Blog analyzing the different sources of the Documentary Hypothesis in the Torah of the Hebrew Bible

The Documentay Hypothesis in the Torah

PDF of blog about the Documentary Hypothesis in the Hebrew Bible

By Ben Rowley, Spring 2016

Traditionally, Moses was attributed with being the sole author of the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). However, this notion has changed throughout history. Over hundreds of years, many strong cases had been made as to why Moses could not have been the author of the Pentateuch. Compiling all the knowledge of his predecessors, Julius Wellhausen formulated the Documentary Hypotheses as a theory as what groups of people composed the Torah.

The Documentary hypothesis is comprised of four separated sources

  • ‘J’  or Yahwist source
  • ‘E’ or Elohist source
  • ‘D’ or Deuteronomistic source
  • ‘P’ or Priestly source.

These sources originate from slightly different time periods and regions in the Ancient Near East. They can be separated by their literary structure in text, differing views towards God or a specific Supreme Being, as well as emphasis on certain theological values.

This blog analyzes different sources described in the Documentary Hypothesis. This was done through direct comparisons of the sources to show their distinctions, and by examining the setting and ideological values of the authors who composed the sources. 

Blog analyzing the different sources of the Documentary Hypothesis in the Torah of the Hebrew Bible