WHAT LATTER-DAY SAINT CHRISTIANS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE OLD TESTAMENT
Although I use academic studies throughout this post, I have moved all of the bibliography to the end of the document in order to facilitate a more convenient reading for those not interested in the notes. If you are interested in seeing where I am getting my ideas (or just to use the list of books to find some good reading) please look at the notes.
It is a difficult task for a modern day Christian, even Latter-day Saint,[i] audience to approach a study of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.[ii] We are far removed from the Jewish worldview, let alone its rituals, practices, and lifestyle, so that when a year’s curriculum approaches that requires the serious student to focus the mind on the Old Testament we are not well equipped to understand that body of texts. I might ask the reader if you have ever read a full book of scripture? If so, which one? Is it the Book of Mormon? The Doctrine and Covenants? Maybe it is the New Testament? The Pearl of Great Price does not count for this situation because it is too short, but does the Old Testament receive the honor of being on your “completed” bookshelf? These questions are not asked to instill guilt, but rather to show what it is that we are more familiar with as a community and on an individual level.[iii] We do not spend much time at all in studying the Old Testament, and when we do it is only topically and through a Christian lens,[iv] which distracts us from the ever important questions, “What did the author intend to say?” and “How would his original audience understand the text, or what mechanisms in their society did they have available to them in order to interpret it?”
How does one gain an interest in studying the books of the Old Testament, especially in their historical context? I cannot create interest in anyone, but I can share how I became interested and maybe others who are like-minded may be able to see the value in a more detailed study.
I served an LDS mission in Raleigh, North Carolina from 2007 to 2009. Serving in many areas with seminaries provided me the opportunity to enter into many discussions about the importance of the academic study of the Bible. Many of the questions I was asked by those interested in our faith were centered in the original meaning and context of the Bible. Although many of these questions were self-serving, and in the end many of those I spoke to used only those scholars (most often working at confessional institutions defending the inerrancy of the Bible) whose theology resembled theirs, I learned to appreciate the necessity for an individual to be honest in what they can and can not say about the Bible, no matter what their theology dictates they believe. I learned many things from the people of North Carolina about my own religion that were new to me or that I had only ever heard of marginally. I found these points of history interesting, and came home with a large list of books that I wanted to study to be sure I knew my religion and its history as well or even better than those who don’t practice it but knew parts of it better than I did.
I began with the study of Joseph Smith and his contemporaries and read anything I could get my hands on: personal diaries and journals,[v] Mormonism’s earliest periodicals,[vi] histories, scholarly monographs, etc. I found early pamphlets published by apostles and members of the church providing in written form the details of debates and discussions apostles would have with those who opposed their message. I began to notice that a prevailing claim of the early members and defenders of the Church was that Joseph Smith had restored the organization that Jesus had established during his ministry. I realized that if I was going to argue that case that I needed to understand early Christianity much better than I did at the time. I then set out on a short quest to read and understand what scholars were saying about the New Testament and earliest Christianity.[vii]
This quest was ultimately short because I soon discovered that the books of the New Testament were arguing, similar to the early defenders of the Mormon movement, that Christianity was in continuity with Judaism, that they continued that tradition. Not only that, but to understand that group of texts in the New Testament I found that one must study the Old Testament because every book in the Christian New Testament is highly dependent on the books of the Old Testament for its worldview.[viii]
I was then thrust into the world of the Old Testament. I found it to be much more interesting, enlightening, and mysterious than that of early Mormonism and early Christianity combined. There was much more I felt I could work with in early Israelite and Jewish text and culture than in the other two. There were scholarly books written about ancient Israelite temples; kingship; Messianic expectations; the Psalms and how they were utilized by the earliest communities; symbols and what they could have meant; Law and how central it was to the Jewish religion and why; the importance of the fall of Jerusalem and the Babylonian exile; the Exodus; Moses; Abraham; the creation accounts in Genesis; the Dead Sea Scrolls and how they relate to the Old Testament; ancient prophets and their roles in their communities; etc. I discovered that while we have extra texts in our canon besides the Bible, there are also hundreds of other texts that were written by ancient Jewish authors that are important to know and study as well.[ix] This left me with a massive well to drink from, and I have continued on that course for about three and a half years now.
I would like to share a few points that I hope you will find interesting that I believe are essential to understanding and appreciating the text of the Old Testament. This is a very difficult group of books to study largely because we are so far removed from the historical setting and the people themselves. Hopefully this list of items and a short introduction to each will be stimulating and maybe even a catalyst for those interested to begin a deeper study of the world of the Old Testament this year.
Animal Sacrifice is/was not Barbaric
First, I would like to start with a point that probably isn’t as important as the others, but to me ranks number one. A prevailing misconception in Christianity about Old Testament rituals is that animal sacrifice was grotesque, disgusting, or barbaric in one way or another. We assume that because killing animals and placing them on an altar of fire in a ritual context the Israelites were inhumane or cruel. This is a very strange concept to me, and completely misunderstands how ancient Israelites viewed this practice.
In an ancient Near Eastern context animal sacrifice did not focus solely on the killing of the animal to appease the gods, but the priest and individual offering the sacrifice employed this ritual to commune with the gods and feed them. Ex. 25:23, 30 describes the table of Lord that the Israelite priests were commanded to build and to lay offerings for Yahweh: “And you shall make a table…And you shall set on the Table Face Bread before my face continually” (William H. C. Propp’s Anchor Bible translation).[x] According to Walther Zimmerli “The explicit emphasis in what the man says on the fact that the table stands before Yahweh’s ‘face’…makes it probable that for Ezekiel 41 what is really meant is this table on which, in a more primitive sacrificial scheme, offerings were ‘laid’ before Yahweh…the golden table which is explicitly mentioned in the case of Solomon’s temple and on which ‘the bread of the presence’ [or Propp’s Face Bread] has to lie is to be equated with the ‘altar’ of 1 Kgs 6:20.”[xi] The altar of sacrifice was therefore the table of Yahweh, and the sacrifices were made so that Yahweh could eat and that the Israelites would be in good standing with Yahweh. This is obviously not the only reason why sacrifices were made, but it is an important part of the ancient sacrificial system that is often completely overlooked by modern viewers of our day.
