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E.W. NICHOLSON, The Pentateuch in recent research: a time for caution

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Chapter Summary

The quest for an explanation of the origins and composition of the Pentateuch has been a pre-eminent occupation of critical Old Testament research for upwards of two centuries. Even the view which has won the largest following among scholars, the so-called "newer documentary theory" so brilliantly argued by Julius Wellhausen, remains correctly described as a hypothesis. It is a further indication of how intractable the issues are that none of the energetic attempts on the basis of new methods during the middle decades of this century to reconstruct the pre-compositional stages in the emergence and formation of the Pentateuch or Hexateuch, and thus to achieve greater comprehensiveness than had earlier been attempted, has succeeded. The few observations time permits the author are confined mainly to some of the claims of Whybray, Van Seters, and H.H. Schmid.

Keywords: documentarytheory; Old Testament; Pentateuch; Wellhausen



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