Republished with permission from the Journal of Dispensational Theology, Vol. 16 No. 48, August, 2012.

 John Locke deftly identifies the central problem of biblical authority: he explains that if all of holy writ is to be equally considered as inspired of God, then there is much to be questioned regarding the Christian faith;[1] however, if it is not to be so considered, then the authority of the text may be questioned and ultimately undermined, and thus the Christian faith comes crumbling down.[2] Quite a problem indeed. If the text is not authoritative then hermeneutic exercises are quite inconsequential for any purposes other than literary appreciation. Thus the authority of the text is central at this point. How then does biblical criticism influence the discussion? And what can be said of authority after the text has been submitted to the critical processes?

Louis Wallis keenly summarizes the rise of biblical criticism, observing correctly that it did not originate in the minds of German scholars, but instead enjoyed a more eclectic genesis. His comments trace progress from the twelfth to the eighteenth century, and their thoroughness and conciseness warrant their full representation here. He describes the rise of biblical criticism as follows:

…distinctly foreshadowed by a Spanish Jew, Ibn Ezra, the most eminent biblical scholar of the Middle Ages, far back in the twelfth century A.D. The idea was taken up by the English scholar Hobbes, in his book, Leviathan, published in 1651; by the Frenchman L Peyrere, in his book Pre-Adamites, issued in 1655; and by the Jewish philosopher Spinoza, of Amsterdam, Holland, in Tractatus-Theologico-Politicus, which came out in 1670. In the meanwhile the Frenchman Louis Cappellus in 1650 published his Critica Sacra, demonstrating the imperfect and fallible condition of the Hebrew vowel points. In 1678, Richard Simon, another Frenchman, put forth a volume entitled Critical History of the Old Testament, showing that the Mosaic Law was compiled and edited centuries after the time of Moses. In 1753 appeared a work by Astruc, a French writer, identifying the so-called Jehovist and Elohist documents in Genesis. In 1800 was published the Critical Remarks of Alexander Geddes, a Scotchman, who denied the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch. And although German scholars in the nineteenth century did more for biblical interpretation than did the scholars of other countries, they were matched in critical acumen during that period by Renan of France, Colenso of England, and Kuenen of Holland.[3]

Notably, two of the earlier critics cited by Wallis, Ibn Ezra and Spinoza, built on earlier traditions. Fred G. Bratton suggests they borrowed from the Talmudists, “who called attention to scores of discrepancies and contradictions in the Old Testament.”[4]  Bratton provides a series of examples, citing observations “by one that the flood was not a world catastrophe but local in character, by another that Moses and Elijah did not ascend to heaven, and by a third that the birds which fed Elijah were human.”[5]

 In the ninth century, Hivi[6] considered Bible difficulties, resolving some of them in anticipation of “rationalistic exegesis.”[7] Another scholar, whose name is unknown but whose eleventh century work does Schecter describe, draws attention to every perceived Old Testament discrepancy.[8] The earlier Talmudists, and these two later textual critics along with Origen and his hermeneutic apologetics show that biblical criticism is not simply a modern affair. Nonetheless, modernity gave rise to such a degree of refinement in biblical criticism that that the inspiration of the text – and consequently its authority as a moral undergirding – has been widely doubted.

The twelfth-century Abraham Ibn Ezra, questioned Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch based on retrospective language that seemed to look back from a vantage point well beyond the years of Moses’ lifetime. Additionally, Ezra was the first to assert plural authorship of Isaiah, citing, for example, that references to Cyrus as Israel’s deliverer could not have been penned by the eighth-century Isaiah.[9] Despite his questioning of the text in these specific regards, he had great respect for it, considering it worthy of study. His precise understanding of the Hebrew language allowed him to offer clarifications where others had difficulty; this lent him such a high degree of credibility that he is perceived as a bridge from ancient to modern biblical scholarship.[10]

Hobbes takes up the discussion in 1651 in the thirty-third chapter of his Leviathan,[11] in which he questions the authorship of Moses. He discusses a few specific cases which seem to cast doubt on Moses’ authorship of the Torah. He cites Deuteronomy 34, which includes the account of Moses’ death – how he journeys up a mountain views the promised land which he was forbidden from entering due to a moment of rebellion, how he dies, and how God dispensed with Moses’ body and it was never discovered. Hobbes asserts that Moses could not have written his own death and burial account. He cites Genesis 12:6 which uses the phrase “while the Canaanites were in the land.” During Moses’ lifetime, the Canaanites were never not in the land, and it was not until the conquest of Joshua’s day that they began to be removed, thus Hobbes declares that Moses could not have written this passage. Further, Numbers 21:14 references the Book of the Wars of the Lord, which Hobbes reckons to be the writings of Moses, and thus Numbers was written after Moses’ lifetime. Hobbes does not intend to demolish the authority of the text, however, as he indicates that all that Moses is said to have said he did indeed say, thus the text is not dishonest, Moses just did not author all that tradition assigns to him.