With this in mind, I would point the reader to our modern animal sacrifice. I can honestly say that I am not trying to conjure up a PETA-like image in your mind (I am vegetarian, but hate PETA), but rather contemplate the massive amount of animals that really are “sacrificed” every day in the United States alone. In ancient Israel there was a real, heartfelt purpose to animal sacrifice that made the act sacred. When do we have a similar experience in our world with the animals that are sacrificed in our behalf so that we can have the sustenance to live? I would argue that the ancient practice of animal sacrifice was much more humane, and much less barbaric than we often view it today. This is obviously just my thoughts, but points I hope will shed light on the ancient system of rituals and allow us to see them differently. Their practices are at least not any worse than our own.
The State was the Church
In ancient Israel, and therefore for the majority of the authors of the Old Testament, the state was the religion. There was no separation of church and state at that time, and no concept of our modern way of understanding the term “church.” To live, practice, and follow the religion meant that you were following the dictates of the government. To be sure, there were times when the prophets called the attention of their followers to the mistakes and misgivings of their kings and rulers, but this is the exception rather than the rule. The Psalms give a very positive view of the Israelite kings as representatives of Yahweh on the earth, and there are other texts, such as Chronicles, that view the institution of kingship as essential, even though the author lived at a time when their was no monarchy. William Riley, in discussing how the Chronicler (the author of Chronicles) would have answered the question of where kingship fit in to God’s plan for the Israelites, says
Embodied in the ancient Near Eastern ideology which was available to the Chronicler (even if only in the cultic and historical traditions of Israel to which he was heir) lay a possible approach to this question of the phenomenon of kingship in Israel: one reason for the deity to bring kings and dynasties to power was to advance the cultus [or temple rituals].[xii]
According to Riley, the author of Chronicles saw the importance of the tradition of Israel’s kings, even after that tradition had been suspended, as being centered on the origins of the temple. The temple and the monarchy were seen as one and the same. This is why the later Deuteronomistic History (a topic we will briefly touch), which is the main source for the Chronicler’s work, paints such a negative portrayal of Israel’s kings. In the opinion of the Deuteronomic School all of the kings of Israel were evil except for Hezekiah and Josiah. This was important to that school’s theology because they needed a reason for why Yahweh had not protected Jerusalem, his chosen city, from the Babylonians. It was, in their theology, because those who were entrusted to take care of Yahweh’s temple had let him down. Even when there was no monarchy leading Israel the priests were the group in charge of leading the government. The state was the “church” at that time.
We will do well to try our best to expunge our modern way of viewing religion as completely separate from government and adopting a view of the Old Testament that sees and realizes that many things there in history and narrative are due to the different political voices behind the text.
Composition and Dating of the Books
When we talk about composition we are asking questions related to who these books were composed by and when. Are the books a unified literary whole or does it seem that there are contradictions throughout the text? When was the book written and by whom? I will briefly list the books of the Old Testament and the general dates that scholars accept they were written. If they are grouped together this means that scholars view the composition of the books to be intertwined, and will be explained in the notes below:[xiii]
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers: The five books of Moses were likely compiled around 550 BCE in the form that we have these books now.[xiv] Scholars are all in agreement that there are different sources that went into the writing of the books, but there are varying ways of expressing these sources. The oldest and most widely acknowledged is the Documentary Hypothesis, but there are many, especially in Europe, who do not hold to the traditional hypothesis any longer. I do hold to the hypothesis because I think it answers many of the problems and contradictions in the texts themselves better than other hypotheses I have read.[xv] As I have seen many members of the Church online questioning what these sources actually are, I will provide them here:
J: ca. 950 BCE. The ‘Yahwist’ source. Gen. 2:4b-3:24 is a good example of J, although it does continue to run through the five books of Moses (the reason it is called the ‘Documentary Hypothesis’ is because the different sources are seen as full documents that were brought together as one text). It probably originated in the Southern kingdom of Judah. J is noted for its view of God as being humanlike (see especially Gen. 3:8), its use early on of the name ‘Yahweh’, the mountain on which Moses receives the commandments is Sinai, rather than Horeb (Ex. 19:18), its concern with origins/history, and a “continuity and consistency of the narrative and the themes expressed in it.”[xvi]
E: ca. 850 BCE. The ‘Elohist’ source. This source probably does not appear until Gen. 15.[xvii] It is noted for its characteristic use of the term ‘prophet’ (E is the only source to call Abraham a prophet, Gen. 20:7, and even applies the term to Miriam in Ex. 15:20), its fascination with divine messengers or angels, and the remoteness of God who reveals himself in dreams rather than in person (Gen. 20:3). The E source also, along with D, locates the Sinai experience at Horeb rather than Sinai (Ex. 3:1), and its origin is in the Northern kingdom of Israel, rather than Judah.
J/E: ca. 700 BCE[xviii]
D: ca. 630 BCE. The Deuteronomic source. This source is most often identified with the reforms of Hezekiah and Josiah, and is found only in the book of Deuteronomy. It focuses on the centralization of temple worship at Jerusalem, which is not characteristic of the other sources. Its view of God is one of a remote being, with no form, never visiting earth but rather always distant in heaven (see Deut. 4:12-20). It, like E, names the mountain on which Moses received the covenant as Horeb (Deut. 1.2; 5:2), and was most likely originally written in the Northern kingdom, then completed in Judah in the south after the destruction of the Northern kingdom and the 10 tribes.
