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with Sources Revealed
Richard Elliott Friedman
Har per One
A Division ofYiarperGoMmsPublishers
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I | or centuries, scholars f rom many backgrounds have worked on dis-
J L covering how the Bible came to be. They were religious and non-
religious, Christians and Jews. Thei r task was not to prove whether the
Bible' s words were divinely revealed to the authors. That is a questi on of
faith, not scholarship. Rather, they were trying to learn the history of those
authors: what they wrote, when they wrote, and why they wrote. The solu-
tion that has been the most persuasive for over a century is known as the
Documentary Hypothesi s. The idea of this hypothesis is that the Bible' s
first books were f ormed through a l ong process. Anci ent writers produced
document s of poetry, prose, and law over many hundreds of years. And
then editors used these document s as sources. Those editors fashi oned
f rom these sources the Bible that people have read for some two thousand
Those who disagreed wi th this hypothesis came f rom two opposite
ends of the spectrum: the most traditional and the most radical. The
most traditional schol arsmai nl y fundamental i st Christians and Orthodox
Jewsadhered to the ancient answers to these questions: the first five
books of the Bible were written down by Moses personally, the book of
Joshua was written down by Joshua hi msel f, and so on. The most radical
scholars argued that the Bible' s books were written later and l at erand that
they were less and less true.
One probl em was that these groups of scholars only rarely engaged
each other. Both traditional and radical scholars (and laypersons who fol-
l owed them) have cl aimed that the hypothesis has been overthrown, that
"hardly anybody believes that anymore, " but, it must be said, neither group
has ever responded to the classic and current argument s that made the
Documentary Hypothesi s the central model of the field. The hypothesis
that, supposedly, no one believes anymore conti nues to be the model in
whi ch most scholars work. It conti nues to be taught in courses in maj or
universities and seminaries. And it conti nues to be outlined in introductory
textbooks on biblical studies. The pri mary argument s for it conti nue to go
undebat edand frequently unment i oned.
Thi s lack of engagement was unfortunate. I can testify to this f rom my
personal experience. On one side, I have engaged in discussion and debates
with my more radical col l eagues at professi onal meeti ngs and in print.
And, on the other side, I have sat at the same table wi th Orthodox rabbis
and wi th f undamental i st Chri sti an scholars. And when I have presented
this subject in university classes, I have tried to be as sensitive to the feel-
i ngs of my fundamental i st and orthodox students as possible. The goal was
not to shake t hem up or produce faith crises. Rather, I urged t hem to dis-
cuss these matters wi th their clergy, friends, family, or whomever they
trusted to be hel pful to them. I hope that we have all l earned that we can sit
down wi th people with whom we disagree and learn together. And so it is a
shame that traditional and radical scholars so rarely engage the scholarship
with whi ch they disagree.
Thi s shoul d not come down to humorous disdain for the positions of
others. It must come down to evidence. The collection of evidence in this
book is meant to be the largest tabulation of evidence in one place to date.
And it is hard data. "Style" is not i ncl uded here, for exampl e, since style is
not usual l y a satisfactory criterion for di sti ngui shi ng sources because it
often involves subjective j udgments. The exception is when we can observe
an el ement of style that is definable and quantifiable. As an exampl e of
such an el ement, punni ng (paronomasia) occurs frequently in some of the
sources but is rare in others.
The straightforward tabulation of evidence appears in the pages that
follow this introduction. The heart and soul of this book, though, are to be
f ound in the text of the Bible itself, whi ch follows that tabulation. In this
book you will find the text of the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exo-
dus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. These books are known collec-
tively by several names: as the Torah (from the Hebrew word meani ng
"instruction"), as the Humash (from the Hebrew word meani ng "five"), as
the Pentateuch (from the Greek, meani ng "five scrolls"), and as the Five
Books of Moses (reflecting the tradition that Moses first wrote t hem down).
The sources of these five books are di sti ngui shed f rom one another by
means of di fferi ng type font styles and colors. The most persuasive thi ng is
to read the text itself wi th the sources distinguished. One can choose any of
several ways to do this. One can read the component texts individually all
the way through, one at a time. Or the reader can take several biblical sto-
ries and read each of t hem wi th an eye on the component stories comi ng
' Punni ng o c c ur s f requent l y, f or e x a mpl e , in t he t ext s known in s c hol a r s hi p as t he
s o ur c e s J and E, but it is rare in t he t ext s known as t he s o ur c e s P and D.
together. Or the reader may choose to do what I did mysel f when I worked
on this text: When I did my translation, I did not start at Genesi s 1:1 and
proceed in order. Rather, I translated the work i n the order in whi ch it was
I thus experienced, in a way, the formati on of the Torah f rom its
sources into what became the first five books of the Bible. It was an inspir-
i ng and instructive experience indeed, and now everyone who wi shes is
able to experience the f ormati on of these books as well.
The purposes of this book, therefore, are:
1. To present the largest collection of evidence ever assembl ed in one
place concerni ng this hypothesis.
2. To make it possible to read each of the source texts individually, to
see their artistry, their vi ews of God, Israel, and humanki nd, and
their connecti on to their moment in history.
3. To make it possible to see the steps in the Bible' s f ormati on out of
these sources.
4. To hel p readers appreciate that the whol e is more than the s um of
its parts. The Bible is a rich, compl ex, beautiful work as a result of
the extraordinary way in whi ch it was created.
The basic hypothesis is: These biblical books were assembl ed f rom
sources. The historical context in whi ch these sources were written and
then edited together was as follows:
For two centuries (from 922 to 722 BCE) the biblical promi sed land was
divided into two ki ngdoms: the ki ngdom of Israel in the north and the
ki ngdom of Judah in the south. A text known as J was composed duri ng
this period. It is called J because, f rom its very first sentence, it refers to
God by the proper name of Y HWH (Jahwe in German, whi ch was the lan-
guage of many of the f oundi ng works in this field). It incl udes the f amous
biblical stories of the garden of Eden, Cain and Abel, the flood, the tower of
Babylon ("Babel"), plus stories of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
as wel l as stories of Joseph and then of Moses, the exodus f rom Egypt, the
revelation at Mount Sinai, and Israel's travels through the wi l derness to the
promi sed land. J was composed by an author living in the southern king-
dom of Judah.
I fi rst t r ans l at ed J, t hen E. The n I pur s ue d t he edi t i ng of | and E t og e t he r by t he redac-
t or known as RJE. The n I t r ans l at ed P, t hen D (in its s t a ge s ) . The n I t r ans l at ed t he r emai n-
i ng smal l t ext s ( such as Ge ne s i s 14). And t hen I pur s ue d t he edi t i ng of all t he s e t og e t he r
by t he r edact or known as R.
A second text, known as E, was composed duri ng this same period. E
was composed by a priest living in the northern ki ngdom of Israel. It is
called E because it refers to the deity si mpl y as God, whi ch in the original
Hebrew is El ohim, or by the divine name El in its stories until the ti me of
Moses. That is, unl i ke J, the E text developed the idea that the proper name
of God, YHWH, was not known on earth until God chose to reveal it to
Moses. E does not include any stories of the earth' s early history, such as
creation or the flood. Its first part appears to be mi ssi ng. It begi ns in the
mi ddl e of the story of Abraham. It then i ncl udes stories of Isaac, Jacob,
Joseph, Moses, the pl agues and exodus, the revelation at the mountai n, and
the wi l derness travels. Some of these stories have parallels in the J stories,
and some of t hem are different. For example, E i ncl udes the stories of
the near sacrifice of Isaac and of the gol den calf, whi ch do not appear in J.
J i ncl udes the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, whi ch does not appear in E.
And both J and E have the story of Joseph's bei ng sold into slavery, but the
details of how it happened differ. E also includes a law code (Exodus 21-23),
whi ch has no parallel in J.
In the year 722 BCE, the Assyri an empi re destroyed the northern king-
dom of Israel. J and E were then no l onger separated by a border. These two
versions of the peopl e' s history now existed side by side in the ki ngdom of
Judah. In the years that followed, someone assembl ed a history that used
both J and E as sources. The editor/historian who combi ned J and E into a
single work is known as the Redactor of JE, or RJE for short.
The third mai n source is known as P because one of its central con-
cerns is the priesthood. In critical scholarship, there are two mai n views of
when it was composed. One vi ew is that P was the latest of the sources,
composed in the sixth or fifth century BCE. The other view is that P was
composed not l ong after J and E were combi nedspeci f i cal l y, that it was
produced by the Jerusalem priesthood as an alternative to the history told in
JE. Linguistic evidence now supports the latter vi ew and virtually rules out
the late date for P.
P, like E, involves both stories and laws. The P l aws and
instructions take up hal f of the books of Exodus and Numbers and practi-
cally all of the book of Leviticus. The P stories parallel the JE stories to
a large extent in both content and order, i ncl udi ng stories of creation,
the flood, the divine covenant with Abraham, accounts of Isaac and Jacob,
the ensl avement, exodus, Sinai, and wi l derness. Al so like E, the P stories
Thi s is di s c us s e d bel ow. I have al s o br ought e v i de nc e f or t he earl i er dat e f or P in The
Exile and Biblical Narrative, in Who Wrote the Bible?, and in " Tor ah" in The Anchor Bible
Dictionary ( Ne w York: Doubl eday, 1 992) , vol . 6, pp. 6 05 - 6 2 2 .
follow the idea that the divine name Y HWH was not known until the ti me
of Moses.
The final mai n source is known as D because it takes up most of the
book of Deuteronomy. More specifically, Deuteronomy comprises: (1) a law
code that takes up chapters 12- 26, known as Dtn; (2) an introductory text
that precedes this law code and casts the book as the farewell speech of
Moses before his death, taking up chapters i - i r , and then a continuation of
this text fol l owing the law code, taking up chapters 27-30; (3) two old poems
that are included as a parting message f rom Moses for the future (chapters
32 and 33); and (4) reports of the last acts of Moses, bri ngi ng together por-
tions f rom all the sources (J, E, P, and D). D is part of a longer work, known
as the Deuteronomi sti c History (Dtr), whi ch includes the books of Deuter-
onomy, Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel , and 1 and 2 Kings. Dtr contains
sources that are as old as J and E or possibly even older, but the formati on of
the work took place in the reign of Ki ng Josiah of Judah, circa 622 BCE. It
was later extended into a slightly l onger second edition; this took place dur-
i ng the exile that followed the destruction of the southern ki ngdom of Judah
by Babylon in 587 BCE. The original, Josianic edition of the Deuteronomi sti c
history is called Dtri; and the second, exilic edition is called Dtr2.