While Hobbes’ motive was not to redefine God, Benedict Spinoza’s was. He emphasized the immanence of God, holding that God was monistic and impersonal, and that he was revealed in the laws of nature and was to be understood by reason. Spinoza’s critical method is apparent in his Tractatus Theologico Politicus (1670), and is characterized by a threefold hermeneutic process, which assumed that scriptures should be studied in the same way as would nature: in light of reason. First, he focused on the linguistic analysis of the time of writing. This involved in-depth analysis of the Hebrew text and developments in the Hebrew language itself. Second, he promoted topical and systematic organizations of the text under headers, so that as interlocutors interpret they have other similar and related passages at their disposal. Finally, he concentrated heavily on the method of textual formation. This constituted his primary achievement in biblical criticism as he considered the author’s context, setting, motivation, limitation, education, and a host of other factors. Spinoza made textual formation a critical step in the process of ascertaining what the text meant.

 As a result of his investigation Spinoza rejected Mosaic authorship in light of what he considered retrospective passages and anachronism. He asserted that the Pentateuch, along with Joshua and Judges were the work of later redactors, including Ezra the scribe. Spinoza likewise considered Nehemiah to have been penned possibly in the second century B.C., Proverbs to have been post-exilic, Chronicles to have been so unreliable as to be undeserving of being included in the canon, Jeremiah to have been the product of plural authorship, Job to have been initially a gentile poem, and Daniel to have been inauthentic.[12]   Spinoza identified two kinds of scriptures. First, prophetic theology, which was beyond reason and could be understood only from the scriptures themselves. Of the second category – narrative – Spinoza was highly critical. He perceived the writers of narrative to have gravely mischaracterized God as essentially a secondary cause rather than the immediate efficient cause. Spinoza argued against the dualism of God and nature, suggesting there was no dichotomy and no distinction: God and nature are one. Thus Spinoza also argued there is no beginning or end, no teleological – no purpose, and no cause; and thus his biblical criticism led to (or was built upon) a significant redefinition of God. In light of Spinoza’s conclusions, Bratton credits him as having immeasurable impact on the modern understanding of the Bible, particularly in his showing “that the Bible is not one book but many, coming from different periods of history and exhibiting different degrees of inspiration.[13] [emphasis mine]

Spinoza’s conclusion that the text is not univocal is of particular importance in the context of the present discussion, and if the argument is to made for univocality and consequently for the authority of the text, then Spinoza’s criticisms cannot be ignored.

Richard Simon wrote from Paris in 1678 his Histoire Critique de Vieux Testament, which he published as a more complete version seven years later. His Critique consisted of three books, the first was a biblical criticism, focusing on Jewish historical methods and Mosaic authorship; the second was an account of the various Old Testament translations (he relied on the Masoretic text and the Greek Septuagint, perceiving previous Hebrew Old Testament manuscripts so obscure as to make sola scripture untenable); and the third was an account of the major Old Testament commentators. Additionally, he completed three New Testament critiques, but for all his labor his primary unique achievement was in his theory that throughout Jewish history, there was a tradition of historical recording and a continuous succession of annalists who fulfilled this task. Simon hypothesized that it was from this group that Moses and other biblical writers borrowed.[14]

Jean Astruc wrote his Conjectures sur la Genèse in 1753 to counter, in particular, Hobbes’ and Spinoza’s critiques of biblical reliability. Astruc used contemporary methods, including those of Eichhorn and Wilhelm de Wette (father of the historical critical school) in order to offer a biblical criticism of his own. He focused on doublets (retellings of historical narratives) and the stylistic distinctions between passages that named God as YHWH and those that titled him Elohim, and concluded thusly that there were two authors of Genesis (one of whom was Moses).[15] In so doing, he laid the groundwork for Wellhausen’s documentary hypothesis which would be forthcoming over a hundred years later.