P: ca. 550 BCE[xix]
Deuteronomy: ca. 622 BCE[xx]
Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings: Since the studies of Martin Noth,[xxi] a German scholar who wrote in the first half of the 20th century, these books have been considered to comprise a single work compiled first ca. 640-620 BCE with the reign of Josiah, with additional editing going on into the exilic era, ca. 550 BCE.[xxii]
Ruth: ca. roughly 950-350 BCE[xxiii]
1 & 2 Chronicles: ca. 400-300 BCE[xxiv]
Ezra, Nehemiah: ca. 350-300 BCE[xxv]
Esther: ca. 325-100 BCE[xxvi]
Job: ca. 586-400 BCE[xxvii]
Psalms: ca. 450-300 BCE[xxviii]
Proverbs: ca. 700-450 BCE[xxix]
Ecclesiastes: ca. 250-200 BCE[xxx]
The Song of Solomon: ca. 550-200 BCE[xxxi]
Isaiah: ca. 720-450 BCE[xxxii]
Jeremiah: ca. 605-500 BCE[xxxiii]
Lamentations: ca. 586-550 BCE[xxxiv]
Ezekiel: ca. 575-550 BCE[xxxv]
Daniel: ca. 167-164 BCE[xxxvi]
Hosea: ca. 752-724 BCE[xxxvii]
Joel: ca. 445-343 BCE[xxxviii]
Amos: ca. 760-750 BCE[xxxix]
Obadiah: ca. 587-575 BCE[xl]
Jonah: ca. 550-300 BCE[xli]
Micah: ca. 750-450 BCE[xlii]
Nahum: ca. 663-612 BCE[xliii]
Habakuk: ca. 605-575 BCE[xliv]
Zephaniah: ca. 630-520 BCE[xlv]
Haggai: 520 BCE[xlvi]
Zechariah: ca. 520-445 BCE[xlvii]
Malachi: ca. 587-450 BCE[xlviii]
Knowing when a document was written is extremely important in being able to understand the text. This is the main reason that we have such a difficult time today approaching the study of the Old Testament: we do not have a grasp on the historical setting of the individual books. Jack Sasson had this to say about the importance of placing a book in its historical context:
“To date” a particular document to a specific period, however, should fulfill at least two reciprocal functions: first, the intellectual positions of the period to which it is assigned ought to clarify the text; and second, the text should inform us about the period in which it is created.[xlix]
It is not enough to place the books of the Bible in a specific period, as noted above, but to also see what we learn in the text from that period, and also how the book teaches us things we did not know about that era. Obviously, for us as readers of the book as scripture, any help we can get to understand the book better is very welcome and we should be open to these views with glad hearts and thankful minds. A lifelong academic study of the Old Testament is not necessary to learn the necessary things to do this, and it is something that we can appropriate as a community of faith in our studies.
In closing I hope that these insights will help interested members of the Church at least catch a glimpse of the benefits of appropriating historical studies into our spiritual journey that is reading the Old Testament (and it should be spiritual!), and have at least some kindling to be able to start a bonfire of their own. I love the Old Testament. I don’t agree with everything in it, but I don’t have to agree with it all to witness the beauty that it is.
It becomes apparent in studying the different texts themselves that the authors did not agree on everything, but this did not deter them then and should not deter us now from enjoying one another’s company and insights that we all have to share. We often think that to be Mormon we have to see everything eye to eye, 100%. This has never been true. The importance is that at the center of our religion we have love. Both the first and second commandments in Jesus’ mind were centered on love, and that is exactly what our community of faith needs at this moment, and in every moment in the past and the future. In the last four years I have discovered that a study of the Old Testament will go a long way in helping us to appropriate the right kinds of love we need to have: it gives good examples of how to love and how not to love, and these are both important aspects to teach the right ways of treating one another both within our community and out of it.
[i] I qualify Latter-day Saints here because of they have a much greater interest in all things “Old Testament” much more than many other Christian denominations (with the possible exclusion of Seventh Day Adventists). This is especially seen in their love for temples and the centrality of temple worship.
[ii] I prefer to use the title “Hebrew Bible” while discussing the books of the Christian Old Testament, but will employ the title “Old Testament” for this essay. For Jews there is no such thing as an “Old Testament”; these books are still the current “testament” or “covenant.”
[iii] I make this point because of the similarity of my questions to those Spencer W. Kimball remembered Susa Young Gates asking the congregation of around 1,000 attendees who had read the Bible all the way through, where only about “a half dozen…proudly raised their hands,” and Spencer “slumped down in [his] seat…[and felt] only a deep accusing thought for [himself]” (see Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., 2006], 59).
[iv] It is my hope that this essay will provide a means for understanding why it is to be able to read the text of the Old Testament both as a Christian while understanding that the authors themselves were not Christian, and they and their audiences had different understandings and expectations when they studied these texts together.
[v] There are hundreds of LDS diaries and journals available. Some recommended starters would be Joseph Smith’s personal diaries, which have been published in multiple places: Scott H. Faulring, ed., An American Prophet’s Record (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1989); and Dean C. Jessee, ed., The Papers of Joseph Smith: Volume 2, Journal, 1832-1842 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1992); and Dean C. Jessee, ed., Personal Writings of Joseph (Revised Edition; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 2002), 20-225; and Jessee, Ashurst-McGee, and Jensen, eds., The Joseph Smith Papers: Journals Volume 1: 1832-1839 (Salt Lake City: The Church Historian’s Press, 2008); and Hedges, Smith, and Anderson, eds., The Joseph Smith Papers: Journals Volume 2: December 1841-April 1843 (Salt Lake City: The Church Historian’s Press, 2008). There are a number of other printings available, but it is suggested to stay with these editions. The edition compiled by Leland R. Nelson and published by Council Press is taken from the History of the Church, and therefore differs from the original journals in major and minor ways.
[vi] The Evening and Morning Star was the first periodical published by the Church, and this edition is recommended: Eugene Wagner, ed., Evening and Morning Star (Moehringen, Germany: F. Wochner K.G., 1969). This is a large red, hardcover reprint and can generally be found online for fewer than fifty dollars. There are also reprints of the Times and Seasons, The Wasp, and others. Most of these can be located in digital form online at www.archive.org.
[vii] For studies in the New Testament I would recommend, as starters, Bart Ehrman, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012); and Helmut Koester, Introduction to the New Testament (2 Vols.; Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1982).