Al l these sources and editions were put together by an editor into
the final five-book work. Thi s final editor is known as the Redactor, or for
short: R.
The next secti on of this book is a collection of evidence, containing the
seven mai n bodies of evidence in support of this hypothesis. Af ter that
section comes the text of the first five books of the Bible in Engl ish trans-
lation. The sources and editing are identified in that text by distinctly styled
and colored fonts.
Identification of the sources was attempted in books as l ong as a hun-
dred years ago. One work, called "The Pol ychrome Bible" (1903), used
colors. Another used lines and col umns in the text (Carpenter and Hartford-
Battersby, 1902). These were not successful . I do not know all of the rea-
sons, but I can readily i magi ne the probl ems of printing and cost involved
in those days. But advances in technol ogy in our generation have now made
it possible for everyone to have a Bible wi th this i nformati on.
In order to make the sources easy to identify at a glance, we f ound that
it was best to use a variety of tools available for printing: various fonts, bold
and italic typefaces. We were also able to use two colors to aid identification,
and we used background screens to show where redactors had added to the
text. A key to the sources appears on page 32. A bri ef version of the key
appears at the top of each right-hand page as an additional aid.
The Engl ish translation here is my own. For those who are interested, my
explanation of the standards of my translation may be f ound in my Com-
mentary on the Torah, pp. xiii-xvi.
Some of these sources and editorial work extend beyond Deuteronomy.
I have presented evidence el sewhere that J conti nues into a narrative that is
distributed through the books of Joshua, Judges, i and 2 Samuel , and the
first two chapters of 1 Kings.
P also appears to me clearly to conti nue into
the latter hal f of the book of Joshua. And Dtri and Dtra encompass the
books of Deuteronomy through 2 Kings. But these go beyond the scope of
this book, whi ch is meant to cover the five books of the Torah.
The process of identifying the sources is a conti nui ng task. Some of the
source identifications of verses here are different f rom those 1 made in Who
Wrote the Bible?, whi ch first appeared fi fteen years ago, and whi ch were
modi fi ed in a second edition. Where these di fferences occur, readers shoul d
regard the identifications in this book as representi ng my more recent
I have assembl ed evidence in other books and articles to show the fl aws
in recent attacks on the Documentary Hypothesi s f rom the radical and tra-
ditional ends of the spectrum. The present book is more concerned wi th
the positive presentation of the evidence on whi ch the hypothesi s stands.
For those who wi sh to see the evidence against those recent attacks, see the
Appendi x in The Hidden Book in the Bible (pp. 350-378); and my articles
"Sol omon and the Great Histories," in Jerusalem in Bible and Archaeology
The First Temple Period, ed. Ann Killebrew and Andrew Vaughn (Atlanta:
Society of Biblical Literature, 2002); "An Essay on Method, " in Le-David
Maskil, ed. Richard Elliott Friedman and Wil l iam Henry Propp (Biblical and
Judaic Studies f rom the University of California, San Diego; Wi nona Lake,
IN: Ei senbrauns, 2003); "Some Recent Non-arguments Concerni ng the
Document ary Hypothesi s, " in Texts, Temples, and Traditions: A Tribute to
Menahem Haran, ed. Michael Fox et al. (Winona Lake, IN: Ei senbrauns,
1996), pp. 87-101; and "Late for a Very Important Date," Bible Review 9: 6
(1993): 12- 16.
On e di f f er enc e: i tal i cs f or e mp h a s i s in t he Commentary on the Torah are e l i mi nat e d
here b e c a u s e t hey mi ght be mi s unde r s t o o d t o be a s our c e marker.
R. E. Fr i edman, The Hidden Book in the Bible ( San Fr anci s co: Ha r pe r Sa nFr a nc i s c o,
1 998) .
The Seven Main Arguments
The process of i denti fyi ng the biblical sources took centuries. The process
of refi ni ng our identifications of these sources has been ongoi ng, and it
conti nues to the present day. Initially, it was a tentative division based on
si mpl e factors: where the name of God appeared in the texts, similar stories
appeari ng twice in the texts, contradictions of fact between one text and
another. Accounts of this early i denti fyi ng and refi ni ng may be f ound in
many introductions to this subject and in my Who Wrote the Bible? The col-
lection of evidence here is not a review of that history of the subject. It is a
tabulation of the evidence that has emerged that establishes the hypothesis.
It is grouped here in seven categories, whi ch f orm the seven mai n argu-
ment s for the hypothesis in my j udgment.
When we separate the texts that have been identified wi th the various
sources, we find that they reflect the Hebrew l anguage of several distinct
The devel opment of Hebrew that we observe through these successive
periods indicates that:
The Hebrew of } and E comes f rom the earliest stage of biblical
The Hebrew of P comes f rom a later stage of the l anguage.
The Hebrew of the Deuteronomi sti c texts comes f rom a still later
stage of the l anguage.
P comes f rom an earlier stage of Hebrew than the Hebrew of the
book of Ezekiel (which comes f rom the ti me of the Babylonian
Al l of these mai n sources come f rom a stage of Hebrew known as
Classical Biblical Hebrew, whi ch is earlier than the Hebrew of the
postexilic, Persian period (known as Late Biblical Hebrew).
Thi s chronology of the l anguage of the sources is conf i rmed by Hebrew
texts outside the Bible. The characteristics of Classical Biblical Hebrew are
conf i rmed through compari son wi th inscriptions that have been discovered
through archaeology, whi ch come f rom the period before the Babyl oni an
exile (587 BCE). The characteristics of Late Biblical Hebrew are conf i rmed
through compari son wi th the Hebrew of later sources such as the Dead Sea
Despite the power of this evidence, it is practically never menti oned by
those who oppose the hypothesis.
Certain words and phrases occur di sproporti onatel yor even ent i rel yi n
one source but not in others. The quantity of such terms that consistently
bel ong to a particular source is considerable. Thus:
The mount ai n that is called Sinai in J and P (twenty times) is called
Horeb or "the Mountai n of God" in E and D (fourteen times). In thirty-four
occurrences of these names, there is no exception to this distinction.
The phrase "in that very day" (be'esem hayyom hazzeh) occurs el even
ti mes in the Torah. Ten of the eleven are in P. (And the eleventh is in R, in
a passage that R model ed on P; Deut 32:48.)
The phrase "the place where Y HWH sets his name" or "the place
where Y HWH tents his name" occurs ten ti mes in D but never in J, E, or P.
' Rober t Pol zi n, Late Biblical Hebrew: Toward an Historical Typology of Biblical Hebrew
Prose ( At l ant a: Sc hol ar s Pr ess, 1 976) ; Gary Re nds bur g , " Lat e Bi bl i cal He br e w and t he
Dat e of P, " Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society 12 (1980): 65- 80; Zi ony Zevi t , " Con-
v e r gi ng Li nes of Evi dence Bear i ng on t he Dat e of P, " Zeitschrift fur die alttestamentliche
Wissenschaft 94 (1982): 502- 509; Jacob Mi l gr om, Leviticus 1-16, Anc hor Bi bl e 3 ( Ne w York:
Doubl eday, 1 991 ) , pp. 3- 13; Mi l gr om, " Nu mb e r s , Book of , " Anchor Bible Dictionary, vol . 4,
pp. 1 1 48- 1 1 49; Avi Hurvi t z, " The Evi dence of La ng ua g e in Da t i ng t he Pri estl y Co de , "
Revue Biblique 81 ( 1974) : 24- 5 6; Hurvi t z, A Linguistic Study of the Relationship Between the
Priestly Source and the Book of Ezekiel (Pari s: Ca b a l da , 1982) ; Hurvi t z, Iin
( Jerusal em: Bialik Inst i t ut e, 1972) ; Hurvi t z, " Cont i nui t y and I nnovat i on in Bi bl i cal
He b r e wT h e Ca s e of ' Se ma nt i c Cha ng e ' in Post-Exi l i c Wr i t i ngs , " Abr-Naharaim Supp. 4
(1995), pp. l -i o; Hur vi t z, " The Us a g e of tlittf and f!3 in t he Bi bl e and Its I mpl i cat i on f or
t he Dat e of P, " Harvard Theological Review 60 ( 1967) : 1 1 7 - 1 21 ; Ronal d He nde l , " ' Be ge t -
t i ng' and ' Be i ng Bor n' in t he Pent at euc h: No t e s on Hi st or i cal Li ngui st i cs and Sour c e Crit-
i c i s m, " Vetus Testamentum 50 ( 2000) : 3 8- 4 6 .
The phrase "gathered to hi s peopl e" as a euphemi sm for death occurs
eleven ti mes, and all eleven are in P.
The phrase "fire came out f rom before YHWH" occurs three times,
all in P.
The phrase "and he [or they] fell on hi s face" occurs eight ti mes, all
in P.
The phrase "be fruitful and mul ti pl y" occurs twelve times, all in P.
The phrase " YHWH' s glory" (kebod yhwh) occurs thirteen ti mes, and
twelve are in P.
The word "plague" (ngp) occurs fi fteen times; fourteen are in P.
The word "possession" ('ahuzzah) occurs thirty-five ti mes in the Torah,
and thirty-three are in P. (The thirty-fourth is an R passage repeating a
verse f rom P, and the thirty-fifth is uncertain.)
The word "chieftain" (nasi') occurs sixty-nine ti mes in the Torah. Sixty-
seven are in P. (The other two are in J and E.)
The word "congregation" ('edah) occurs more than one hundred ti mes
in the Torah, all in P, wi thout a single exception.
The root 'dp occurs eight ti mes in the Torah, and they are all in P.
The word "property" (rekus) occurs in the anomal ous source in Genesi s
14 (four times) and once in the words of the Redactor. It occurs eight ti mes
in the four mai n sources, and all eight are in P, never in J, E, or D.
The word "complain" (Hebrew Iwn and telunot) occurs twenty-three
ti mes in the Torah, and twenty-two are in P.
