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