[viii] See Christopher Beetham, Echoes of Scripture in the Letter of Paul to the Colossians (Leiden: Brill, 2008); and Richard B. Hays, Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989); and Brian S. Rosner, Paul, Scripture and Ethics (Leiden: Brill, 1994); and Thorsten Mortiz, A Profound Mystery: The Use of the Old Testament in Ephesians (Leiden: Brill, 1996); and Henry M. Shires, Finding the Old Testament in the New (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1974); and James M. Efird, ed., The Use of the Old Testament in the New and Other Essays: Studies in Honor of William Franklin Stinespring (Durham, N. C.: Duke University Press, 1972); and Carson and Williamson, eds., It is Written: Scripture Citing Scripture: Essays in Honour of Barnabas Lindars, SSF (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988); and Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., The Uses of the Old Testament in the New (Chicago: Moody Press, 1985).
[ix] See James H. Charlesworth, ed., The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (2 Vols.; New York: Doubleday and Company, 1983), which has introductions, notes, and translations to 65 different works; and the supplementary volume to Charlesworth’s two volumes recently published, Bauckham, Davila, and Panayotov, eds., Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2013).
[x] William H. C. Propp, Exodus 19-40: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New York: Doubleday, 2006), 311.
[xi] Walther Zimmerli, Ezekiel 2: A Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel Chapters 25-48 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1983), 389.
[xii] William Riley, King and Cultus in Chronicles (JSOT Suppl. #160; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1993), 162.
[xiii] Understanding when a text was written can be extremely helpful in knowing how you can approach the text, and what kinds of questions you should ask it.
[xiv] See Michael D. Coogan, The Old Testament: A Historical and Literary Introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 54; and David Noel Freedman, “The Formation of the Canon of the Old Testament: The Selection and Identification of the Torah as the Supreme Authority of the Postexilic Community,” in Firmage, Weiss, and Welch, eds., Religion and Law: Biblical-Judaic and Islamic Perspectives (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1990), 324.
[xv] For an up to date discussion and renewal of the Documentary Hypothesis, see Joel S. Baden, The Composition of the Pentateuch: Renewing the Documentary Hypothesis (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012).
[xvi] Joel S. Baden, The Composition of the Pentateuch: Renewing the Documentary Hypothesis (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012), 68; see also Michael D. Coogan’s description of J in The Old Testament: A Historical and Literary Introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 52.
[xvii] Coogan, The Old Testament, 52.
[xviii] Joel S. Baden, one of the leading proponents of the Documentary Hypothesis, has argued that there was no source J/E in the transmission history of the Pentateuch. See Baden, J, E, and the Redaction of the Pentateuch (Forschungen zum Alten Testament; Tuebingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2009).
[xix] For all of the dates of J, E, J/E, D, and P see Coogan, The Old Testament, 54, Fig. 4.2.
[xx] See Moshe Weinfeld, Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic School (Reprint; Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1992), 1; and Jeffrey H. Tigay, The JPS Torah Commentary: Deuteronomy (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1996), xxiv. Tigay points out that, “It is unlikely that the book discovered in 622 included all of the present Deuteronomy.”
[xxi] See Martin Noth, The Deuteronomistic History (JSOT Suppl. #15; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1981).
[xxii] See Coogan, The Old Testament, 194; and Frank Moore Cross, Jr., Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997), 278-289.
[xxiii] Scholars differ on all ends of the spectrum as to the dating of Ruth. Whatever date scholars may ascribe it to, the book of Ruth was definitely, as Michael Coogan has stated, “written some time after the events that it narrates,” and is therefore “historical fiction.” See Coogan, The Old Testament, 228; and Phyllis Trible, “Ruth, Book of,” in David Noel Freedman, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary: Vol. 5 O-Sh (6 Vols.; New York: Doubleday, 1992), 843.
[xxiv] The most recent, and in my opinion thorough, commentary on Chronicles is Ralph W. Klein’s two volume Hermeneia commentary. In that commentary he states that, “The working hypothesis I follow is that Chronicles was composed in the first half of the fourth century BCE, before the end of the Persian period and the arrival of Alexander the Great,” see Klein, 1 Chronicles: A Commentary (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2006), 16. See also Coogan, The Old Testament, 442; and Ralph W. Klein, “Chronicles, Book of 1-2,” in David Noel Freedman, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary: Volume 1, A-C (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 995, where Klein also warns that, “Though a 4th century date seems likely, the uncertain nature of the evidence suggests caution when tying one’s interpretation to anything more historically specific than the general situation of postexilic times.”
[xxv] See Ralph W. Klein, “Ezra-Nehemiah, Books of,” in David Noel Freedman, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary: Volume 2, D-G (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 732.
[xxvi] See Carey A. Moore, “Esther, Book of,” in David Noel Freedman, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary: Volume 2, D-G, 641. The section of this article labeled “H. Date(s) for the Book’s Composition,” is basically a revision of a similar section in Moore’s commentary on Esther for the Anchor Bible. See Moore, Esther: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New York: Doubleday, 1971), LVII-LX; and Coogan, The Old Testament, 517-520. Also, as a side note, Esther was the only book not found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. On this issue see Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls: Their True Meaning for Judaism and Christianity (Anchor Bible Reference Library; New York: Doubleday, 1995), 34, 162-164.
[xxvii] The book of Job is a difficult book to place in a specific time in history. Suggested reading is Coogan, The Old Testament, 472-473; and James L. Crenshaw, “Job, Book of,” in David Noel Freedman, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary: Volume 3, H-J (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 863-864.
[xxviii] Each psalm has its own composition history, historical setting, and genre, although many of them share all three of these. It is extremely difficult to date these texts, but Coogan says that the psalms were “collected and edited into relatively final form probably in the fifth or fourth century BCE,” (Coogan, The Old Testament, 448; cf. 451), although the order of the Psalms scroll from Qumran differs markedly from the later canonized form we now have.