Julius Wellhausen proposed his documentary theory in his Prolegomena zur Geschichte Israels. Built on Astruc’s considerations of stylistic distinctions, Wellhausen’s hypothesis is referred to as the JEDP theory, an acronym for the distinctive writers that Wellhausen perceieved to be involved in the initial transmission of the text. The J is for the Jahwist (JHVH the Latinized transliteration of YHWH), the E is for the Elohist, the D is for the deuteronomist or the redactor – perhaps the one responsible for the many doublets, and P is for the priestly writer who penned Leviticus, etc. Wallis describes Wellhausen’s critique as so influencial that “Bible study everywhere took a new start.”[16]

Thus Hobbes’ critiques find their fulfillment in Wellhausen’s theory, and ultimately the prescriptive value of the text, under this theory, as anything more than a cultural and (somewhat) historical commentary can be legitimately questioned. While the approach answers one prong of Locke’s fork,[17] in so doing it ultimately undermines the authority of the text. Still, biblical criticism advanced beyond Wellhausen, Against the backdrop of World War I, Willis interprets the role of biblical criticism in the context of social development. In particular, Wallis sees the biblical text – despite the allegations launched against it by the textual critics – as a fundamental cog in the development of a new social consciousness which would light the way, via a democratic mindset (removing interpretive power from the autocracy and passing it along to the people), for that war-torn generation to  “move onward through the flames of war”[18] into a brighter era. Wallis’ optimism carries with it an internal contradiction that is notable. He suggests that we need not orthodoxy but “a conservatism that maintains all the religious values enshrined in the Scriptures,”[19] yet the biblical criticism which he lauds creates a condition in which the boundaries between truth and falsity in a propositional sense are blurred at best. W.R. Taylor diagnoses the problem, and attempts a prescription, and in so doing really only illustrates the problem. He suggests, “we should be ready to abandon the indefensible and to concentrate our attention on the essential qualities of the sacred oracles as time and research bring them into fuller relief.”[20] Taylor’s assessment invites several questions. Which values should be maintained, and which discarded? Which are indefensible and which are essential? Without a propositional approach – such as that employed by James Nash – this is a question impossible to answer with any certainty. Taylor suggests that biblical criticism has resulted in the demise of “the belief in verbal inspiration, the inerrancy of the Bible in all its parts in science and history, and its infallibility in morals and religion,”[21] and that better conceptions of God are now possible. Taylor’s observation, though it seeks to redeem the text from its captors, represents a supreme degree of inconsistency that requires a greater degree of faith to bear than is required for accepting the legitimacy of the text as a whole. He suggests the Bible is not revelation but is simply the record of it.[22] But where does the revelation end and the record begin? Taylor argues that though old ideas of what constitutes suitable warrant for authority have passed away, what has emerged should instill confidence in the reader:

In short, we can say that recent research has brought into high relief (a) the Bible’s unique significance in the cultural process, (b) the qualitative superiority of the biblical literature comparatively, and (c) the Bible as a body of sincere and vital documents.[23]

Though his three ideas here are commonly held, the issue of whether the text is worthy of confidence remains disputed, perhaps in part due to a pervasive inattention to detail on the part of textual-authority-apologists as illustrated further by Taylor’s culminating exhortation: “we must be careful to show that the essential truths which we by our methods reach in the Scriptures can and must be made meaningful to our generation.”[24] Unfortunately for Taylor’s thesis, this generation – like any other – may have difficulty accepting essential truths from a source whose apparently non-essential ones are not truths at all. It seems, then, only consistent (consistency being an important and deciding factor, in my estimation) to either abandon ideas of revelation altogether, and consequently the optimism and even the supposedly better conceptions of God derived from the text if the text itself is devalued, and dismiss the values enshrined in the text as not being suitably warranted from the text, or alternately to consider the text in a prima facie way – interpreting it in the most plain or natural sense – and in response we may consider the value of the content based upon not only the individual parts but also upon the sum of those parts. Such a consideration is not foreign to those represented in the Bible, and seems to be the expected response the writers sought from their readers.[25]

That Moses wrote the first five books, for example, is the representation of the Bible itself and is attested to by earliest interpretive tradition. Joshua 8:31-32 distinguishes between the law of Moses (v.32) and the book of the law of Moses (v. 31), as the law generally referenced the entire body of the covenantal stipulations – including all six-hundred and thirteen commandments (the mizvot), and was usually represented by the first ten.[26] Forms of the phrase book of the law (ספר התּור֨ה) are used some twenty-one times in the Hebrew Bible,[27] and notably the term does not appear until the concluding chapters of Moses’ final book. The term is later applied by Jesus (Mk. 20:26) when he references events in Exodus as being contained in the book of Moses (τῇ βίβλῳ Μωϋσέως[28]) and as “Scripture.” Jesus directly recognized Exodus,[29] Leviticus,[30] Numbers[31] and Deuteronomy[32] all to be Mosaic, and referenced Genesis as genuine and legitimately included in the Hebrew Bible.[33]