The word "cubit" occurs fifty-nine ti mes in the Torah, and fifty-six
are in P.
The term "to expire" (gw') occurs eleven ti mes in P but never in ),
E, or D.
The phrase "l engthen your days in the land" occurs twelve ti mes, and
eleven are in D.
The phrase "with all your heart and wi th all your soul" occurs ni ne
ti mes, and all are in D.
The phrases "to go after other gods" and "to turn to other gods" and "to
worshi p other gods" occur thirteen times, all in D.
The phrase "listen to the voice of Y HWH" (sm' bqwl yhwh) occurs
twelve times, all in D.
The term "to lie with" as a euphemi sm for sex (skb) occurs thirteen
ti mes in the Torah, and eleven are in J. (The other two occur in a single pas-
sage in E; Gen 30:15-16.)
The term "to know" as a euphemi sm for sex (yd') occurs five ti mes in J
but never i n the other sources.
The term "Sheol, " i denti fyi ng the place where the dead go, occurs six
ti mes in J but never in the other sources.
The term "to suffer" ('sb) occurs seven times, and all seven are in J.
a) The Revelation of God's Name
Thi s line of evidence is frequently described as a matter of termi nol ogy:
namely, that different sources use different names for God. But that is not
correct. The point is not that sources have di fferent names of God. The
point is that the di fferent sources have a di fferent idea of when the name
Y HWH was first revealed to humans. Accordi ng to J, the name was known
since the earliest generations of humans. Referring to a generati on before
the flood, J says explicitly, "Then it was begun to invoke the name YHWH"
(Gen 4:26). The use of the name by humans may go back even earlier in J,
because Eve uses it when she names Cain (Gen 4:1). But in E and P it is
stated just as explicitly that Y HWH does not reveal this name until the gen-
eration of Moses. In Genesi s Y HWH instead tells Abraham that His name
is El Shadday, thus:
Y HWH appeared to Abram and said to hi m, "I am El Shadday."
(Gen 17:1)
And then when Y HWH speaks to Moses in Exodus, the text says:
And God spoke to Moses and said to hi m, "I am YHWH. And I
appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El Shadday, and
I was not known to t hem by my name, YHWH.
(Exod 6:2-3)
The sources in the text are then nearly 100 percent consi stent on this
matter. The E and P sources identify God as El or simply as "God" (Hebrew:
Elohim) until the name is revealed to Moses. After that, they use the name
Y HWH as well. The J source meanwhi l e uses the name Y HWH f rom the
begi nni ng.
I added one more el ement to this picture. The J source never uses the
word God (Elohim) in narration. When individual persons i n the story are
I have l i mi t ed t he c a s e s her e t o t e r mi nol og y wi t hi n t he Torah i tsel f. For fifty c a s e s of
t e r ms t hat o c c ur di s pr opor t i onat el y or ent i rel y in J or in t ext s rel at ed t o J t hat are f ound in
Jos hua, Judges , Sa mue l , and Ki ngs, s e e R. E. Fr i edman, The Hidden Book in the Bible,
Appe ndi x 4, pp. 37 9- 389.
quoted, they may use this word; but the J narrator never uses the word,
wi thout a single exception in the Masoretic Text.
For the entire Torah, the picture is as follows: the names Y HWH and El
and the word God (Elohim) occur more than two thousand ti mes, and the
number of exceptions to this picture is three. Despite this phenomenal fact,
we still find writers on this subject asserting that "the names of God" do not
prove anything.
h) The Sacred Objects: Tabernacle, Ark, Cherubs, Urim
and Tummim, Moses' Staff and Aaron's Staff
The Tabernacle is menti oned more than two hundred ti mes in P. It receives
more attention than any other subject. It is the only permitted site of sacri-
fice. It is the place where maj or ceremoni es and laws must be carried out. It
is the place where all revelation takes place after Sinai. But it is never so
muc h as ment i oned in J or D. It is menti oned three ti mes in E.
The ark is identified as bei ng crucial to Israel's travels and military suc-
cess in J (Num 10:33-36; 14:44), but it is never menti oned in E.
Gol den cherubs spread their wi ngs over the ark in P. And cherubs
guard the way to the garden of Eden in J. But they are not ment i oned in
E or D.
In P, the Ur i m and Tummi m are kept in the Hi gh Priest' s breastplate
and are used in apparent divine consultation in j udgment. But they are
never ment i oned in J, E, or D.
In E, mi racl es are perf ormed wi th Moses' staff (Exod 4:2-5, 17, 20;
7:15-17, 20b; 9:23; 10:13; 17:5-6, 8). But in P, it is Aaron' s staff that is used
for perf ormi ng mi racl es (Exod 7: 9-12, 19; 8:1-2, 12-13; Num 17: 16-26;
c) Priestly Leadership
In the P source, access to the divine is l imited to Aaroni d priests. In all the
stories in P, there are no ment i ons of dreams, of angel s, or tal king ani-
mal s, t hough these thi ngs occur in J, E, and D. As for human leaders: the
words "prophet" and "prophesy" occur thirteen ti mes in E and D, but not
i n P (or J). The single exceptional occurrence of the word "prophet" in P
l n t he Torah, out s i de of P, t hey are me nt i one d onl y in t he ol d p o e m " The Bl es s i ng of
Mo s e s " in De ut 33:8.
The s ol e pos s i bl e exc ept i on is t he P e p i s o d e of t he Red Sea, in whi c h Mo s e s hol ds hi s
s t af f as he r ai ses hi s hand (the s a me hand or t he ot her one?) over t he s ea as it spl i t s.
(Exod 7:1) uses the word figuratively, and it refers to the Hi gh Priest Aaron
hi msel f ! Judges, too, are never ment i oned in P (as opposed to D, whi ch
says: go to the priest and the judges in matters of law). In P, only the
Aaroni d priests have access to the Uri m and Tummi m. In P, all other, non-
Aaroni d Levites are not priests. In P, atonement for sin is to be achieved
only by means of sacrifices that are brought to the Aaroni d priests. It is not
achieved by mere repentance or t hrough divine mercy. Indeed, in P the
words "mercy, " "grace," "repentance, " and "ki ndness" (hesed) never occur.
Thi s is more than a point of terminology. P not only lacks the terms
that express divine mercy; its stories as wel l convey the merci f ul side of God
far less than the other sources' stories do. For exampl e, in the story of the
scouts whom Moses sends into the land, in the J version God says He will
destroy the people and start over wi th a new nation descended f rom Moses;
but Moses intercedes, God relents, and the divine sentence is commut ed to
forty years in the wi l derness instead. But in P there is no such entreaty and
relenting; God si mpl y declares the forty-year sentence, and that is that. In
both termi nol ogy and narrative, P characterizes God as acting according to
justice more than as acting according to mercy. If one wi shes to be forgiven
for an offense, one cannot si mpl y be sorry; one must bri ng a sacrifice to the
priest. As wi th the absence of angel s and prophets, in P the priesthood is
the only sanctioned path to God.
In D, on the other hand, all Levites are priests. P regularly refers to "the
priests and the Levites" (that is, as two separate groups) whi l e D just as reg-
ularly refers to "the Levitical priests" (that is, as a single group).
Further conveyi ng the idea in P that priests are the only channel to
God, there are no blatant ant hropomorphi sms in P. In J, God wal ks in the
garden of Eden, personally makes Adam' s and Eve's first clothing, person-
ally closes Noah' s ark and smel l s Noah' s sacrifice. In E, God wrestles wi th
Jacob and stands on the crag at Meribah as Moses strikes it and water
comes out. And in E and perhaps J as well, Moses actually sees the f orm of
God at Sinai/Horeb. In P there is nothi ng so direct and physical as this. In
P such things are metaphorical, as when the Egyptian magi ci ans say that a
pl ague is "the finger of God, " or they are mysterious, as when humans are
said to be created "in the i mage of God, " whi ch may or may not mean
somethi ng physical.
d) Numbers
Ages, dates, measurement s, numbers, order, and precise instructions are
an obvious, maj or concern in P. There is nothi ng even nearly comparabl e
in degree in J, E, or D.
One of the most compel l i ng arguments for the existence of the source docu-
ments is the fact that, when the sources are separated f rom one another, we
can read each source as a fl owi ng, sensible text. That is, the story conti nues
wi thout a break. One of the primary purposes of this book is to demonstrate
this fact. One can read the texts and see that, when we separate the two flood
stories and read each of t hem (J and P, Genesi s 6- 9) , for example, each
reads as a complete, conti nuous story. And we can observe this kind of con-
tinuity through at least 90 percent of the text f rom Genesi s to Deuteronomy.
Specifically, the combi ned JE text that was assembl ed by RJE reads as a
f l owi ng narrative, wi th only an occasional gap. When interrupted by mate-
rial f rom P or other sources, it picks up after the interruption where it had
left off. The P text l i kewi se is a f l owi ng narrative, wi th only an occasional
lacuna. Wi thi n JE, each of its source texts, J and E, fl ows sensibly much of
the ti me as well, but not always. It appears that RJE was wi l l i ng to make
cuts in his received texts (J and E) to a far greater degree than was R in his
received texts (JE, P, D, and other, smaller texts).
Thi s hi gh degree of narrative continuity in P also wei ghs against sup-
pl ementary versions of the hypothesis, in whi ch some scholars propose that
P was never an i ndependent document. They argue that P was rather com-
posed around the JE text as a suppl ement to it. The narrative f l ow of P is
entirely contrary to these models.
One mi ght object that the scholar has simply divided the text in such a
way as to produce this result. But that is not possible. So muc h of the text
fl ows smoothl y in this way that it is not possible that any scholar could have
constructed it to do so whi l e keepi ng all the evidence consistently wi thi n
sources. The scholar woul d still have to keep all the sources' similar ver-
sions of c ommon stories (known as "doublets") separated. The scholar
woul d still have to keep all the characteristic termi nol ogy of each source
wi thi n the passages attributed to that particular source. The scholar woul d
still have to keep all the linguistic evidence for the stages of Hebrew intact,
all the occurrences of the divine name consistent wi thi n sources, and all the
other lines of evidence i ntactal l of this whi l e produci ng stories that f l ow
smoothly. I submi t that no such phenomenal l y consistent results woul d be
possible to construct.