[xxix] See Michael V. Fox, Proverbs 1-9: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New York: Doubleday, 2000), 6, 48-49; and James L. Crenshaw, “Proverbs, Book of,” in David Noel Freedman, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary: Volume 5, O-Sh, 514-515.
[xxx] See Thomas Kruger, Qoheleth: A Commentary (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004), 19; and James L. Crenshaw, “Ecclesiastes, Book of,” in David Noel Freedman, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary: Volume 2, D-G, 274-275; and Coogan, The Old Testament, 482.
[xxxi] See Coogan, The Old Testament, 486-487; and Roland E. Murphy, “Song of Songs, Book of,” in David Noel Freedman, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary: Volume 6, Si-Z (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 150; and Roland E. Murphy, The Song of Songs: A Commentary on the Book of Canticles or Song of Songs (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990), 3-7.
[xxxii] Isaianic authorship is a very complicated issue, but fortunately much work has been done in this field. Although there has been a lot of pushback from LDS scholars since the time of Sidney Sperry as to the question of what materials in Isaiah 1-66 actually go back to the Isaiah of Jerusalem in the late eighth century, the evidence has continued to mass in favor of separating Isaiah into at least two parts, and most likely three. Probably the strongest argument that I know of advanced by an LDS scholar is that of “word prints” in Isaiah. John L. Hilton, in his essay, “Wordprinting Isaiah and the Book of Mormon,” (in Parry and Welch, eds., Isaiah in the Book of Mormon [Provo: FARMS, 1998], 439-443) sets out to argue that through wordprinting one can discover whether or not a text is unified. Hilton’s essay is short, and only one paragraph is devoted to a serious discussion of the impact that wordprinting may have on Isaianic authorship. His findings indicate that there is a shift in “pattern” (authorship?) and the discoveries are roughly that, “the small but measurable shift in pattern is not the change expected by proponents of multiple authorship of Isaiah, since it occurs much earlier-ten chapters earlier-than is expected by their theory” (442). These statements beg a few questions, (1) Hilton seems to not be well acquainted with the theory of multiple authors in Isaiah by his statement that “the first forty chapters of Isaiah may have come from Isaiah…but they argue that the remaining twenty-six chapters must have been written after the exile by a second writer or by some combination of writers” (441). Is Hilton not aware that scholars regard the first thirty-nine chapters, not forty, to originate with Isaiah (and not even all of those), and therefore leaving the last twenty-seven chapters (40-66), not twenty-six, to other authors? If Hilton is going to make a serious contribution to the question of Isaianic authorship, he must first have the units that scholars regard as separate writings correct; (2) If the shift in pattern occurs “ten chapters earlier” than expected by the multiple authorship theory, are we to follow his understanding of the theory that First Isaiah is Isa. 1-40, so that the shift occurs at chapter 30, or is it chapter 29? (3) Do your findings, that there is a shift in pattern (authorship?) through Isaiah, not tend to support the literary and historical-critical findings of the proponents of the multiple authorship theory? And (4) Even if wordprinting or stylistic analysis was to show that the entire text of Isaiah was written by a single author, we would then need to conclude that the author wrote sometime in the late sixth century BCE due to the latest historical references in the book, and therefore none of Isaiah would have been available to the authors of the Book of Mormon.
Roughly Isaiah 1-39 is considered First Isaiah, 40-55 Deutero-Isaiah, and 56-66 Trito-Isaiah. The separate units themselves are much more complicated than this simplistic representation, but keeping these divisions in mind helps to remember where the different authors are and in what parts of the text. For First Isaiah see Coogan, The Old Testament, 329-343; and Christopher R. Seitz, “Isaiah, Book of (First Isaiah),” in David Noel Freedman, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary: Volume 3, H-J, 472-488; and Joseph Blenkinsopp, Isaiah 1-39: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New York: Doubleday, 2000), 83-92; and for Deutero-Isaiah see Richard J. Clifford, “Isaiah, Book of (Second Isaiah),” in David Noel Freedman, The Anchor Bible Dictionary: Volume 3, H-J, 490-501; Klaus Baltzer, Deutero-Isaiah: A Commentary on Isaiah 40-55 (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001), 1-33; and Coogan, The Old Testament, 404-411; and for Trito-Isaiah see Joseph Blenkinsopp, Isaiah 56-66: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New York: Doubleday, 2003), 27-66; and Christopher R. Seitz, “Isaiah, Book of (Third Isaiah),” in David Noel Freedman, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary: Volume 3, H-J, 501-507; and Coogan, The Old Testament, 422-424.
[xxxiii] See Coogan, The Old Testament, 365-366; and Jack R. Lundbom, “Jeremiah, Book of,” in David Noel Freedman, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary: Volume 3, H-J, 712-713.
[xxxiv] Coogan, The Old Testament, 381; and Delbert R. Hilliers, Lamentations: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New York: Doubleday, 1972), XVIII.
[xxxv] Moshe Greenberg, Ezekiel, 1-20: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New York: Doubleday, 1983), 12; and Walther Zimmerli, Ezekiel 1: A Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, Chapters 1-24 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1979), 9-16; and Lawrence Boadt, “Ezekiel, Book of,” in David Noel Freedman, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary: Volume 2, D-G, 713; cf. Coogan, The Old Testament, 385, where he states, “Most contemporary scholars accept the autobiographical form of the book at face value…”
[xxxvi] John J. Collins, Daniel: A Commentary on the Book of Daniel (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993), 38; and John J. Collins, “Daniel, Book of,” in David Noel Freedman, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary: Volume 2, D-G, 29-30; and Coogan, The Old Testament, 527.
[xxxvii] Hans Walter Wolff, Hosea: A Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Hosea (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1974), xxi; and C. L Seow, “Hosea, Book of,” in David Noel Freedman, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary: Volume 3, H-J, 292; and Coogan, The Old Testament, 320, where he states, “…the book shows no familiarity with the details of the fall of the northern kingdom to the Assyrians in 722 [BCE]. Most scholars, therefore, date Hosea’s career to the third quarter of the eighth century, shortly after that of Amos.”