Not only did Jesus consider Genesis genuine, but he also considered it Mosaic. He refers to the Hebrew Bible as “the Law of Moses and the Prophets, and the Psalms” (Lk. 24:44, NASB), a structural parallel to the Masoretic text of Torah (law), Nevi’im (prophets), and Ketuvim (writings, of which Psalms is the first book). Also, in Luke 11:49-51 Jesus details a chronology of martyred prophets from the foundation of the world to that point. He references Abel as the first and Zechariah as the last. Abel’s death occurs in Genesis – the first book of the Tanakh, and Zechariah’s in Chronicles – the final book of the Tanakh. It seems rather certain that Jesus understood the entire Hebrew Bible to be genuine, and the individual books it contained to be organized as we observe in the Masoretic text. He understood that the Law (or Book of the Law) of Moses – the Torah – was both genuine and Mosaic.

But what of Welhausen’s refined multi-author theory? Emblematic of an influential tradition of biblical scholarship, Timothy Lin challenges the documentary hypothesis as fallacious and unworkable.[34] With detailed consideration of internal problems with the hypothesis, Lin argues that the analytic method the textual critics purport to use is not being consistently applied to these passages and that a consistent application of the method would not provide grounding for the multi-author conclusion. Gary Rendsburg critiques the theory on grounds that it fails to account for chiastic structure and other parallels found in the text,[35] though his argument is dismissed by Marc Brettler who believes Rendsburg’s assertions fail to adequately resolve all the issues the multi-authorship theory raises.[36] The worthy considerations by both writers are emblematic of the present debate regarding the conclusiveness of the multi-author theory – to be precise, regarding what is the genuine product of the critical method, the matter is unresolved.

Benjamin Mazar understood Genesis to be “a monumental historiographic composition, the product of rich and variegated material collected, combined, arranged, and worked into one harmonious tract, with the purpose of portraying both the beginnings of mankind and the origins of Israel in the spirit of the monotheistic concept, and with a didactic aim.”[37] Mazar, not unlike Umberto Cassuto, based his criticism of Mosaic authorship not on literary form but on a number of historical factors he recognized as anachronisms in the text and which he believed pointed to a much later date than the roughly 1400 BC/BCE date demanded in the text itself.[38] His thesis is seemingly based in large part on a presupposition that there is no (divinely inspired) prophetic utterance (i.e., that the Hebrew prophets were not speaking on God’s behalf and that there is no legitimate divine revelation). Note the following phrases used by Mazar: “it is within reason” (used twice),[39] “it is then in place to assume,”[40] “[O]ne may, apparently, also count among these…,”[41] “it seems to me,”[42] “in my view, it is much more within reason,”[43] “[O]ne may find in the accounts…,”[44]  “there is no need…to assign it a later date.”[45] Conjecture seems to play a significant role in his assertions.

He also suggests that the ethnographic similarities between Genesis 16 and Psalm 83 (the date of which he says is reasonably understood to be during the end of the period of the Judges) suggest a later date for Genesis.[46] He notes that the characteristics of the Joseph account “are such as to make us think that the traditions and motifs joined together in this single tableau…were given their sophisticated novelistic literary form no earlier than the beginning of the Monarchy.”[47] Perhaps most notably, though, he argues that the Genesis 49:10 blessing of Judah was not prophetic, but that it was a later developed apologetic for Judah’s right to rule – a right that is prominently featured and defended during the early monarchy period.  While this is a significant instance of assumed anachronism (as there seems no other basis for it other than the non-prophetic presupposition), aside from these numerous defenses of Davidic kingship Mazar cites several alleged anachronisms in Genesis. Notably, in context, most are related to Davidic right, and one might wonder if these would be anachronisms at all if Davidic right was indeed a product of prophetic utterance. Nonetheless, these would need to be addressed by any who would defend an early date consistent with Mosaic authorship, and Mazar suggests (without, in this context, any particular explanation of why) that those who have attempted to resolve these issues in light of various external sources (such as Akkadian sources, Mari documents, Nuzi tablets, and variously dated Egyptian sources) have “gone too far,”[48] though he admits that there is “certainly room for thought and reconsideration of the conflicting views as to the dating of the “patriarchal period” to the first, second, and third quarters of the second millennium B.C.”[49]

In short, Mazar’s conclusions are not presented as necessary, though he does (of course) prefer them to the alternative. In any case, it is at least clear from Mazar’s writing that – as is the case with the JEPD hypothesis – the late-date theory is far from a certitude. Also, it would seem that the late-date theory and JEPD seem grounded in the presupposition that divine revelation and prophetic utterance are not legitimate possibilities here.