See Wi l l i am H. C. Pr opp, " The Pri estl y Sour c e Rec over ed Int act ?" Vetus Testamentum
4 6 ( 1 996) : 45 8- 47 8, f or bi bl i ogr aphy and t r e a t me nt of t he a r g u me nt s on t hi s mat t er. To
my mi nd, Pr opp' s a r g u me n t s and e v i de nc e we i g h def i ni t i vel y a g a i ns t s uppl e me nt a r y
hy pot he s e s .
When di sti ngui shed f rom one another, the individual sources each have
specific affinities wi th particular portions of the Bible. D has wel l -known
parallels of wordi ng wi th the book of Jeremiah. P has such parallels wi th
the book of Ezekiel. J and E are particularly connected wi th the book of
Hosea. Thi s is not si mpl y a matter of a coi nci dence of subject matter in
these parallel texts. It is a proper connecti on of l anguage and views between
particular sources and particular prophetic works.
a) Jeremiah and D
In treating the book of Jeremiah, it is customary to di sti ngui sh the poetic
portions of the book f rom the prose. When we do so, we find that D has
marked connecti ons to both the poetry and the prose of the book of
In the poetry, there are at least forty-five occurrences of terms or
phrases that are characteristic of D and/or the Deuteronomi sti c history. For
4- f rom the smallest to the bi ggest
stubborn and rebellious
early rain and late rain in its ti me
grain, wi ne, oil, herd, flock
they left me
go after Baal (or: other gods)
[domen] on the face of the field
ci rcumci se your heart
they went after empti ness and became empty
For di s c us s i on, hi st ory of s c hol ar s hi p, and bi bl i ogr aphy on t he r el at i ons hi p be t we e n
Jer emi ah and t he De ut e r o no mi s t i c hi story, s e e Jack R. Lundb o m, " Jer emi ah, Book of , "
Anchor Bible Dictionary, vol . 3, pp. 7 06 - 7 2 1 ; R. E. Fr i edman, " The De ut e r o no mi s t i c
Sc hool , " in Fortunate the Eyes That See: Essays in Honor of David Noel Freedman in Celebra-
tion of His Seventieth Birthday, ed. A. Beck et al. ( Gr and Rapi ds, Ml : Ee r dma ns , 1995) , pp.
7 0 - 8 0 ; L. G. Pe r due and B. W. Kovacs , eds . , A Prophet to the Nations: Essays in Jeremiah
Studies ( Wi nona Lake, IN: Ei s enbr auns , 1984) ; Loui s St ul ma n, The Prose Sermons of the
Book of Jeremiah ( At l ant a: Sc hol ar s Pr ess, 1986) ; S. Mowi nc ke l , Zur Komposition des
BuchesJeremia ( Os l o, 1914) ; and Mowi nc kel , Prophecy and Tradition ( Os l o, 1 946) .
For a l engt hi er t r e a t me nt of t he s e t ext s, even l i mi t i ng t he c a s e s t o l a ng ua g e t hat
oc c ur s onl y in Jer emi ah and Dtr and no whe r e el se in t he He br e w Bi bl e, and f ur t her limit-
i ng t he s e c a s e s stri ctl y t o o c c ur r e nc e s of s uc h l a ng ua g e t hat are i nt egral t o t hei r poet i c
c ont ext s and not s u s p e c t o f havi ng been a dde d secondar i l y, s e e Fr i edman, " The Deut er -
o no mi s t i c Sc hool , " pp. 7 6 - 7 8.
When we exami ne the prose of Jeremiah, we find an even more perva-
sive array of parallels with the l anguage of D and the Deuteronomi sti c his-
tory. Thirty chapters of prose in Jeremiah have terms and phrases that are
characteristic of Dtr. For example:
wi th all my heart and all my soul
brought t hem out f rom the land of Egypt, f rom the iron f urnace
all the array of the skies
and it will be, i f you listen to Y HWH
they left me and burnt i ncense to other gods
on every hi gh hill and under every attractive tree
obstinacy of heart
an alien, an orphan, or a wi dow
4- [God's] name is called on this house
cast t hem out f rom before His face
your carcass will become food for every bird of the skies and for
the ani mal s of the earth, wi th no one maki ng t hem afraid
I call wi tness
here, I' m bri ngi ng a bad thi ng
everyone who hears it: his two ears will ri ng
fire has ignited in my anger
b) Ezekiel and P
Parallels between P and the book of Ezekiel are at least as noticeable and
striking as those between D and Jeremiah. For example:
The P list of bl essi ngs and curses in Leviticus 26 promi ses bless-
i ngs "if you will go by my laws, and i f you will observe my com-
mandment s, and you will do them" (26:3), and it promi ses curses
"if you will reject my laws, and i f your souls will scorn my judg-
ments so as not to do all my commandment s" (26:14). Ezekiel
indicts the people, drawi ng on those words: "You did not go by my
laws, and you did not do my j udgment s" (5:7).
The P curses i ncl ude "you will eat your sons' flesh" (26:29).
Ezekiel threatens, "fathers will eat sons" (5:10).
Ezekiel' s warni ngs in that verse also use the word zrh for scatter-
ing, whi ch l i kewi se occurs in the P curse passage (Lev 26:33);
a n
Ezekiel uses the word s'r for a remnant in that verse, whi ch occurs
in the P context as wel l (Lev 26:36,39).
P threatens: "and I shall let loose the wi l d ani mal among you, and
it will bereave you . . . and I shall bri ng a sword over you . . . and
I shall let an epi demi c go among you" (Lev 26:22,25). And Ezekiel
says: "I shall let loose hunger and wi l d ani mal , and they will be-
reave you, and epi demi c and blood will pass through you, and
I shall bri ng a sword over you" (5:17).
In the P version of the exodus f rom Egypt, Y HWH says to Moses,
"I shall bri ng you to the land that I raised my hand to give to
Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, and I shall give it to you"
(Exod 6:8). In the book of Ezekiel, Y HWH says to Ezekiel,
"I brought t hem to the land that I raised my hand to give to
them" (Ezek 20:28; see also 20:6,42).
There are other matchi ng el ements between these two passages,
Exodus 6 and Ezekiel 20. Both have references to YHWH' s mak-
i ng Hi msel f known (in the Niphal f orm of the root yd'Exod 6:3;
Ezek 20:5). Both have references to God' s outstretched arm
(Exod 6:6; Ezek 20:33-34).
In P, God charges the priests "to di sti ngui sh between the holy
and the secular, and between the i mpure and the pure" (Lev 10:10).
In Ezekiel, God criticizes the priests because they "have not dis-
ti ngui shed between holy and secular and have not made known
[the difference] between the i mpure and the pure" (Ezek 22:26).
For more exampl es, see Exod 6: 6- 7
a n
d cf. Ezek 20:6, 9;
s e e
Lev 26:21
and cf. Ezek 20:8; and see Lev 26:43 and cf. Ezek 20:13,16,24.
Especially noteworthy is the recent demonstrati on by Wi l l i am Propp
that a passage in Ezelciel quotes a passage f rom P that is divided as it stands
in the combi ned text of the Torah.
c) Hosea and J and E
Hosea, meanwhi l e, when speaki ng about Jacob and Esau, cites only J and E,
but nothi ng of the P version of those events:
In the womb he "heeled" his brother,
and by his mi ght he f ought wi th God,
and he f ought wi th an angel and was able;
Se e not e 5.
he cried, and he was gracious to hi m.
He f ound hi m at Beth-El,
and there He spoke wi th hi m.
(Hos 12:4-5)
The connecti on between the womb and the grabbi ng of his brother' s heel
is wel l known f rom J (Gen 25: 24-26). The fi ghti ng wi th God
and bei ng
"able" connects to an equally well known passage f rom E (Gen 32:25-31).
The reference to fi ndi ng hi m at Beth-El and especially referri ng to speaki ng
"with" (Hebrew 'irn) hi m calls to mi nd the J version of the story of the reve-
lation to Jacob (Gen 28:13-16, 19).
1 0
Hosea also refers to the Israelites' heresy at Baal Peor (Hos 9:10). Thi s
event is known f rom J (Num 25:1-5). Onl y J refers to it as "Baal Peor." The
P version of this event speaks of "the matter of Peor" (Num 25:18 [twice];
31:16) but never uses the name Baal Peor.
d) J and the Court History
A vast series of connecti ons exists between J and the Court History of
David, whi ch takes up nearly all of the book of 2 Samuel . Thi s has been
observed by many scholars duri ng the past century. They have offered a
variety of explanations for it, i ncl udi ng that the two texts were written by
the same author, or that one text imitated the other or was i nf l uenced by the
other. I have presented the evidence that J and the Court History, as well as
some texts in Joshua, Judges, and 1 Samuel , were written by the same
author. I refer those who are interested in the broader treatment of this
matter, with bibliography and the evidence and arguments for the c ommon
The poet i c paral l el be t we e n its bei ng a f i ght wi t h Go d and, at t he s a me t i me, wi t h an
angel c o r r e s po nds t o t he E t ext in Ge ne s i s , in whi c h Jacob f i ght s wi t h "a ma n, " but t hen
is na me d Israel , whi c h is expl ai ned as me a ni ng " f i ght s wi t h Go d . " And Jacob n a me s t he
pl ace Peni-EI, whi c h is expl ai ned as me a ni ng " f ac e of Go d , " be c a us e , he says, "I ' ve s een
Go d f ac e- t o- f ac e. " The hy pos t a s i s of Go d t hr oug h t he f or m of a ma n is an angel . See my
Commentary on the Torah, pp. 63 and 112; and The Hidden Face of God, pp. 9- 1 3 .
