"Sharper Than A Double-Edged Sword," Week 2 Handout

by H. Rebekah Keazer on June 12, 2020

"Sharper Than A Double-Edged Sword," Week 2 Handout

I. DISCUSSION NOTES

Sharper than a Two-Edged Sword Part – JEPD Cheat Sheet

Hebrew Bible also known as the Old Testament is also known as the TANAKH

    • TORAH (LAW)
    • NEBI’IM (Prophets)
    • KETHUBIM (Writings)

Three types of material that you get in the Pentateuch

  1. Sermonic style teaching - Deuteronomy 30:15-20 
  2. Priestly type information - Genealogies, institutions, and other cultic matters End of exodus (25-40), Leviticus, much of Numbers.
  3. Old Epic Narrative - Lively storytelling style with great concern for human interest (Paradise Story in Gen 2:4-3:24, testing of Abraham Gen 22:1-19, First Moses Call story)

Documentary Hypothesis

This hypothesis suggests that the books of the Pentateuch are an edited version of several different original sources.  Many modern scholars propose that four sources (or traditions) contributed to the five books of the Pentateuch. These sources are the following:

  1. the Yahwist (abbreviated J from the German word for Yahwist) 
  2.  the Elohist (abbreviated E) 
  3.  the Deuteronomist (abbreviated D) 
  4.  the Priestly (abbreviated P) 

Based on the abbreviations used for the four sources, the documentary hypothesis is also called the four-source theory or the JEPD theory. 

Summary Chart of JEPD 

Date 

Place 

Divine Name 

Religious features 

Literary features 

Yahwist (J)

United Monarchy (~950 BC) 

Jerusalem? 

Uses Yahweh throughout the Pentateuch 

Sacrifice is not limited to one single place nor is the priesthood limited to one family. Heads of household can make sacrifices. 

Lively narrative and anthropomorphic view of God. 

Elohist 

Divided Monarchy (~850 BC) 

Northern Kingdom (Israel) 

Elohim used exclusively until the divine name is introduced in Exodus. 

Sacrifice is not limited to one single place nor is the priesthood limited to one family. Heads of household can make sacrifices. 

Lively narrative and anthropomorphic view of God. 

Deuteronomist 

Reign of Josiah (~625 BC) 

Southern Kingdom (Judah) 

Not applicable 

Only the Levites can make sacrifices in the one place God chooses. 

Sermonic, with characteristic phrases. 

Priestly Writer 

End of the Exile (~500 BC) 

Babylon and / or Jerusalem 

Elohim used exclusively until the divine name is introduced in Exodus. 

Only the offspring of Aaron can make sacrifices. A single place of sacrifice is presumed. 

Preserves traditions, such as genealogies, precise locations, ages, and so on. Regal view of God. 

(This chart is adapted from Encountering Ancient Voices: A Guide to Reading the Old Testament, by Corrine L. Carvalho, Saint Mary’s Press, 2006, page 34.) 

II. HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT:

Read the following passages, paying attention to the similarities and differences between the narratives.

  1. Two Creation Stories
    1. Genesis 1:1-2:3
    2. Genesis 2:4-25
  2. Two accounts of God's Covenant with Abraham
    1. Gen 15
    2. Gen 17
  3. Two times Abraham lies about his wife
    1. Gen 12:10-17
    2. Gen 20:1-18
  4. Two Names for Sacred Mountain
    1. Sinai and Horeb
  5. Two versions of the Ten Commandments
    1. Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 3
  6. Two versions of the calls of Abraham and Moses (different style, second gives more emphasis on Aaron, different names for God)
    1. Exodus 3:1-4:17
    2. Exodus 6:2-7:7