Against the Documentary Hypothesis

It is not perhaps as well-known as it should be that Geerhardus Vos published a treatise called The Mosaic Origin of the Pentateuchal Codes. In this volume, he has some wise words about the supposed criteria used to “prove” disparate sources:

What the critics in reality do by this method, is just by a dexterous but suspicious movement to turn in their favor what is in fact against them. That an Elohistic phrase all at once makes its appearance in the midst of a purely Jehovistic environment, is a most perplexing difficulty, which cannot be relieved by declaring it the result of a variety of hands which have been at work upon the composition of the Pentateuch. For it is a sound critical axiom, that diversity of style and diction can only be verified by a comparison of lengthy passages, whose usus loquendi is exclusive. Isolated exceptional cases turn back upon the theory, and prove exactly the opposite; viz., that the criteria intermingle, which is tantamount to saying that they are no criteria at all (p. 29).


  1. July 22, 2017 at 9:16 am

    […] – Oxford University Press The Reformed Churches Confess Infant Baptism | The Heidelblog Against the Documentary Hypothesis | Green Baggins BiblePlaces Blog: Weekend Roundup Jesus Before Pilate – Biblical Archaeology Society One […]

  2. Steve Drake said,

    July 24, 2017 at 10:23 am

    So, how did Moses know what happened prior to his own life, and why did he use Elohim in Genesis 1:1-2:3, and then switch to Yahweh in Gen. 2:4 and the rest of chapter 2?

    That’s the burning question in the minds of detractors of your previous post on the two creation stories in Genesis 1 & 2, I would think, right?

    Was it Spinoza (1632-1677), the Dutch-Jewish philosopher and pantheist, who is first credited with promulgating the idea that Moses did not write the Pentateuch, or was it the Frenchman Jean Astruc who is credited with that title? If Spinoza, being one who helped lay the philosophical groundwork for the Enlightenment, it’s not hard to see how this could happen. I suppose Astruc, in the early to mid-1700’s, could be seen in this light as well.

    Scripture under attack. We expect it from the secularist, it’s sad when it comes from within the sheepfold, or from the shepherd charged with guarding those sheep.

  3. Reformational Anglican Observer said,

    July 26, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    AH Finn, a missionary to India in the 1800’s wrote a devastating critique of the documentary hypothesis after coming upon fellow missionaries whose faith was shaken to the core as a result of the “labors” of Graff-Wellhausen, among others. It is a little known masterpiece of some 300+ pages.

    Liberal and post-Liberal OT scholars don’t have good answers for why there is a lengthy chiasm stretching across the entire flood narrative, where, supposedly, the Yawhehist and Elohist authors left their mark. It’s also the case that the origins of much of OT criticism via the likes of B. Duhm proceeded on the assumption that there is no predictive prophecy in the Bible (thus, the need for three Isaiahs, since “the original Isaiah” couldn’t have foreknown/prophesied of Cyrus).

    Better to trust wholeheartedly in supernaturalism as a working premise for interpreting the Bible than holding to the broken cistern of rationalism where men, left to the powers of their fleshly mind, stumble headlong over the divine Word and – worse yet – lead others who follow them into a miasma of unbelief.

  4. Steve Drake said,

    July 27, 2017 at 8:57 am

    Eloquently put!

    Gleason Archer’s comments on Dr. Wellhausen:

    Although Dr. Wellhausen contributed no innovations to speak of, he restated the documentary theory with great skill and persuasiveness, supporting the JEDP sequence upon an evolutionary basis

    Gleason Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (Chicago, IL:Moody Press, 1985, p.89)

  5. Barry Waugh said,

    August 10, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    Even though they are old titles, Umberto Cassuto’s, The Documentary Hypothesis, Hebrew into English 1961, and Oswald T. Allis’s, The Five Books of Moses, 1943, provide good material for refuting documentary sources. More recent studies would of course address later documentary ideas, but in their day, Cassuto and Allis were greatly respected.

  6. Lumidy said,

    August 20, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Reblogged this on LUMIDY.NET.

  7. Reformational Anglican Observer said,

    September 19, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    Cassuto on the importance of number, specifically the number seven, within the opening paragraphs of Genesis 1….He asserts that such careful literary arrangement of “sevens” could not possibly be due to the work of two different authors (the so-called Yawheist and the so-called Priestly writers, hailing from divergent time periods). Cassuto was too much of a gentleman to offer the likely reason this kind of atomizing of the OT witness occurred (unbelief, arrogance, and the lust for academic respectability among one’s German, then British, then American, peers…).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: