistent throughout the Bible and can be traced from Genesis 4 to Jesus, the Son of God. The pattern ends there, having fulfilled its purpose and the purpose of the Bible.
The historical-critical method of Gunkel, R. H. Pfeiffer and Julian Morgenstern is helpful in identifying older sources. Pfeiffer identified the Seir Source (S) which brings forth the people of Edom whose history is linked to Abraham and his Horite ancestors. Morgenstern identified a Kenite Source (K) and explores the Kenite link to Moses through his bride, Zipporah. In both sources, we uncover important information about Jesus' ruler-priest ancestors. Pfeiffer and Morgenstern were scratching the more ancient level of the material.
Having completed lengthy research on Genesis, I'm persuaded that the genealogical data provided is accurate, verifiable, and the account of historical people. This is the single conclusion that one could reach based on the findings of this project.
I believe that the Bible is reliable because the kinship pattern that runs unchanged from Genesis to the New Testament could not have been written back into the text by a later editor. That would be impossible given that the Bible consists of sixty-six books written by many different authors over about 1300 years. So how do we explain the consistent pattern of intermarriage between priestly lines from Cain and Seth to Jesus Christ? There can be but one explanation. The Bible is the account of the people whose story it claims to be: the ancestors of Christ our God. This provides a clue as to how the Bible came to be. Only God could have authored a book over 1300 years! Granted He used human agents, but they were agents who understood God’s purpose and who were attached to the ruler-priest lines from which Jesus would come.
Twentieth century scholarship has failed to account for the purpose of the Bible and for the uniqueness of Genesis. In part, this is due to the blind eye European scholars have turned to the African origins of the material. Today it is virtually impossible to ignore the African origins since every field employed in the study of Scripture points us to the African ancestors of Christ our God. These were ruler-priests who married the daughters of other ruler-priests and thereby preserved their priestly bloodlines through intermarriage (endogamy). The endogamous marriage pattern is consistent throughout the Bible and can be traced from Genesis 4 to Jesus, the Son of God. The pattern ends with Jesus’ appearance, having fulfilled its purpose and the purpose of the Bible.
I wish all a blessed Holy Week and joy in knowing that the Son of God has destroyed death and opened for us the way to Paradise.
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