" Al a n Jenks a r g ue s t hat t hi s p a s s a g e in Ho s e a d o e s not refer speci f i cal l y t o J or E, but
rat her t o c o mmo n epi c t r adi t i ons behi nd t ho s e t wo s our c e s . Jenks, The Elohist and North
Israelite Traditions ( At l ant a: Sc hol ar s Pr ess, 1 977) , p. 133. He b a s e s t hi s a r g u me nt on dif-
f e r e nc e s of det ai l : he s ays t hat Jacob " he e l e d" hi s br ot her out s i de t he wo mb , not "in t he
wo mb " in J; and t he me nt i on of cr yi ng has no r ef er ent in t he J story. In t he f i rst pl ace, in J
Jacob d o e s in f act c o me out o f t he w o mb al r eady hol di ng Es au' s h e e l t h a t is, he wa s
al ready g r a s pi ng it f r o m " i n" t he wo mb . But mo r e t o t he poi nt , t he t ext in Ho s e a is poetry,
and we c a nno t read it wi t h t he speci f i ci t y of t he pr os e a c c o u nt s in Ge ne s i s . A poe t ' s
i ma g e s need not be rest ri ct ed t o t he pr os e text t hat is t hei r s our c e . No ne t he l e s s , t he
det ai l s t hat are i ncl uded in t hi s text do poi nt t o J and E as bei ng its s our c e s , and t hey do
not poi nt t o P or D.
authorshi p of } and the Court History, to my The Hidden Book in the Bible."
For the purpose of this present collection of evidence, I simply note the fact
that it is possible to observe a si ngul ar connecti on between the Court His-
tory and J, whereas there is no such connecti on wi th E, P, or D. Thi s is fur-
ther strong evidence that J was originally an i ndependent source.
The sources each have connecti ons to specific ci rcumstances in history.
And they have identifiable relationships with each other.
a) J and E and the Kingdoms of Judah and Israel
From 922 to 722, Israel was divided into two ki ngdoms: the ki ngdom of
Israel in the north and the ki ngdom of Judah in the south. J has numerous
el ements that connect it with Judah, and E has numerous el ements that
connect it with Israel:
In J Abr aham lives in Hebron/Mamre (Gen 13:18; 18:1). Hebron was
Judah's capital.
In J the scouts whom Moses sends see only Hebron and other locations
in Judah; they see nothi ng of what became the northern ki ngdom of Israel
(Num 17- 20, 22- 24) .
In that story, the sole scout who has a positive vi ew is Caleb. The
Calebite territory was located in Judah and included Hebron.
In Jand only in JJudah is a significant figure. There is a narrative
about hi m, the story of Judah and Tamar (Genesis 38). It ends wi th the birth
of Peres, ancestor of the clan f rom whi ch the ki ngs of Judah were traced.
Jacob's deathbed bl essi ng favors Judah and promi ses his descendants the
scepter. Judah's wi f e is bat sua' (daughter of Shua), paralleling the name of
the wi f e of David (bat seba'Bathsheba) and mother of all the ki ngs of
Judah through her son Sol omon.
1 2
In J Judah is the brother who saves
Joseph f rom their other brothers' plans to kill hi m (Gen 37: 26-27; 42:22); it
is Judah who assures Jacob that he will see that Benj ami n will safely go to
and return f rom Egypt (Gen 43:8-9), and it is Judah who speaks for his
brothers and defends Benj ami n to Joseph in Egypt (44:18-34).
" A char t in part 4 of t he Appe ndi x l i sts t went y wo r d s and phr a s e s t hat oc c ur onl y in
t he s e t ext s and no whe r e el s e in t he He br e w Bi bl e, pl us over t went y mo r e t hat o c c ur di s-
pr opor t i onat el y in t he s e t ext s; pp. 379- 387.
bat Sua' and bat Seba' are s o si mi l ar t hat t he t wo n a me s are c o nf u s e d wi t h e ac h ot her
in 1 Chr 3:5.
Other el ements in } connect with the monarchy of Judah. In J God
promi ses Abraham the land "f rom the river of Egypt to the great river, the
river Euphrates" (Gen 15:18). Thi s matches the borders attributed to David,
first ki ng of Judah. In J the root of the name Rehoboam (rhb) occurs six
times. (It never occurs in E.) Rehoboam was the first ki ng of Judah as a sep-
arate lcingdom f rom the northern ki ngdom of Israel.
Other el ements in J relate to the twelve brothers who become the epony-
mous ancestors of the twelve tribes of Israel. In J the stories of the births and
nami ngs of the brothers cover only the first four: Reuben, Si meon, Levi, and
Judah. That is, it reaches only as far as Judah! Moreover, only Judah, out of
these four, actually survived as a communi t y wi th a land of its own. Al so, in
J there is a report that Reuben has sex with his father Jacob's concubi ne;
and in J there is a story in whi ch Si meon and Levi massacre the men of
Shechem. These acts are singled out in Jacob's deathbed bl essi ngs when he
bypasses these three oldest brothers and promi ses the monarchy to Judah.
The J story of the massacre at Shechem also casts a negative light on
the acquisition of the city of Shechem. Shechem was the capital of the
northern ki ngdom of Israel, built by Jeroboam I, the ki ng who had rebelled
against Judah.
In J there is more about Jacob and Esau than in other sources. And in J
Esau is identified as the ancestor of Edom. In J there is also a list of the
ki ngs of Edom (Genesis 36). And J alone has an account of Israel's en-
counter wi th Edom duri ng the j ourney f rom Egypt to the promi sed land
(Num 20:14-20). Judah bordered Edom; Israel did not. And it is reported in
Samuel and Kings that David conquered Edom and that it remai ned subju-
gated to Judah until the rei gn of Jehoram.
In J the ark is important (Num 10:33-36; 14:41-44), but in E it is never
menti oned. The ark was located in Judah, not in Israel.
Accordi ng to 1 Kings, the symbol s of God' s presence in Judah were
gol den cherubs placed over the ark, whereas the symbol s of that presence
in Israel were two gol den calves, erected by Jeroboam I. Cherubs are men-
tioned in J but not in E. And in J, in the Ten Commandment s, the com-
mandment against idols is stated as forbi ddi ng mol ten gods (Exod 34:17).
The gol den calves of Israel were mol ten and are thus forbidden; but the
gol den cherubs of Judah were not mol ten. (They were carved f rom wood
and then gold plated.)
In E, meanwhi l e, the connections are disproportionately with the north-
ern ki ngdom of Israel. And, more specifically, they relate to the Levites of
the priesthood of Shiloh. Thus:
In E Israel acquires its territory at the city of Shechem, the future capi-
ta] nf TcrQf^l liv Q nnrrliGCP r!i+lnpr t-tiin t^I
In E the stories of the births and nami ngs of the brothers do not
i ncl ude Judah (or Reuben, Si meon, and Levi), but they do i ncl ude all the
tribes that were part of the northern ki ngdom of Israel: Dan, Naphtali, Gad,
Asher, Issachar, Zebul un, Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benj ami n. And in E the
birthright is awarded to Josephand since the birthright is a double por-
tion, this results in two tribes bei ng created f rom Joseph: Ephrai m and
Manasseh, whi ch were the two largest tribes of the ki ngdom of Israel. Fur-
ther, in E Ephrai m is favored over Manasseh (Gen 48:13-20); Ephrai m was
Jeroboam' s tribe and frequently the domi nant tribe of Israel, so much so
that Ephrai m is somet i mes used in the Hebrew Bible as a euphemi sm for
the entire northern ki ngdom. Shechem, whi ch was built by Jeroboam, was
in the hills of Ephraim. And in E there is a pun: when Joseph is awarded
the doubl e portion, it is referred to as "one shoul der over your brothers"
(Gen 48:22), and the word for shoul der there is sekem (i.e. Shechem).
Shechem is identified in the book of Joshua (24:32) as the traditional
burial site of Joseph, and it is in E that the story appears in whi ch Joseph
asks to be buri ed back in Canaan, not in Egypt. E then contains the notice
in the exodus story that the people take Joseph's bones wi th t hem when
they leave Egypt.
Northern Israel's first king, Jeroboam I, is associated with another city,
Penuel, whi ch he is reported to have built (1 Kgs 12:25). E contains the story
of Jacob's fight wi th God, whi ch concl udes in the nami ng of the place
where it happens: Penuel (Gen 32:31).
In E Reuben is the one who saves Joseph f r om their other brothers'
plans to kill hi m (Gen 37:22), and it is Reuben who assures Jacob that he
will see that Benj ami n will safely go to and return f rom Egypt (Gen 42:37).
Whereas J is favorable to Judah's royal fami l y of David, Sol omon,
and Rehoboam, E contains el ements that are implicitly critical of them.
Sol omon established work-compani es (Hebrew missim), a policy of re-
quired labor for the ki ng, whi ch so of f ended the northern tribes that it is
identified in the book of Ki ngs as a reason for their break wi th Judah and
formati on of the northern ki ngdom of Israel when Rehoboam came to the
throne: their first act of rebellion is to stone the head of the work-compa-
ni es (1 Kgs 12:18). E reflects this pointedly, as it describes the Egyptians'
ensl avement of Israel in the words "they set commanders of work-compa-
nies (missim) over it" (Exod 1:11).
Joshua, whether historical or legendary, was understood to have come
f rom the tribe of Ephrai m. And E develops the special standi ng of Joshua
as Moses' successor (Exod 17: 9-14; 24:13; 32:17; 33:11; Num 11:28; Deut
31:14-15, 23), whi l e J never menti ons hi m.
E contains a corpus of law, the Covenant Code (Exodus 21-23). Thi s
suggests that E comes f rom priests since law codes in the Hebrew Bible
otherwise come exclusively f rom priests (D, P, and Ezekiel).
Other el ements of E conf i rm this priestly connecti on and point to a
particular northern priestly group. The priests of Shiloh have a specific rela-
tionship with the northern ki ngdom of Israel and wi th E. Thei r place in the
Jerusalem priesthood in Judah suf f ered when Ki ng Sol omon expelled their
chi ef priest, Abiathar, and gave the chi ef priesthood solely to an Aaroni d
priest. The prophet Ahi j ah f rom Shi l oh instigated Jeroboam' s rebellion
and f ormati on of the northern ki ngdom (1 Kgs 11:29-39). Later, however,
Jeroboam failed to make these excluded Levites the sole priests of his new
ki ngdom. Following Jeroboam' s establ i shment of the gol den calves, Ahi j ah
of Shi l oh condemned his dynasty (1 Kgs 14). The E story of the gol den calf
corresponds to these events: by saying that Aaron made the gol den calf at
Horeb, it denigrates both the Aaroni d religious establ i shment of Jerusalem
and the golden-calf religious establ i shment of northern Israel. It is the
Levites in this E story, however, who are zeal ous to destroy the golden-calf
Whi l e J forbi ds mol t en gods, whi ch can throw the gol den calves
into questi on, E forbids "gods of silver and gods of gold" (Exod 20:23),
whi ch l i kewi se may apply to both the northern and southern rel igious
establ i shments.
