Elohim Outside the Pentateuch and Baum-Gärtel’s Investigation -- By: Harold M. Wiener

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 072:286 (Apr 1915)
Article: Elohim Outside the Pentateuch and Baum-Gärtel’s Investigation
Author: Harold M. Wiener


Elohim Outside the Pentateuch and Baum-Gärtel’s Investigation

Harold M. Wiener

The recent discussion of the bearing of textual criticism on Astruc’s clue and all that depends on it has brought into the field a new writer. As a student of theology at the University of Leipzig under Professor Kittel, Friedrich Baumgärtel competed for, and won, a prize given for an investigation as to the difference of the divine appellations in many books of the Old Testament in the academic year 1911–1912. He has since devoted further study to the subject, and now publishes the first fruits of his labors in the form of a preliminary investigation which is intended to clear the ground and lay the foundations for a later attempt to solve the main problem.1 This must constantly be borne in mind in a perusal of the book, for it explains many of its limitations. It also suggests the main lines that criticism of the work should take.

Baumgärtel is careful and temperate in tone. He goes a long way towards recognizing the importance of the issue that has been raised. “Opinions may differ as to how far all these attacks perhaps represent one-sided exaggeration or not: it is quite certain that the doubts expressed on textual

grounds as to the originality of the divine names of the Massoretic text touch a point which does in fact expose a manifest defect in previous investigations of the Pentateuch.” Then, after admitting that, “extraordinary as it may seem,” it is yet the fact that the division into sources on the ground of the divine appellations has been conducted in complete reliance on the trustworthiness of the Massoretic text without previous inquiry as to the soundness of the textual tradition in this matter, he continues: “It is quite comprehensible and very justifiable that the opponents of the current Pentateuch-al criticism lay full stress on this point. The question demands an answer: Are the names of God of the Massoretic text in the Pentateuch original, or have alterations taken place in them? Mere reference to the fact that the analysis operates with the assistance of other criteria—justified as it is — does not settle the question of the divine names. I should not like to maintain that the Pentateuchal theory stands or falls with the question of the textual certainty of the names of God. But I too go as far as this: if it can be seriously proved that reliance cannot be placed on the Divine Names of the Massoretic text considerable difficulties will arise in many passages: for the divine Name is very frequently used as at least significant for the analysis, often too as decisive by itself” (pp. 13 f.). This is plain speaking. The author h...

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