The Stages of Development That Led to the Final Form of the Five Books of the Pentateuch

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 178
  • Published : April 14, 2012
Open Document
Text Preview
The ‘Documentary Hypothesis’ states that the Pentateuch is a series of parallel narrative documents that have been composed and edited together by various people over different centuries in time. Some scholars believe that the composition of the Pentateuch was complex with numerous changes and later additions. The stages of development that led to the final form of the five books of the Pentateuch , i.e.- the oral, written and editing stages, was interpreted by various people over a period of centuries. Prior to any written documentation, it is assumed that stories and traditions would have been retold orally. Even during the time from Abraham onwards (1750 B.C.E) when writing was in existence, it was only used by professionals in the service of rulers and temples, as the majority of the population could not read or write. This meant the stories of the Hebrews were still relayed orally through stories, poems and songs. This gave rise to embellishment and certain inaccuracies as the stories passed from one person to another and between generations. Many of the stories were told as a means of entertainment to larger gatherings and by parents to children. Over a long period of time these oral stories or traditions were brought together as collections and, in time, became the source for written material. The Pentateuch was probably contributed to by four sources commencing in the latter half of the tenth century B.C.E. They were the Yahwistic source (J), in the ninth century Elohistic source (E), the seventh century B.C.E Deuteronomist source (D), and the Priestly source (P) in the late sixth century B.C.E. As is evident, bringing the oral traditions into a written form was a complex and lengthy process spanning several centuries and calling upon different traditions, stories, narratives and laws, each with their own particular perspectives. Nevertheless, they did eventually all come together to form the Pentateuch which would have been edited by redactors...
tracking img