And in E, when Moses sees the gol den calf he shatters the tablets that
he had brought down f rom the mountai n, and there is no report of his get-
ting a second set of tablets. Thi s woul d questi on whether there are actually
authentic tablets in the ark in Judah.
In E there is also another story in whi ch Aaron is demeaned. Aaron
and Mi ri am speak against Moses regardi ng his Cushi te wife, but God per-
sonally sides with Moses against Aaron and declares that Moses' experience
of God is superior to that of Aaron or any other prophet. In both the golden-
calf story and the Cushi te wi f e story, Aaron acknowl edges Moses' superior
standing by addressi ng hi m as "my lord."
b) P and the Period Following the Fall
of the Kingdom of Israel
P has el ements that connect it to the ti me of Hezeki ah, ki ng of Judah (715
687 BCE):
P makes distinctions between Aaroni d priests and all other Levites.
Thi s distinction is of t remendous i mportance i n P. It comes up repeatedly
in the P narrative and law codes. Onl y the Aaroni ds may serve as priests; all
other Levites serve as lesser clergy. The book of Chroni cl es reports that this
distinction was a devel opment of the rei gn of Hezeki ah (2 Chr 31:2). More-
over, this distinction appears in a source of the book of Chroni cl es that was
composed duri ng the rei gn of Hezeki ah, whi ch argues especially for its
From the ti me of Wel l hausen, this innovation was widely hel d in
scholarship to derive f rom the prophet Ezekiel (especially Ezekiel 44), but
this was not correct. Ezekiel does not distinguish Aaroni d priests f rom the
other Levites. He specifically di sti ngui shes one particular group of priests,
the Zadokites, not Aaroni ds. Moreover, since it has now been shown lin-
guistically that the Hebrew of P precedes that of the book of Ezekiel, it is no
l onger possible to argue that this central innovation in P is based on that
prophetic book.
The separation of Aaroni d priests f rom the Levites is a
Hezeki an event.
Thi s is compl ement ed by the other maj or mark of P: centralization of
worshi p. In J and E, people sacrifice at various locations. But in P, one is
permi tted to sacrifice only at the Tabernacle and nowhere else on earth.
This, too, was a Hezeki an policy, el iminating all places of sacrificial worshi p
outside the Templ e in Jerusalem. Kings and Chroni cl es coalesce on this
point: there was no centralization before Hezeki ah. The merger of central-
ization wi th the divisions of priesthood wi thi n the Levites is associated with
only one ki ng of Israel or Judah, and that is Hezeki ah. (D has centralization
but does not have the divisions of the priesthood; and, in any case, other
wel l -known aspects of D connect it to the rei gn of Josiah, Hezeki ah' s great-
Onl y in P is the law of centralization expressed in terms of the Taber-
nacle. P devotes more space and attention to the Tabernacle (also called the
Tent of Meeting) than to any other subject. The construction of the Taber-
1 3
See Bar uch Hal per n, " Sa c r e d Hi st or y and I deol ogy: Chr oni c l e s ' The ma t i c St ruc-
t ur e I ndi c a t i o ns of an Earlier Sour c e , " in The Creation of Sacred Literature, ed. R. E.
Fr i edman (Berkel ey: Univ. of Cal i f orni a Pr ess, 1981), pp. 35- 54; H. C. M. Wi l l i ams on, Israel
in the Books of Chronicles ( Cambr i dge , Engl and, 1977) , pp. 1 20- 1 25.
Se e not e 1 above , es peci al l y Hurvi t z, " Evi de nc e o f La ng ua g e in Dat i ng t he Pri estl y
Code , " ) pp. 24- 5 6; Hurvi t z, Linguistic Study of the Relationship Between the Priestly Source
and the Book of Ezekiel. For addi t i onal e v i de nc e t hat P had t o pr e c e de Ezeki el , s e e Pr opp,
" The Pri est l y Sour c e Re c ove r e d I nt act ?" in whi c h he s h o ws t hat a p a s s a g e in Ezeki el
quo t e s a p a s s a g e f r om P t hat is di vi ded in t he c o mb i n e d t ext of t he Torah; Risa Levitt-
Kohn, "A Pr ophet Like Mo s e s ? Ret hi nki ng Ezeki el ' s Rel at i ons hi p t o t he Tor ah, " Zeitschrift
fur die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 1 1 4 ( 2002) : 236- 254, s h o wi ng t hat t he paral l el s of
t e r ms and phr a s e s in P and Ezeki el ref l ect Ezeki el ' s d e p e n d e n c e on P and not t he reverse;
R. E. Fr i edman, The Exile and Biblical Narrative (At l ant a: Sc hol ar s Pr ess, 1981), pp. 6 1 - 6 4 ;
Fr i edman, Who Wrote the Bible? pp. 1 68- 27 0.
nacle and related objects takes up two very large sections of P (Exodus 25-31
and 35-39). Af ter its dedication in the last chapter of Exodus, all revelation
takes place there. Sacrifice and various other practices can be perf ormed
there and nowhere else (Lev 1:3,5; 3:2,8,13; 4: 5-7, 14-18; 6:9,19,23; 14:11;
16:1-34; 17: 1-9; Num 5:17; 6:10; 19:4). And P says more than a dozen
times: the performance of these commandments at the Tabernacle is the law for-
ever (Exod 27:21; 28:43; 30:21; Lev 3:17; 6:11; 10:9; 16:29,34; 17:7; 24:3,8;
Num 18:23; 19:10). Thi s view in P of the necessity of the Tabernacle' s pres-
ence forever further supports the linguistic and historical connecti ons of P
to the era in whi ch the first Templ e was standing in Jerusalem. Scholars i n
the ni neteenth century thought that the Tabernacle was a fiction, but in the
twentieth century and in the present century archaeological evidence and
internal biblical evidence mutual l y pointed to the historicity of the Taber-
nacle in anci ent Israel.'
I assembl ed evidence that further supported this
concl usi on and that indicated that the Tabernacle was located in the first
Templ e in Jerusalem.
This, in turn, agreed wi th all the other evidence and
arguments that P was composed in the first Templ e period. It made no
sense at all to picture P bei ng composed in the postexilic, second Templ e
period, because P required all sacrifices and the other ceremoni es to be per-
f ormed only at the Tabernacle, foreverbut the Tabernacle no l onger existed
in that period!
Frank Mo o r e Cr os s , " The Pri estl y Taber nac l e, " Biblical Archaeologist 1 0 ( 1947) : 45 - 68;
Cr os s , Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic ( Cambr i dge : Har var d Univ. Pr ess, 1973); Cr os s ,
From Epic to Canon ( Bal t i mor e: Johns Hopki ns Univ. Pr ess, 1998) , pp. 84- 95; Y. Ahar oni ,
" The S o l o mo ni c Templ e, t he Taber nacl e, and t he Ar ad Sanct uar y, " in Orient and Occident:
Essays Presented to Cyras H. Cordon on the Occasion of His Sixty-fifth Birthday, ed. H. A.
Hof f ne r Jr. ( Neuki r c hen: Neuki r chener , 1973) ; Me n a h e m Har an, " Shi l oh and Jer us al em:
The Or i gi n of t he Pri estl y Tradi t i on in t he Pe nt at e uc h, " Journal of Biblical Literature 81
( 1962) : 1 4 - 2 4 ; Har an, " The Pri estl y I ma g e of t he Taber nac l e, " Hebrew Union College
Annual 36 (1965): 1 91 - 2 2 6; Har an, Temples and Temple Service in Ancient Israel ( Ne w York:
Oxf or d Uni v. Pr ess, 1 978) ; Mi c hael M. Ho ma n , To Your Tents, O Israel! ( Lei den: Brill,
2002) ; and s e e t he ci t at i ons in t he not e t hat f ol l ows t hi s one .
, 6
Thi s e v i de nc e , a r g ume nt a t i o n, and bi bl i ogr aphy a ppe a r in R. E. Fr i edman, " The
Taber nac l e in t he Te mpl e , " Biblical Archaeologist 43 (1980): 241 - 248; The Exile and Biblical
Narrative ( At l ant a: Sc hol ar s Pr ess, 1981) , pp. 4 8 - 6 1 ; Who Wrote the Bible?, 2d ed. ( San
Fr anci sco: Har pe r SanFr anc i s c o, 1 996) , pp. 1 7 4- 1 87 ; " Taber nac l e, " Anchor Bible Dictionary
( Ne w York: Doubl eday, 1 992) , vol . 6, pp. 2 9 2 - 3 00. The onl y c ha l l e ng e t o t hi s pos i t i on as
of t hi s dat e has c o me f r om Vi ct or Hur owi t z , " The For m and Fate of t he Taber nac l e:
Ref l ec t i ons on a Rec ent Pr opos al , " Je wi s h Quarterly Review 86 (1995): 1 27- 1 51 . Hur owi t z ' s
a r g ume nt s ( whi ch, unf ort unat el y, wer e mar r ed by s o me i mma t ur e di s c our t es y) have been
cri t i ci zed by Mi c hael M. Ho ma n , To Your Tents, O Israeli pp. 1 67 - 1 7 3. See al s o my c o m-
me nt on o ne of Hur o wi t z ' s me t ho do l o g i c a l er r or s in R. E. Fr i edman, "An Essay on
Me t ho d, " in Le-David Maskil, ed. R. E. Fr i edman and Wi l l i am Henr y Pr opp ( Wi nona Lake,
IN: Ei s enbr auns , 2003) .
The same may be said of the ark, tablets, cherubs, and Ur i m and
Thummi m. They are all promi nent in P but were associated only wi th the
first Jerusalem Templ e, never wi th the second, postexilic Temple.
c) D and the Period of Josiah
D has el ements that connect it to the rei gn of Josiah, ki ng of Judah
( 640- 609 BCE).
