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.