The Pentateuchal Text, The Divine Appellations, And The Documentary Theory -- By: Harold M. Wiener

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 071:282 (Apr 1914)
Article: The Pentateuchal Text, The Divine Appellations, And The Documentary Theory
Author: Harold M. Wiener


The Pentateuchal Text, The Divine Appellations, And The Documentary Theory

A Reply To Dr. Skinner.

Harold M. Wiener

In the London Expositor for 1913 there will be found a series of six articles by Dr. John Skinner entitled “The Divine Names in Genesis.” They run from April to September, and in form they are a criticism of the first division of Dahse’s “Textkritische Materialien zur Hexateuchfrage,” and an attempt to defend the documentary theory against that portion of his assault which is contained in his discussion of the Divine appellations. The articles are limited to this question, all Dahse’s other arguments against the theory being ignored. I emphasize this at once, because in this matter the articles are palpably unfair. Neither Dahse nor any of his allies can be held in any way responsible for the suggestion that the conservatives deal with the Divine appellations alone, which underlies much of what Skinner has written. Dahse himself has published a short reply in the same periodical,1 and all who are interested in the subject should carefully consult this. But, in fact, certain portions of Skinner’s articles deal with the present writer’s work much more than with Dahse’s; and there are matters which,

for various reasons, must be treated in these pages, though I shall as far as possible avoid going over the same ground as Dahse. In the present discussion I abandon Skinner’s order, and select, in the first instance, the important article that appeared in August, 1913 (the fifth of the series), so as to begin with

The Problem Of The Samaritan Pentateuch

Some of the salient facts which must be known for the purpose of this inquiry are succinctly stated by Skinner as follows: —

“The Samaritan Pentateuch is a recension in Hebrew of the books of Moses, as used by the schismatic community whose religious centre was and still is the temple on Mount Gerizim at Shechem. Its MSS. are written in the Samaritan script — a degraded form of the original Hebrew alphabet; but otherwise they are simply a special group of Hebrew codices, and are in fact often treated as such by writers on the Old Testament text. The characteristic features of the recension appear in a series of intentional alterations of the parent text, due to editorial motives and tendencies. The most striking of these are, of course, the few changes introduced in defence of the legitimacy of the Samaritan temple and worship, Many alterations spring from the desire to produce a smoother, more intelligible and more consistent text: archaic or abnormal grammatical forms are eliminated, discords of gender a...

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