Author's Bias | Interpretation: conservative

Print Study

Dutch-French Critics


Dutch philosopher, Benedictus de (born Baruch) Spinoza was the first to publish a widely read theo-political treatise, Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670, chapters VII-X), that challenged the dating and authorship of the Pentateuch with the hypothesis that it was composed by Ezra or a later editor. His hypothesis was based on historical evidence of post-Mosaic dating.

French physician, Jean Astruc, published Conjectures on the Original Memoranda Which It Appears Moses Used to Compose the Book of Genesis (1753), which proposed that the variations in God's name, Yahweh or Elohim, indicated that different sources were used for Genesis. This was the beginning of Source Criticism.


He felt that the inconsistencies, parallel accounts, discrepancies and contradictions were the result of combining the two different sources.

Astruc did not deny Mosaic authorship but he did deny its divine authority, and his work marked him as the father of the documentary theories.

Series: Did Moses author the Pentateuch?
History of the Critics: German

Series: Did Moses author the Pentateuch?
The Debate: Skepticism

Copyright © 2006 All rights to this material are reserved. We encourage you to print the material for personal and non-profit use or link to this site. If you find this article to be a blessing, please share the link so that it may rise in search engine rankings.