Deuteronomy is part of a seven-book work that tells the history of Israel
f rom Moses to the exile in Babyl on (Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2
Samuel , 1 and 2 Kings). Thi s work is called the Deuteronomi sti c history
because it constructs the fate of Israel in each period by the standards of
Deuteronomy: did the people and their ki ngs follow the commandment s i n
Deuteronomy or not? The story that begi ns with Moses cul mi nates in Ki ng
Josiah in a number of ways:
In D it is said about Moses, "a prophet did not rise again in Israel like
Moses. " In Kings it is said about Josiah, "after hi m none rose like hi m"
(2 Kgs 23:25). Thi s expression, "none rose like hi m, " is applied to no one
else i n the Hebrew Bible.
In D, Moses says, "love YHWH, your God, with all your heart and wi th
all your soul and wi th all your mi ght " (Deut 6:5). In Ki ngs, it is said about
Josiah that he alone turned to Y HWH "with all hi s heart and wi th all his
soul and wi th all his mi ght " (2 Kgs 23:25). Thi s threefold expression occurs
nowhere else in the Hebrew Bible.
In D, Moses instructs that, i f a matter of law is too difficult, one shoul d
inquire (drs) what to do via a priest or j udge at the chosen place (Deut
17:8-12). Onl y one ki ng in the Deuteronomi sti c history is ever pictured as
doi ng this: Josiah. He inquires via the priest Hilkiah at Jerusalem (2 Kgs
D also contains the Law of the King. Both the command about inquir-
i ng and the Law of the Ki ng require that one do exactly as one is instructed
and "not turn f rom the commandment , right or left" (Deut 17:11,20). Thi s
admoni ti on against turni ng right or left occurs in two other places in D and
two more places early in Deuteronomi sti c literature (Josh 1:7; 23:6). Onl y
1 7
A t ext de s c r i bi ng He z e ki ah as be i ng l i kewi se wi t hout paral l el us e s a di f f er ent phr as e:
" t her e wa s no ne like hi m" (2 Kgs 18:5). As Mo s h e Wei nf el d has poi nt ed out , He z e ki a h is
de s c r i be d in t e r ms rel at ed t o P whi l e Josi ah is de s c r i be d in t e r ms rel at ed t o D. Wei nf el d,
Deuteronomy 1-11, Anc hor Bi bl e ( Ne w York: Doubl eday, 1 991 ) , p. 65.
l 8
l l earned t hi s f r om Bar uch Hal per n.
one person in the Hebrew Bible is described as havi ng done this: Josiah
(2 Kgs 22:2).
At the end of D, Moses writes a "scroll of instruction" (seper hattdrah)
and instructs the Levites to set it at the side of the ark so it will be there as a
wi tness in f uture days (Deut 31:24-29). The scroll of Torah then is rarely
menti oned
1 9
and plays no part in the history until it is f ound by the priest
Hilkiah in the Templ e in Josiah's ti me (2 Kgs 22:8). The discovery of that
scroll is a turni ng point for Josiah and for Israel.
In D, Moses says to gather all the people and "in the place that He will
choose, you shall read this instruction in front of all Israel in their ears"
(Deut 31:11). Josiah s ummons all the people of Judah to the divinely chosen
place (Jerusalem), and "he read in their ears" the scroll of instruction (2 Kgs
23:2). (The i di om "to read in their ears" occurs in only one other place in
the Deuteronomi sti c history.)
Josiah's rel igious ref orms f ol l owi ng the reading of the scroll of the
Torah have connecti ons to D as well. Accordi ng to D, Moses burns the
gol den cal f and grinds it "thin as dust" (Deut 9:21). Accordi ng to
the Deuteronomi sti c history, at the site of Jeroboam' s gol den calf Josiah
burns the hi gh place "and made it thi n as dust" (2 Kgs 23:15). In the
Hebrew Bible, the phrase "thin as dust" occurs only in the Moses and
Josiah contexts. Moreover, when the Deuteronomi sti c history tells the story
of Jeroboam' s setting up the gol den calf, it says that a man of God comes
and procl ai ms that a ki ng descended f r om David will some day rui n that
altar, and it adds: "Josiah is his name! " (1 Kgs 13:2).
D says, "you shall demol i sh (nts) their altars . . . and burn (srp) their
Asherahs" (Deut 12:3). Josiah demol i shes (nts) altars and burns (srp) the
Asherah at Jerusalem (2 Kgs 23:6,12).
D prohibits maki ng a statue ("graven i mage, " Hebrew pesel) five ti mes
(Deut 4:16,23,25; 5:8; 27:15) and instructs the people to "burn the statues of
their gods in fire" (7:25). The word "statue" occurs rarely after that (only in
one story in Judges 17-18 and in one verse about statues among the Samar-
itans, 2 Kgs 17:41). Then Ki ng Manasseh puts a statue of Asherah at the
Temple. And it is Josiah who takes that statue out and burns it as com-
manded in Deut eronomy (2 Kgs 23:6).
1 9
l t is me nt i o ne d onl y in Josh 1:8; 8:31, 34; 23: 6. Two of t he s e are t he s a me p a s s a g e s
t hat ref er t o t ur ni ng t o ri ght or left.
Judg 7:3. Her e it der i ves f r om a s our c e , not f r o m t he De ut e r onomi s t i c hi st ori an hi m-
sel f , and t he i di om has a di f f er ent me a n i n g f r o m t he p a s s a g e s in D and Ki ngs.
Josiah, like Hezeki ah, establishes exclusive centralization of sacrifice in
Jerusalem. The di fference is that Josiah's centralization is described in the
terms and context of the ful l Deuteronomi sti c history that has preceded it,
as we have just seen. Hezeki ah' s ref orms are told in a completely different
set of terms.
Josiah's reforms are connected to instructions that are f ound in D; the
narrative of Josiah's maki ng those reforms is told in terms and phrases that
are typically f ound in D; and Josiah's ref orms are traced to the promul ga-
tion of a particular scroll, whi ch is identified by the same words as the scroll
that Moses writes i n D. Thi s interl ocking chain of connecti ons led to the
extremely widely hel d vi ew in schol arship that the scroll that was read in
Josiah's day was D. There have been a variety of conceptions: It may have
been just the law code that appears in Deut eronomy (chapters 12-26). It
may have been the law code and some of the material that precedes and
fol l ows it. It may have been written at the ti me of Josiah. It may have been
written earlier and then made public and authoritative in Josiah's time. But
there is little room for doubt that D is l i nked in some integral way to the
reign of Josiah.
d) P Follows JE
The P narrative follows the JE narrative in content and in the order of
episodes: creation, flood, Abraham' s mi grati on, Abraham' s parting f rom
his nephew Lot, the Abrahami c covenant, Hagar and Ishmael, the destruc-
tion of Sodom and Gomorrah, the birth of Isaac, Isaac' s marri age to
Rebekah, Abraham' s death, Jacob and Esau, Jacob's j ourney to Aram,
Jacob's offspri ng, Jacob's return to Canaan, the change of Jacob's name to
Israel, Esau' s offspri ng, Joseph in Egypt, Jacob's j ourney to Egypt, the
ensl avement of Israel in Egypt, God' s s ummoni ng of Moses, the pl agues,
the exodus, the Red Sea, manna, the theophany at Sinai/Horeb, the gi vi ng
of law at Sinai/Horeb, the departure f rom Sinai/Horeb, the spies, rebellion
in the wil derness, the heresy at Peor, and Moses' death.
Thi s fol l owi ng of the JE sequence of events is not si mpl y a matter of
the Redactor' s havi ng arranged the P episodes to mat ch those of JE. We can
know this because P, when read on its own, still fl ows as a conti nuous text.
If it were just a collection of rearranged sections, we woul d not expect it to
fl ow in this way.
2 1
The a c c o unt of He z e k i a h' s rei gn in f act c o me s f r o m a s e pa r a t e s our c e t hat t he
De ut e r o no mi s t i c hi st ori an us e d, not f r om t he hi st ori an hi ms el f . Thi s s our c e c ov e r s t he
ki ngs of Judah f r om S o l o mo n t o He z e ki ah. Se e not e 13.
Where P does have a change f rom what is in JE, we can see the reason
for the change in al most every case in terms of the consistent views of the
author of P. For example, P, wi thout exception, has no sacrifices until the
Tabernacle is established in Exodus 40. P therefore has no story to parallel
the J story of Cain and Abel , whi ch involves a sacrifice; P has no sacrifice at
the end of the fl ood story, t hough J does; P has no sacrifice in the Abra-
hami c covenant (Genesis 17), t hough J does (Genesis 15); P has no parallel
to the E story of the near-sacrifice of Isaac (and sacrifice of a ram). Al so, as
noted above, P has no channel s to God outside the priesthood, so it never
includes angels, dreams, or talking animals, and rarely has a blatant anthro-
pomorphi sm. P therefore has no parallel to the } story of the garden of
Eden, wi th God wal ki ng in the garden and maki ng the humans' clothes,
and with a talking snake. Nor does P have the JE Bal aam story wi th the talk-
ing ass. P does not have a story of the three angelic visitors to Abraham like
that in J. It does not have the story of Jacob wrestling wi th God or an angel
at Peni-El as in E, nor does it have a parallel to the J story of the angel in the
burni ng bush. P does not have the stories of the dreams of Joseph, the
drink steward, the baker, and the pharaoh in its account of Joseph.
P does not have the stories of the gol den calf or of Moses' Cushi te wife,
both of whi ch detract f rom Aaron, the ancestor of the priesthood accord-
ing to P.
P, on the other hand, has an account of Abraham' s purchase of the
burial cave of Machpel ah at Hebron, whi l e J and E do not; and this fits wi th
the fact that Hebron was a priestly, Aaroni d city (Josh 21:13). Thi s story
claims a legal hol di ng at Hebron.
Observi ng this consistent relationship between P and the prior sources
is a valuable support for the hypothesis in general, and it hel ps us to iden-
tify the steps by whi ch the sources were f ormed and the contexts of the
sources in history. It reveals that P was composed later than JE, that it was
composed by someone who was familiar wi th J and E in their combi ned
form, and it indicates that P was composed as an alternative to that JE ver-
sion of Israel's story. It was a retelling of the story in terms that were more
suitable to the Aaroni d priesthood.