[xxxviii] Hans Walter Wolff, Joel and Amos: A Commentary on the Books of the Prophets Joel and Amos (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1977), 4-6; and Theodore Hiebert, “Joel, Book of,” in David Noel Freedman, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary: Volume 3, H-J, 378-379; and Coogan, The Old Testament, 435-436.
[xxxix] Hans Walter Wolff, Joel and Amos, 89-90; and Bruce E. Willoughby, “Amos, Book of,” in David Noel Freedman, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary: Volume 1, A-D, 205; and Shalom M. Paul, Amos: A Commentary on the Book of Amos (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1991), 5-6; and Coogan, The Old Testament, 313.
[xl] Hans Walter Wolff, Obadiah and Jonah: A Commentary (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1986), 18-19 (especially p. 19 where Wolff discusses how a small number of verses, vv. 19f, especially v. 20, “derive from a later historical era-probably the 5th century, but certainly not as late a period as the Maccabees…”; and Coogan, The Old Testament, 384; and Peter R. Ackroyd, “Obadiah, Book of,” in David Noel Freedman, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary: Volume 5, O-Sh, 4.
[xli] Hans Walter Wolff, Obadiah and Jonah, 76-78; and Jack M. Sasson, Jonah: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New York: Doubleday, 1990), 21; and Coogan, The Old Testament, 517; and Jonathan Magonet, “Jonah, Book of,” in David Noel Freedman, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary: Volume 3, H-J, 940-941.
[xlii] Hans Walter Wolff, Micah: A Commentary (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1990), 1-5; and see, contra Wolff’s views of the text being edited over three centuries, Delbert R. Hillers, Micah: A Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Micah (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984), 3-4, who dates all of the text to the 8th century prophet Micah (in my view ignoring many important points made by Wolff, but an important opposing voice to Wolff’s thesis nonetheless); and Coogan, The Old Testament, 343-345.
[xliii] Duane L. Christensen, Nahum: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 53-54; and Coogan, The Old Testament, 356.
[xliv] Francis I. Andersen, Habakkuk: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New York: Doubleday, 2001), 24-27; and Marvin A. Sweeney, “Habakkuk, Book of,” in David Noel Freedman, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary: Volume 3, H-J, 1-2; and Coogan, The Old Testament, 364.
[xlv] Adele Berlin, Zephaniah: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New York: Doubleday, 1994), 42; and Coogan, The Old Testament, 355; and John S. Kselman, “Zephaniah, Book of,” in David Noel Freedman, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary: Volume 6, Si-Z, 1077.
[xlvi] Hans Walter Wolff, Haggai: A Commentary (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1988), 15-16; and Carol L. Meyers and Eric M. Meyers, Haggai and Zechariah 1-8: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New York: Doubleday, 1987), xliv; and Coogan, The Old Testament, 419; and Carol Meyers and Eric M. Meyers, “Haggai, Book of,” in David Noel Freedman, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary: Volume 3, H-J, 21.
[xlvii] There are two different authors for the canonized text of Zechariah, First Zechariah and Second Zechariah. For First Zechariah, dated August 29, 520- December 7, 518 BCE, see Carol L. Meyers and Eric M. Meyers, Haggai and Zechariah 1-8, xliv; and Carol Meyers and Eric M. Meyers, “Haggai, Book of,” 21; and Coogan, The Old Testament, 420-421; and for Second Zechariah, dated ca. 515-445 BCE, see Carol L. Meyers, Zechariah 9-14: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New York: Doubleday, 1993), 26; and David L. Petersen, “Zechariah, Book of,” in David Noel Freedman, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary: Volume 6, Si-Z, 1066; and Coogan, The Old Testament, 433.
[xlviii] Andrew E. Hill, Malachi: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New York: Doubleday, 1998), 78; and Coogan, The Old Testament, 436.
[xlix] Jack M. Sasson, Jonah: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New York: Doubleday, 1990), 27.
It’s worth keeping in perspective that, for all the difficulty mormons have with the priesthood ban, polyandry, etc., those are nothing compared with the God-sanctioned genocide of the Canaanites.
Ty, I definitely agree with you on this point. I was personally pointing to genocide when I said, “I don’t agree with everything in [the Old Testament].” I attended this year’s annual Society of Biblical Literature meeting in Baltimore in November and the first meeting I went to was on Biblical genocide. I was happy to see no one there defending genocide, although there were differences of opinion on details.
An interesting side note is that the “God-sanctioned genocide of the Canaanites” is historical fiction. The Albright “conquest model,” based mainly on the book of Joshua, is no longer an acceptable approach to understanding the archaeological record. William Dever discusses this in his article on “Israel, History of (Archaeology and the “Conquest”), in the Anchor Bible Dictionary discusses the issues and concludes thus:
“It is obvious that of the nearly 20 identifiable LB/Iron I sites that the biblical writers claim were forcibly taken by the Israelites under Joshua…only Bethel and Hazor have any archaeological claims to destruction, i.e., historical claims supported by extra biblical evidence. And even here, there is no conclusive data to support the notion that Israelites were the agents of destruction…Thus the “conquest” model derived principally from the book of Joshua, so promising in the beginning, is now seen to have fared rather badly in more recent research…The possible experience of some tribal elements in Egypt and Transjordan, or the scattered violence accompanying early phases of the settlement in Canaan, were undoubtedly minor factors [for understanding the origins of Israel]. The emergence of Israel must be seen rather as part of a larger, enormously complex, long drawn-out of socio-economic change on the LB/Iron I horizon in Palestine with many regional variations” (see David Noel Freedman, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary: Volume 3, H-J, 548).
