The Post-Mosaica Of Genesis -- By: Harold M. Wiener

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 068:269 (Jan 1911)
Article: The Post-Mosaica Of Genesis
Author: Harold M. Wiener


The Post-Mosaica Of Genesis

Harold M. Wiener

The application of textual criticism reduces the post-Mosaica of Genesis to a negligible quantity. We have seen that the Septuagintal evidence removes Genesis 22 from the category of passages that could have been written only after the time of Moses.1 Two of the other best-known passages are treated by Dr. Carpenter as the additions of glossators — in my opinion rightly. These are 12:6b (“And the Canaanite was then in the land”) and 13:7b (“And the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land”). In these passages “then” if interpreted to mean “then still” cannot be earlier than the time of Solomon; and this seems the more plausible interpretation. Another passage that should probably be regarded as a commentator’s addition is 36:31–39. Dr. Carpenter’s note on the first of these verses is as follows: “With this verse R introduces an extract 32–39 from a document wholly different in style from the context. Its source is unknown, but on the analogy of other passages of composite origin, e.g. x, it is provisionally assigned to J.”

With the exception of a single word the other texts on which the critics rely to prove the late date of Genesis all fail to do so when carefully examined. It is said that the use of the “sea” to denote the West points to a narrator who lived in Palestine. Thus we read in 12:8, “having Bethel on the sea side”; 13:14, “northward and southward and eastward and seaward.” The conclusion most certainly does not follow from the premise, for a narrator could easily picture to himself the geographical situation of Palestine, wherever he might

himself be living; but in point of fact the linguistic usage of “seaward “for “westward “is more probably to be explained by the incorporation in Genesis of stories that had come down from the patriarchal times with their language unchanged. A very strong instance of this occurs in 10:19:”As thou goest toward Sodom and Gomorrah and Admah and Zeboiim,” — a phrase that could not have originated after the destruction of the places named in Abraham’s time. In the face of such a passage as this no argument for late date can be drawn from the usage of the word “sea”; but a presumption of very early date arises.

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