The First Three Chapters Of Wellhausen’s Prolegomena -- By: Harold M. Wiener

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 066:264 (Oct 1909)
Article: The First Three Chapters Of Wellhausen’s Prolegomena
Author: Harold M. Wiener


The First Three Chapters Of Wellhausen’s Prolegomena

Harold M. Wiener

In the “Essays in Pentateuchal Criticism” the current analysis of the last four hooks of the Law was carefully tested. It is natural to follow them up with an examination of the main historical theory that has been reared on that analysis. I begin with Dr. Driver’s statement of one of the underlying postulates of that theory. He writes as follows on pages 145 and 146 of his “Deuteronomy”:—

“… .By ancient custom in Israel, slaughter and sacrifice were identical (cf. phil. note, below) : the flesh of domestic animals, such as the ox, the sheep, and the goat (as is still the case among the Arabs) was not eaten habitually; when it was eaten, the slaughter of the animal was a sacrificial act, and its flesh could not be lawfully partaken of, unless the fat and blood were first presented at an altar. … So long as local altars were legal in Canaan (Ex. 20:24), domestic animals slain for food in the country districts could be presented at one of them: with the limitation of all sacrifice to a central sanctuary, the old rule had necessarily to be relaxed; a distinction had to be drawn between slaughtering for food and slaughtering for sacrifice: the former was permitted freely in all places … the latter was prohibited except at the one sanctuary.”

Yet on page 145 itself Dr. Driver in the philological note referred to in the above extract explains that the word for “kill” in Deuteronomy 12:15 “denotes to slaughter simply,” and compares 1 Samuel 28:24; 1 Kings 19:21, i.e. two passages relating to times when, according to his

former note, non-sacrificial slaughter was unknown. I once had some correspondence with an eminent critic on this point, and after the exchange of some letters wrote as follows: —

On the question whether all slaughter was sacrificial, you write, “I have no hesitation in saying that in 1 Sam 28:24 there was a sacrifice.” No doubt the reason for your attitude is that you were away from books and could not refer to the other passages cited in my pamphlet. I would therefore specifically put the following questions to you which may decide you. (a) What reasons have you for saying there was a sacrifice in 1 Sam. 28:24? What evidence have you for your theory on this point? (6) Was there a sacrifice of the calf in You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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