Graf-Wellhausen Hypothesis

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Author's Bias | Interpretation: conservative

Among scholars, there was great debate over the date of when and how the various sources came together to form the Pentateuch.

Notice the evolution of the sources and the history of Israel

In 1878, Julius Wellhausen published two works: Die Komposition des Hexateuchs and Prolegomena zur Geschichte Israels, which was based on the work of K. Graf and the evolutionary theory of Darwin.

His classical work became known as the Graf-Wellhausen Hypothesis or JEDP Theory to indicate the sequential evolution of the various sources. This hypothesis later became known as the Documentary Hypothesis.

Wellhausen perceived that the sources composing biblical literature reflected the historical development of Israel.

His explanation of how the sources evolved and were related to various stages of Israel's development was widely accepted among scholars.

Unfortunately some religious leaders, both Jewish and Christian, accepted this theory to cast doubt on the credibility of the Pentateuch in order to justify the priority and importance of their church and traditions.

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

Series: Did Moses author the Pentateuch?
History of the Critics: British-American

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