Paul Minear recognizes the challenges that biblical criticism faces in light of presuppositions and first principles.[50] Minear suggests, quoting Croce, that in this epoch the prevailing frame of reference –   “The heart and brain (of recent historiography)…is naturalism.”[51] This pre-commitment to naturalism provides a set of guidelines that cannot be easily discarded.[52] In particular, Minear suggests that biblical historians (few of whom are “avowed naturalists”[53]) utilize a method which is grown from and at least implies naturalism. What fruit then is to be expected from a naturalistically based method? Certainly the tension between an assumed metaphysic and a method which negates the metaphysic is not conducive to a high degree of consistency in the end. Yet it is this tension that Locke (for example) acknowledges as present in the discussion.

Considering, for example, the Deuteronomy 34 account of Moses’ death, we note that Hobbes perceives this to be evidence against Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch as a unit, yet there are two possibilities worthy of consideration and which may present a resolution to the issue: (1) If this was indeed revelation, rather than the mere product of human invention, then theoretically God could have informed Moses of what would occur. Predictive prophecy (if such a possibility is allowed for) accounts for nearly a third of the Hebrew Bible (if a plain or natural sense hermeneutic is consistently applied). To  dismiss off-hand the possibility of divine revelation seems more grounded in naturalistic presuppositions and an intention to de-mythologize the Bible than in evenhanded textual criticism. (2) Nonetheless, it is not a necessity for genuineness that Moses wrote his own obituary. That there might have been a separate writer (Joshua, perhaps) who wrote the Deuteronomy epilogue would not negate Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch as a unit – much in the same way that Jesus’ reference to the Ketuvim (the Writings section of the Hebrew Bible) as “the Psalms” did not imply that the book of Psalms was the only component of the Ketuvim, and in the same way that we refer to the Epistle to the Romans as Pauline, though it claims, in fact, to have been penned by Tertius (as Paul’s emanuensis).[54] The internal evidence of the Hebrew (OT) and Greek (NT) texts considered collectively leaves no doubt that if the texts are themselves genuine, they argue for genuineness and Mosaic authorship of Genesis. The early external evidence likewise introduces no doubt.

The second-century BC pseudoepigraphical Book of Jubilees presents a creation account similar (though not identical) to that of Genesis, but unlike Genesis, Jubilees contains a preface affirming the authorship of the creation story.[55] The Jubilees account not only asserts Mosaic authorship, but narrates how he came to write the creation account. In similar fashion, Philo of Alexandria, a notable first-century AD Jewish philosopher, understood Genesis to be of Mosaic origin, extolling, for example, the philosophic prowess Moses demonstrated in beginning his laws with a creation account.[56] That Philo recognized Mosaic authorship is important not just in light of his philosophical assessment of Moses’ motivations, but also because Philo was a pioneer of biblical criticism. He was an important developer of the allegorical hermeneutic he frequently utilized in order to resolve aspects of the text that he perceived to be inconsistent with the Hellenistic philosophy of his day. Philo, It would seem, did not consider Mosaic authorship to be troublesome at all. On the contrary, he considered it to be an important fact, and one that connected cosmology with ethical theory.

Though his objectivity as a historian has been questioned,[57] Josephus nonetheless offers an important first-century AD Jewish perspective on many aspects of Israel’s history. He discusses (in similar fashion to Philo) Moses’ unique approach to legislation, recognizing the acumen with which Moses turns minds to God before turning their attention to laws.[58] He also speaks of the creation account as being entirely Mosaic.[59] In summarizing verse-by-verse the Genesis 1 creation account, Josephus asserts  Mosaic authorship no less than four times (“Moses said,” 1:1:29; “Moses says,” 1:1:33; “Moses…begins to talk philosophically,” 1:1:34; and “Moses says further,” 1:1:37).[60]

Josephus, Philo, and the Book of Jubilees represent early external evidence complementing the biblical assertions of Mosaic authorship of Genesis, and they are not inconsistent with more recent views. Moses Maimonides (twelfth century), for example, was unapologetic about Mosaic authorship. He includes as one of his Thirteen Principles the following: “I believe with perfect faith that the entire Torah that we have now is that which was given to Moses.”[61] One mainstream contemporary Jewish encyclopedia argues in favor of singular authorship and challenges certain premises of the documentary hypothesis, including alleged anachronisms, historiographic principles, and doublets.[62] Furthermore, the encyclopedia directly counters textual criticism on seven points: (1) there is no external proof of compilation; (2) interpretations of so-called internal evidence to that end is “unstable and deceptive;” (3) the process leading to the compilation conclusion is complex beyond consistency; (4) even if alleged contradictions and repetitions existed, they would not prove plural authorship, just as this process applied to other single author works would be met with equal failure; (5) the theory is unnecessary and based on multiple misunderstandings of ideas, tendencies, and themes; (6) arguments based on variations of language are circular; and (7) exegetical mishandling is necessary for the compilation understanding.[63]