This leaves us with an interesting question: If the “genocide” and “conquest” didn’t actually happen, why would the author portray such a heinous series of events as coming from the command of God? The author of Joshua was at least six, maybe seven centuries removed from the events he claimed to have happened. It is obvious that he wanted to portray a victorious history for Israel, and a history that was tied up in the sanction of God. What was important to the author/s of the Deuteronomistic History? Cult centralization, removal of idol worship, etc., etc. Their favorite king and leader of Israel was Josiah, and he was portrayed as being so obedient to God that he even killed priests on altars who would not obey the scroll that Hilkiah had found in the temple (probably an earlier version of Deuteronomy). These people would have been extremists in our eyes if we lived back then. Canaanite worship to them was Baal and Asherah worship, and needed to be stamped out. The author/s of Joshua wrote that into their history to be an example of the importance of following only the one God, Yahweh. I don’t think we need to be bound to their extremist ideology any more than we need to be bound many of the laws in Leviticus (although I still Leviticus is an extremely important for Christians to read and understand).
I hope this sheds some light on my thinking as to the subject of genocide. Thanks again for pointing that out.
Thanks a lot for that. It sounds like I don’t have to believe it happened, and was possibly made up by deuteronomists/careless and designing priests/correlationists to prove a point, sort of a Jewish urban legend.
I don’t disagree with your conclusions, Hans. The information you share is helpful. But the most revealing aspect of the Old Testament and the Israelite worldview, one that was missing from your analysis, is their cosmology and its influence on their sacred icons, rituals, beliefs and traditions. They are the source of all prophetic imagery used to relate the visions of those prophets. These Joseph Smith sought to reintroduce into the Restored Gospel, most specifically in our temple ritual and iconography. I think you especially would benefit from learning these connections.
Anthony, thank you for the comments. I definitely agree that this is an important topic, but I didn’t feel that this was a necessary aspect to focus on to share with members of the Church in this post. I think this would be a beneficial topic in the future, but I would probably differ in how to approach the topic. As you already know I accept the Documentary Hypothesis and the different authors and their cosmologies. Not every Israelite prophet shared the same views of the creation of the world and the state of man with the divine. Maybe this would be a good topic to post on in the future, but I think it would have been too large to include here.
Thanks for a great introduction to the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, Colby. My interest in the same subject started a year or so ago and I have read nearly a dozen books or so on both the Old and New Testament since (including Kugel, Friedman, Ehrman, etc.) I’ve bookmarked your article to refer back to the bibliography which I might use for future readings. For now, I am looking (impatiently) forward to David Bokovoy’s new book which I am sure will become absolutely foundational for any LDS reader wanting to read up on textual studies of the Bible and their implications for LDS theology.
I have a few questions for you if you don’t mind:
(1) You list several books for understanding First, Deutero- and Trito-Isaiah. Are there any books you’d recommend that deals with Isaiah’s authorship and the Book of Isaiah as a whole? (I would also be interested in your thoughts about how Isaiah affects Book of Mormon historicity and whether it’s possible that Lehi could have had some version of all those parts of Isaiah referred to in the BM – maybe an idea for another blog post?)
(2) You date P to ca. 550 BC. In his “Who Wrote the Bible”, Freiedman argues that P was composed during King Hezekiah’s reign, that Jeremiah interacts with P, and references Avi Hurvitz as demonstrating that P was written in an earlier stage of Hebrew than was Ezekiel. Are these arguments outdated or would you consider them plausible?
(3) Will your upcoming book for Greg Kofford be mostly a reference source for where the BM uses the KJV or will it include thorough discussion of the JEPD sources in the BM, potential implications for historicity, and so on? Also, is this something you expect to have published during 2014 or is it a longer term project?
Thanks again for a good blog post. I look forward to reading your book once it comes out and to any other blog posts you might write.
Thank you for your kind response to the post, I appreciate it and enjoyed reading it. I am definitely with you on David Bokovoy’s book. I promise you it is worth the wait, it’s a fantastic manuscript and I think you are right by stating that his work (which will be 3 volumes altogether) will be a necessary tool for Latter-day Saints studying the Hebrew Bible.
You bring up some very important questions and I’ll do my best to answer them.
(1) Unfortunately there are not any books that discuss the authorship of Isaiah directly, at least none that are written to discuss Isaianic authorship. The books in my notes here are a great starting point if you can get your hands on them. They discuss the major issues with dating the different parts of Isaiah. There are also a number of articles in scholarly journals that are worth reading, if you would like I could send you the bibliography for a couple of those.
Discussing Book of Mormon historicity is an interesting and hotly debated issue. I think I will probably write another post specifically on the authorship of Isaiah and how that affects the Book of Mormon. A couple of points before then would be the fact that by the very nature of a text being historical there are bound to be inconsistencies all over it. Even when I write in a journal the night things happen I make mistakes. This is compounded in the Book of Mormon because of the many layers of “authorship” that we have in the text itself. We can’t simply pick a verse and say that the traditionally accepted author of that verse actually wrote it; it’s more complicated than that. If we look at Alma as author of the book of Alma, can we trust that Alma wrote the entire thing himself? No, I don’t think so. Following strictly what the text itself says Mormon sat down with a large amount of books and redacted or edited them down to fit into his book. He could have changed verbiage, writing style, theology, textual quotations and allusions, etc. himself and we would never know. This becomes complicated when there is a second, smaller redaction by Moroni, and then it is “translated” (literally? tight? loose? conceptually? revelation?, etc.) by Joseph Smith who also had the opportunity to add in whatever he felt he needed and his worldview would then become part of the text (I actually think the process for us today to discuss the history of the text is easier than this, and this example I think is logically backwards, but it is following the claims of the text. We could discuss this more later as well).
