Pete Enns Discusses Julius Wellhausen and the Documentary Hypothesis

Recently on The Bible for Normal People podcast, Pete Enns discussed the work of Julius Wellhausen, a nineteenth century scholar who helped formulate what is today known as the Documentary Hypothesis. For those unfamiliar with the Documentary Hypothesis (DH), it is the idea that the first five books of the Hebrew Bible were not only not written by Moses, they were not even written by a single person at all. Rather, the stories, genealogies, laws, etc. seem to have been edited together by a redactor working in a later era of Israelite history, perhaps during or after the Babylonian Exile. Wellhausen’s Prolegomena to the History of Israel brought some of the arguments for DH into focus, including the idea that there were in reality four main sources: the Priestly (P), the Elohist (E), the Yahwist (J), and the Deuteronomist (D). Though some of the arguments Wellhausen put forward are no longer in vogue, DH remains one of the most widely held views on the origins of the Pentateuch. Enns, in this podcast episode, gives a fascinating overview of the subject. 

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