Though the internal and external evidence presented here may not satisfy some readers of the certainty of Mosaic authorship, perhaps there has been shown enough evidence to warrant reasonable consideration of the mere possibility that Genesis is genuinely Mosaic. If the reader is willing to grant this much, then the possibility that the text provides some binding ethical grounding remains. If not, then the discussion needs move no further, as the Bible would offer nothing of any real ethical value beyond what one might expect from a fable or a legend. As Isaac Abravanel argues, if the biblical text (and the Torah in particular) is presumed to be authoritative, then it must be believed in its entirety and not doubted.[64] To assert that the Genesis account is not genuine requires that one dismiss its ethical contribution as binding. Thus, if we would discuss the book as potentially binding we must consider it as at least potentially genuine, and if we cannot assent to this potentiality (at least), we may rely on Callicott’s warning not to miss the point that many Jews and Christians consult the biblical text for ethical guidance.[65] We find, then, that the text is either ethically binding, or at least a significant number of people perceive that it is – whether with proper warrant or not – and those people will seek to follow the meaningful advice found within its pages. As Henry Morris reminds us, Genesis is the foundation of all the biblical books, and is thus the most critical piece of the book “that has exerted the greatest influence on history of any book every produced.”[66]

[1]                                    E.S. de Beer, ed., The Correspondence of John Locke, Vol. 2 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979), 2:748-751 (No. 834).

[2]                                    John Marshall, John Locke: Resistance, Religion and Responsibility, (Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 340.

[3]                                    Louis Wallis, “The Paradox of Modern Biblical Criticism” in The Biblical World, Vol. 52, No. 1 (Jul. 1918): 42-43.

[4]                                    Fred G. Bratton, “Precursors of Biblical Criticism” in Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 50, No. 3 (1931): 180.

[5]                                    Fred G. Bratton, “Precursors of Biblical Criticism”, 180.

[6]                                    Talmudist cited by Bratton: 180.

[7]                                    Bratton: 180.

[8]                                    Bratton: 180.

[9]                                    Bratton: 181.

[10]                                    Bratton: 181.

[11]                          Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, Richard Tuck, ed., (Cambridge,UK: Cambridge University Press), 260-268.

[12]                                    Bratton: 183.

[13]                                    Bratton: 184.

[14]                                    Louis Wallis: 43.

[15]                                    Ana M. Acosta, “Conjectures and Speculations: Jean Astruc, Obstetrics, and Biblical Criticism in Eighteenth Century France” in Eighteenth-Century Studies, Vol. 35, No. 2 (Winter, 2002): 257-259.

[16]                                    Wallis: 46.

[17]                                    Either the text is completely and equally inspired or not. Wellhausen’s theory concludes it is not, and consequently begs the question of the Bible’s ethical value.

[18]                                    Wallis: 49.

[19]                                    Wallis: 49.

[20]                                    W.R. Taylor, “Biblical Criticism and Modern Faith” in The Journal of Religion, Vol. 23, No. 4 (Oct., 1943): 229.

[21]                                    Taylor: 230.

[22]                                    Taylor: 231.

[23]                                    Taylor: 239-240.

[24]                                    Taylor: 240.

[25]                                    I argue elsewhere that the hermeneutic utilized nearly exclusively by biblical characters was a plain or natural sense approach. See Christopher Cone, Prolegomena: Introductory Notes on Bible Study & Theological Method (Fort Worth, TX: Tyndale Seminary Press, 2007), 111-118.

[26]                                    It was probably this shorter list that Joshua wrote on the stones in the events of Joshua 8.

[27]                                    Deut. 28:58; 28:61; 29:20; 30:10; 31:24; 31:26; Josh. 8:31; 8:34; 23:6; 24:26; 2 Kin. 14:6; 22:8; 22:11; 23:24; 2 Chron. 17:9; 34:14, 15; Neh. 8:1, 3, 18; 9:3

[28]                  NA27, 131.


[29]                                    Cf., Mk. 7:10 and Ex. 20:12; also Mk. 12:26 and Ex. 3:6

[30]                                    Cf., Mt. 8:4 and Lev. 13:49; 14:2ff.

