Stray Notes On Deuteronomy -- By: Harold M. Wiener

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 071:283 (Jul 1914)
Article: Stray Notes On Deuteronomy
Author: Harold M. Wiener


Stray Notes On Deuteronomy

Harold M. Wiener

The main arguments for the critical dating of the book of Deuteronomy have been answered again and again, and though the critics repeat their parrot cries about assured results not one of them has yet been found to defend the Wellhausen case against the conservative arguments in public controversy.1 It is, therefore, not my object in this paper to travel once more over the well-worn road along which many a coach and four has been driven through the pet theories of men who have not yet shown either the courage to examine their opponents’ case or the intelligence to perceive! how fatal their course must be to their own reputations. Rather do I desire to wander along some of the byways to which few students seem to be attracted.

The general condition of the textual witnesses in Deuteronomy is, on the whole, very similar to that in the earlier books. Once more we find the Vulgate acting as an invaluable guide to the tracing of many glosses. Once more we

have to deal with groups of Septuagintal MSS. I have examined some of the most interesting features of a few chapters and propose to give here a few results. In view of the interest aroused by the controversy respecting the Divine appellations, it will not be amiss to begin with an examination of what a chapter or two of Deuteronomy has to teach us on this subject. I select the speech of Moses in chapters 29 and 30 for this purpose, and in the following table use J and E to represent the Tetragrammaton and Elohim respectively. The Washington MS. is denoted by θ. For the most part differences between “your” and “thy,” etc., are not noticed.

Certain points stand out clearly from this table. In the first place, there is only one passage in which any considerable body of authority differs on the actual question whether J or E should be read, viz. 29:19. All the other instances are examples of omission or insertion. Secondly, there seems to be a considerable tendency to gloss- either by assimilating J to J (our, your, thy) E, or else by inserting Divine appellations where they are totally unnecessary. In fact, these chapters of Deuteronomy reinforce the lessons that we have already learnt in other fields, and show the principles that we have seen at work elsewhere operating in a passage where no documentary theory is founded on the peculiarities of the Massoretic text in this matter. They suggest, also, that a tendency was at work on the different texts to intr...

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