Above all, the strongest evidence establishing the Documentary Hypothesis is
that several different lines of evidence converge. There are more than thirty
cases of doublets: stories or laws that are repeated in the Torah, someti mes
identically, more often wi th some di fferences of detail. The existence of so
many overlapping texts is noteworthy itself. But their mere existence is not
the strongest argument. One could respond, after all, that this is just a mat-
ter of style or narrative strategy. Similarly, there are hundreds of apparent
contradictions in the text, but one could respond that we can take t hem one
by one and fi nd some explanation for each contradiction. And, similarly,
there is the matter of the texts that consistently call the deity God whi l e
other texts consistently call God by the name YHWH, to whi ch one could
respond that this is si mpl y like calling someone somet i mes by his name
and somet i mes by his title. The powerf ul argument is not any one of these
matters. It is that all these matters converge. When we separate the doublets,
this also results in the resolution of nearly all the contradictions. And when
we separate the doublets, the name of God divides consistently in all but
three out of more than two thousand occurrences. And when we separate
the doublets, the termi nol ogy of each source remai ns consistent wi thi n that
source. (I listed twenty-four exampl es of such terms, whi ch are consistent
through nearly f our hundred occurrences, above, in the Termi nol ogy sec-
tion.) And when we separate the sources, this produces conti nuous narra-
tives that f l ow wi th only a rare break. And when we separate the sources,
this fits wi th the linguistic evidence, where the Hebrew of each source fits
consistently wi th what we know of the Hebrew in each period. And so on
for each of the six categories that precede this section. The name of God
and the doublets were the starting-points of the investigation into the for-
mati on of the Bible. But they were not, and are not, maj or arguments or evi-
dence in themsel ves. The most compel l i ng argument for the hypothesis is
that this hypothesi s best accounts for the fact that all this evidence of so
many ki nds comes together so consistently. To this day, no one known to
me who chal l enged the hypothesis has ever addressed this fact.
Thus, I did not list the doublets as one of the pri mary argument s for
the hypothesis above. The pri mary argument is rather that so many double
stories could line up wi th so many other categories of evidence, composed
of hundreds of points of data. Wi th that larger argument in mi nd, we can
now take account of the doublets and add t hem to the picture in this collec-
tion of evidence:
1. Creation. Gen 1:1-2:3 (P) and Gen 2:4^-25 (}).
2. Geneal ogy f rom Adam. Gen 4: 17- 26 (J) and 5: 1-28, 30-32 (Book
of Records).
3. The flood. Gen 6:5-8; 7: i - 5, 7, i 0, i 2, i 6b- 20, 22- 23;
8: 2b-3a, 6, 8-12, 13b, 20-22 (J) and 6: 9- 22; 7: 8-9, 11, 13-163, 21, 24;
8 : i - 2 a , 3 b - 5 , 7 , i 3 a , i 4 - i 9 ; 9 : 1 - 1 7 (P).
4. Geneal ogy f r om Shem. Gen 10: 21-31 (J and P) and 11: 10- 26
(Book of Records).
5. Abr aham' s mi grat i on. Ge n 12: 1- 43 (J) and 1 2 ^ - 5 (P).
6. Wi fe/si ster. Ge n 12: 10- 20 (J) and 20: 1- 18 (E) and 26: 6- 1 4 (J)-
7. Abr aham and Lot separate. Ge n i 3: 5, 7 - na , i 2b- i 4 (J) and
i 3 : 6, nb- i 2a (P).
8. The Abr ahami c covenant. Genesi s 15 (J, E, and R) and 17 (P).
9. Hagar and Ishmael . Gen 1 6: 1 - 2, 4- 1 4 (J) and 16: 3, 15-16 (P)
and 21 : 8- 1 9 (E). (Triplet)
10. Prophecy of Isaac' s bi rth. Gen 1 7: 1 6- 1 9 (P) and 18: 10- 14 (J).
11. Nami ng of Beer-sheba. Ge n 21: 22-31 (E) and 26: 15-33 (J).
12. Jacob, Esau, and the departure to the east. Gen 26: 34-35; 27: 46;
28: 1 - 9 (P)
a n
d 27:145; 28:10 (J).
13. Jacob at Beth-El. Gen 28: 10, 113, 13-16, 19 (J) and 2 8: nb - i 2 ,
1 7- 1 8, 20- 22 (E) and 35: 9-15 (P). (Triplet)
14. Jacob's twel ve sons. Gen 29: 32-35; 30: 1-24; 35: 16- 20 (JE) and
Gen 35: 23-26 (P).
15. Jacob's na me changed to Israel. Ge n 32:25-33 (E) and 35: 9- 10 (P).
16. Joseph sol d into Egypt. Ge n 37: 2b, 3b, 5- 11, 19- 20, 23, 25b- 27,
28b, 31-35; 39:1 (J) and 37: 33, 4, 12- 18, 21- 22, 24, 253, 283, 29- 30 (E).
17. Y HWH c ommi s s i ons Moses. Exod 3: 2- 43, 5, 7- 8, 1 9- 22; 4: 1 9- 203
(J) and 3: 1, 4b, 6, 9-18; 4: 1 - 1 8, 2ob- 2i a, 22- 23 (E)
a n
d 6: 2- 1 2 (P).
18. Moses, Phsr soh, 3nd the pl sgues. Exod 5:3-6:1; 7: 1 4- 1 8, 2ob- 2i ,
23- 29; 8: 3b- na, 1 6- 28; 9: 1- 7, 13- 34; 1 0: 1 - 1 9, 21 - 26, 28- 29;
11: 1-8 (E) and 7: 6- 1 3, 1 9- 203, 22; 8: 1-33, 12-15; 9: 8- 1 2 (P).
19. The Passover. Exod 1 2: 1 - 20, 28, 40- 50 (P) and 1 2: 21 - 27, 29- 36,
3 7 b - 3 9 (E).
20. The Red Se3. Exod 13: 21-22; 14: 53, 6, 93, 10b, 13-14, 19b, 20b,
21b, 24, 27b, 30-31 (J) and 14: 1- 4, 8, 9b, 103, 10c, 15-18, 213, 21c,
22- 23, 26- 273, 28- 29 (P).
21. Manna and quai l in the wi l derness. Exod 16: 2- 3, 6- 353 (P) and
Nu m 11: 4-34 (E).
22. Water f rom a rock at Meribah. Exod 17: 2-7 (E) and
Num 20:2-13 (P).
23. Theophany at Sinai/Horeb. Exod 19:1; 24: i 5b- i 8a (P) and
I 9: 2b- 9, i 6b- i 7, i 9; 20: 18-21 (E) and i 9: i o- i 6a , 18, 20-25 (J)-
24. The Ten Commandment s. Exod 20: 1-17 (R)
a n
d 34: 10-28 (J)
and Deut 5: 6-18 (D). (Triplet)
25. Kid in mother' s mi l k. Exod 23:19 (Covenant Code) and 34:26 (J)
and Deut 14:21 (D). (Triplet)
26. Forbidden ani mal s. Leviticus 11 (P) and Deut eronomy 14 (D).
27. Centralization of sacrifice. Leviticus 17 and Deut eronomy 12.
28. Holidays. Leviticus 23 (P) and Numbers 28- 29 (R)
a n
Deut 16: 1-17 P) - (Triplet)
29. The spies. Num 13:1-16, 21, 25-26, 32; 14: 13, 2-3, 5-10, 26-29 (P)
and 13:17-20, 22-24, 27-31, 33; 14: 1^4, 11-25, 39-45 (J).
30. Heresy at Peor. Num 25:1-5 (J) and 25: 6- 19 (P).
31. Appoi nt ment of Joshua. Num 27:12-23 (P) and
Deut 31:14-15,23 (E).
I have seen it cl ai med that such doublets are a c ommon phenomenon
in ancient Near Eastern literature. That is false. No such phenomenon
exists. Doublets are not c ommon in Near Eastern prose because there is no
Near Eastern prose, in the f orm of either history-writing or l ong fiction,
prior to these biblical texts. It is not even c ommon in Near Eastern poetry.
The poetic text that comes closest to the qualities of the biblical text that we
are di scussi ng here is the Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Epic of Gilgamesh is a
composi te of several sources. It is a demonstration of composi ti on by com-
bi ni ng sources in the ancient Near East, not a refutation of it!
I have also seen the cl ai m that the scholar just chooses the evi dence to
fit hi s or her arrangement: for exampl e, that the scholar assi gns every
verse that has the word "congregati on" in it to P and then says that the
recurrence of this word in P is proof of the hypothesi s. Thi s argument
shoul d be seen to be false in the light of all the evi dence presented here.
" Je f f r e y H. Ti gay, ed. , Empirical Models for Biblical Criticism ( Phi l adel phi a: Uni v. o f
Penns yl vani a Pr ess, 1985); R. E. Fr i edman, " S o me Rec ent No n- a r g u me nt s Co nc e r ni ng t he
Do c ume nt a r y Hy pot he s i s , " in Texts, Temples, and Traditions: A Tribute to Menahem Haran,
ed. Mi c hael Fox et al. ( Wi nona Lake, IN: Ei s enbr auns , 1 996) , pp. 87 - 1 01 .
No scholar is clever enough to make all of these terms line up wi thi n the
sour cesand to make it all come out consi stent wi th the other si gns of
the sources. In the text of the Torah that appears in the next section of this
book, one can observe each of the doublets wi th the sources identified.
One can then observe all the characteristic terms, the resol uti on of the
contradictions, the separation of the words that are used to identify the
deity, the continuity of each story wi thi n the doublet, and all the other cat-
egories of evi dence. The combi ned wei ght of the evi dence that one will
observe there, together wi th the evi dence that is collected here in this sec-
tion, shoul d make it clear why this explanation of the biblical ori gi ns has
been so compel l i ng for more than a century. And, whether one agrees wi th
this explanation, questi ons it, or chal l enges it, one will have in front of hi m
or her the evidence to address. It is amazi ng that at this point, when such
a mass of evi dence is available, some writers still di scuss this at so low a
level as, for exampl e, argui ng about whet her "different names of God" con-
stitutes proof or not, or whet her doubl ets prove mul ti pl e authorshi p, or
whet her a beauti ful literary structure (for exampl e, a chi asm) is evi dence
for a si ngl e author. Or some just say that "the hypothesi s was disproved
l ong ago" or "nobody accepts it anymore. "
Here, rather, is the evidence, for anyone to see, evaluate, acknowl edge,
or refute.