[31]                                    Cf., Jn. 3:14 and Num. 21:9.

[32]                                    Cf., Mt. 19:7-8 and Deut. 24:1-4.

[33]                                    Timothy Lin catalogs Jesus’ affirmations as follows: “He confirmed the genuineness of the first two chapters of Genesis by testifying to the creation of Adam and Eve as a historical fact, and not a myth or legend (Matt. 19:4-6; Mark 10:5-9).  When He rebuked the scribes and Pharisees, He mentioned “the blood of Abel” as the beginning of the Jews’ guilt (Matt. 23:35).  He confirmed that Noah’s flood was a historical destruction (Matt. 24:37-39) and the devastation of Sodom and Gomorrah as God’s judgment (Matt. 11:23-24).  He described Lot’s time in Sodom and the judgment of his wife as a historical warning regarding the last days (Luke 17:28-32).  In His preaching and teaching, He often spoke of Abraham (John 8:37-40,56-58) and repeatedly He testified of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Mark 12:26) and their lives before God (Matt. 8:11; 22:32).  The above references indicate that Christ testified to the truthfulness of essentially the entire book of Genesis. (Timothy Lin, Genesis: A Biblical Theology, 4th ed., (Carmel, IN: Biblical Studies Ministries International, 2002), 29-30.).

[34]                                    Lin’s critique is potent and worthy of consideration here: “This hypothesis is far from being workable.  For instance, in certain J passages “Elohim,” which is characteristic of E, is present (3:1,3,5; 4:25; 7:9,16; 9:27; and so on), and in certain E and P passages “Yahweh,” which is characteristic of J, is found (17:1; 22:11; and so on).  In order to cover this embarrassing situation, the critics cut some verses and clauses out of their context and assigned them to another document.  They cut 5:29 out of P and assigned it to J, because the divine name “Yahweh” (which is translated “the LORD”) is present.  Yet they left 4:25 in J although “Elohim” is in this verse.  They separated 7:16b that has “Yahweh” from the midst of P and assigned it to J.  However, they left 9:26 and 16:13 undivided in J, but both have “Yahweh” and “Elohim.”  Genesis 21:1 is a dilemma to the critics because both clauses have “Yahweh.”  According to their theory of “doublets” they should separate them.  Yet according to their usage of divinenames to designate different authors, they have to place the couplets together.  To cut the knot they assigned 21:1a to J and 21:1b to P.  How absurd!  Genesis 21:33 was assigned to J, disregarding the presence of “Elohim” in 33b.  Genesis 22:11,14 are both assigned to E, yet both have “Yahweh.”  Genesis 28:21 is assigned to E, yet “Yahweh” is also found there.  These examples are sufficient to show the fallacy of this hypothesis.” (Lin, 27-28)

[35]                                    Gary A. Rendsburg, The Redaction of Genesis (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbraun, 1986), 104ff.

[36]                                    Marc Brettler, “Rendsburg’s ‘The Redaction of Genesis'” in The Jewish Quarterly Review, New Series, Vol. 78, No. 1/2 (Jul. – Oct. 1987): 113-119.

[37]                                    Benjamin Mazar, “The Historical Background of the Book of Genesis” in Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 28, No. 2 (Apr. 1969): 74.

[38]                                    Mazar says, “It is within reason that Genesis was given its original written form during the time when the Davidic empire was being established, and that the additions and supplements of later authors were only intended to help bridge the time gap for contemporary readers, and had no decisive effect on its contents of its overall character.” (Mazar: 74).

[39]                                    Mazar: 74.

[40]                                    Mazar: 75.

[41]                                    Mazar: 76.

[42]                                    Mazar: 76.

[43]                                    Mazar: 77.

[44]                                    Mazar: 78.

[45]                                    Mazar: 78.

[46]                                    Mazar: 79.

[47]                                    Mazar: 82-83.

[48]                                    Mazar: 76.

[49]                                    Mazar: 76.

[50]                                    Minear observes that, “The reflective historian must consciously orient his technical research with an articulate “frame of reference,” a view of history which determines his presuppositions, defines his method and circumscribes his conclusions. Such orientation is particularly important in an epoch when perspectives of thought shift so rapidly. Each successive change in world-view stimulates new conceptions of history, raises new questions for the historian to answer, and provokes new assaults upon prevailing methodology.” (Paul S. Minear, “How Objective is Biblical Criticism” in Journal of Bible and Religion, Vol. 9, No. 4 (Nov., 1941): 217.)

[51]                                    Minear: 218.