To answer your question there is an issue having so much of the later Isaiah texts in the Book of Mormon, and I don’t feel that there have been adequate answers provided yet by those who have continued believing in the book. This has been a problem for many members over the years, even as early as 1938 when H. Grant Vest wrote his Master’s thesis under the supervision of Sidney Sperry (http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm/ref/collection/MTNZ/id/26642). As I outlined in the notes you read, the answer cannot be to simply show that the text of Isaiah is stylistically similar, or whatever other way we are going to get there to be one author. If that argument is accomplished, it is even more of a problem because then the entire Book of Isaiah needs to be dated to around or just after the time of Trito-Isaiah, because there are clear allusions to the Persians (Cyrus, Isaiah 45), to the temple being rebuilt, and to the temple actually being in service. The audience even changes from First Isaiah to Deutero-Isaiah. They go from being estranged from God (“this people,” “that people”) with a message of doom (“woe to this people”) and the enemies being the Assyrians, to being rescued by God (“my people”) with a message of comfort (“comfort ye my people”). This all happens in the change from 1-39 to 40-55. Chapter 40 starts new, just like a new book, and has a new message, even the enemies have changed to the Babylonians. There are later historical allusions and references than this, so if it is one author then he would be writing after these events and looking back on them. This is not the way to go about reconciling Isaiah in the Book of Mormon. I’ll write more in a later post and add references to that one. I’ll try to remember to discuss the theory that there might have been a core of Isaiah 40-66 that Lehi and Nephi might have had, but that will rest on those parts that are actually used in the Book of Mormon, not just on whatever chapters in 40-66 might have been written earlier.
(2) I agree with Friedman on the dating of P, and actually think that D is later than P, but provided the consensus figures provided by Coogan anyway. Gen. 1 is P and describes the man and the woman being created in the image of God, but we compare that to Deut. 4:12-20 where God has no form. With each successive stage of authorship God becomes less and less humanlike, and more and more distant. I remember David Bokovoy saying that the Hebrew of D is later than P this last semester in our Hebrew Bible class, but I would have to find a reference for that. Anyway, I agree with Friedman, but the later dating seems to hold the majority view at this point.
(3) The book to be published by Greg Kofford Books will be strictly a reference work. It will include the complete text of the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon, and the text will be highlighted where it is dependent on the KJV. Each place of dependence will then have a footnote telling you how it is dependent (i.e. quotation, allusion, echo, parallel) and giving the verse/s in the KJV that the given section of the Book of Mormon is dependent on.
My honors thesis project, which is a completely different thing from the book project with Greg Kofford, will analyze how the J source influenced the writing of the Book of Mormon. I will go through and thoroughly discuss the places I have located as dependent on J and then will discuss how the Book of Mormon actually uses the text.
I will be taking this summer off from courses at school to focus on these two projects, so we are hoping to get the book out with Kofford somewhere around the end of this year.
Thanks again for your kind response, I really enjoyed reading it and hope to interact with you more in the future.
Thanks for your comprehensive answers, I appreciate the insights. I definitely agree with your observations about layers of authorship and the issue of translation being important when considering BM historicity. Brant Gardner’s “Gift and Power” was key for me in realizing that the massive influence of the KJV on the BM does not have to be seen as evidence against the BM being historical. I also find Ostler’s expansion theory useful and now prefer describing the BM as having been “channeled” through Joseph Smith rather than “translated” in the conventional sense. I am sure your book for Kofford will be very useful for scholars on both sides of the historicity debate.
I would welcome any references or articles you could send me on Isaiah. You’re welcome to email those to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks again for your answers. I’d enjoy discussing with you further in the future as well.
Colby, I think I’ve figured out what bothers me about biblical scholarship as it relates to Mormonism. The dominant theories of biblical authorship as presented to Americans, at least (the DH, two or three Isaiahs, Sermon on the Mount from a sayings text, etc), don’t fit easily with the majority of Mormon views of Book of Mormon authorship and modern revelation. They don’t even fit easily with somewhat liberal views that allow for error and human intervention in revelation, but credit Joseph Smith with doing pretty much what Joseph said he was doing (including visiting with Moses and Moroni, for example). We are uncomfortable with rejecting or “symbologizing” these stories without strong reason, but that seems to be what biblical scholarship, as superficially presented (and even more than superficially), requires.
On top of this, anyone who begins reading serious biblical scholarship can easily find contradictory views on most things, and ideologically determined (rather than logically necessary) conclusions–and that doesn’t require reading apologetic Mormon or fundamentalist Christian scholarship. So we end up like Joseph Smith, unfamiliar with the ways of scholarship and not knowing where to turn.
One result is that explanations of dominant beliefs in biblical scholarship fall flat. If we like something, we take it, and if we don’t we blow it off, because we don’t have any way to judge it. Biblical scholarship is presented like the Theory of Evolution–as if it’s the only game in town. But that isn’t true with biblical scholarship.
With that set up, here is what I am really looking for. I’m not just looking for an explanation of the Documentary Hypothesis, or an explanation of Deutero-Isaiah. I’m looking for explanations of the very best competing hypotheses–including the minority views. I’m looking for the best reasons for believing each of these hypotheses, and the reasons specific scholars choose one over another. I don’t just want to understand the DH. I also want to understand why some scholars reject it and what they replace it with. But that view is not easily available, and especially not from a source that is familiar with Mormon scripture. This is the kind of blog post, or article, or book that I am waiting for. I’m waiting for a proponent of one hypothesis to take seriously the best reasoning for the other hypotheses enough to show me he or she understands them all and isn’t so ideologically entrenched that he or she can’t let me choose for myself based on the best evidence. I want a pluralist presentation of what is, in reality, a pluralist environment. Then I will be more inclined to believe what I’m told.
Try looking over my website, Jonathan. If I understand you correctly, you might find what you’re looking for there as long as you don’t reject the idea without giving it a proper look-see.
I went back and re-read this now that I have finished Bokovoy’s book. I need you to clarify some things:
What does this mean?
“J/E: ca. 700 BCE”
“P: ca. 550 BCE” I assume this is referring to the Priestly Source. If so, why didn’t you go into more detail regarding it, like you did with J, E, and D?
“Deuteronomy: ca. 622 BCE” How is this different from the Deuteronomic Source?
After going through these different sources, you then list a variety of books from the Hebrew Bible. Am I to understand that those books do not have D, P, J, and E influencing them? Am I to understand that the Documentary Hypotheses only pertains to the Pentateuch?