[52]                                    Minear suggests that, “The historian’s function is to establish generalizations applicable at all times and places. The test of his conclusions is their predictive accuracy. Novelty, particularity, becomes a scandal. Confronted by the unique, the historian can only stutter, “It can’t be!” Thus the history that is dictated by a naturalistic world-view ends by negating itself.” (Minear: 218.).

[53]                                    Minear: 219.

[54]                                    Romans 16:22.

[55]                                    Jubilees 2:1 reads as follows, “And the angel of the presence spake to Moses according to the word of the Lord, saying: “Write all the words of the creation, how in six days the Lord God finished all His works and all that he created, and rested on the Sabbath day and hallowed it for all ages, and appointed it as a sign for all His works.” (R. H. Charles, “A New Translation of the Book of Jubilees. Part I” in The Jewish Quarterly Review, Vol. 6, No. 1 (Oct., 1893): 187.).

[56]                                    Philo’s comments are as follows: “But Moses…made the beginning of his laws entirely beautiful, and in all respects admirable, neither at once declaring what ought to be done or the contrary, nor (since it was necessary to mould beforehand the dispositions of those who were to use his laws) inventing fables himself or adopting those which had been invented by others. And his exordium, as I have already said, is most admirable; embracing the creation of the world, under the idea that the law corresponds to the world and the world to the law, and that a man who is obedient to the law, being, by so doing, a citizen of the world, arranges his actions with reference to the intention of nature, in harmony with which the whole universal world is regulated…Since, then, this world is visible and the object of our external senses, it follows of necessity that it must have been created; on which account it was not without a wise purpose that he recorded its creation, giving a very venerable account of God…And he says that the world was made in six days..” (emphasis mine) (Philo, “On the Creation” in The Works of Philo, C.D. Yonge, ed. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1993), 3.).

[57]                                    For a thoroughgoing discussion of Josephus’ apologetic designs, see Louis H. Feldman, “Josephus’ Portrait of Moses” in The Jewish Quarterly Review, New Series, Vol. 82, No. 3/4 (Jan. – Apr. 1992): 285-328.

[58]                                    Josephus says, “Now when Moses was desirous to teach this lesson to his countrymen, he did not begin the establishment of his laws after the same manner that other legislators did; I mean, upon contracts and other rites between one man and another, but by raising their minds upwards to regard God, and his creation of the world; and by persuading them, that we men are the most excellent of the creatures of God upon the earth.” (Flavius Josephus, The Works of Josephus Complete and Unabridged, William Whiston, trans., (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1987), Antiquities, Preface, 21.).

[59]                                    Josephus comments briefly here, “I shall now betake myself to the history before me, after I have first mentioned what Moses says of the creation of the world, which I find described in the sacred books after the manner following.” (Josephus, Antiquities, Preface, 26.).

[60]                                    Josephus, Antiquities, 1:1:29-37.

[61]                                    Moses Maimonides, Commentary on the Mishnah, Tractate Sanhedrin, trans. by Fred Rosner (New York, NY: Sepher- Hermon Press, 1981), ch.11, principle 8.

[62]                           asserts, “Anachronisms such as various critics allege in Genesis do not in reality exist; and their assumption is based on a misunderstanding of the historiographic principles of the book…Nor are there any repetitions or unnecessary doublets.” (Benno Jacob and Emil Hirsch, “Genesis, The Book of” in Jewish, sections 12-35, viewed 1/30/2010.).

[63]                                    Jacob and Hirsch, “Genesis, The Book of,” section 35.

[64]                                    Abravanel suggests, “…it is not proper to postulate principles for the divine Torah, nor foundations in the matter of beliefs, for we are obligated to believe everything that is written in the Torah. We are not permitted to doubt even the smallest thing in it…” (Isaac Abravanel, Principles of Faith, Rosh Amanah, Menachem Kellner, trans., (Oxford, UK: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2000), 195.).

[65]                                    J. Baird Callicott reminds us that, “Contemporary Jews and Christians, searching for meaningful advice about how to live in the world in which today they find themselves, will consult the Bible and will inevitably ponder what they read (in translation) in light of their contemporary concerns, their personal experience, and their own locale.” (Contemporary Jews and Christians, searching for meaningful advice about how to live in the world in which today they find themselves, will consult the Bible and will inevitably ponder what they read (in translation) in light of their contemporary concerns, their personal experience, and their own locale.” (J. Baird Callicott, “Genesis Revisited: Murian Musings on the Lynn White, Jr. Debate” in Environmental History Review, Vol. 14, No 1/2, 1989 Conference Papers, Part Two (Spring-Summer, 1990): 85.).

[66]                                    Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1976), 17.

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