Contributions To A New Theory Of The Composition Of The Pentateuch (III.) -- By: Harold M. Wiener

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 076:302 (Apr 1919)
Article: Contributions To A New Theory Of The Composition Of The Pentateuch (III.)
Author: Harold M. Wiener

Contributions To A New Theory Of The Composition Of The Pentateuch (III.)

Harold M. Wiener


In the preceding articles1 we saw reason to believe that the Peutateuch had at one time consisted of a library of small writings which underwent damage and derangement and were subsequently incorporated in scroll form. Editorial efforts to remedy matters tended to increase the confusion, and, combined with glossing, longer commentary, and the natural deterioration of a MS. text, helped to produce the state of affairs with which we are familiar. It was suggested that one of the methods to which editors might have resorted was rewriting.

In the interval which has elapsed since the publication of the second of these papers, a controversy has arisen about the date of the Exodus,2 in the course of which it was said that the question of the itinerary of Num. 33 would be examined after the writer’s demobilization. That promise it is now proposed to redeem.

The Samaritan recension of the Pentateuch throws considerable light on methods that were adopted in the editorial age; and, in considering any one of these, we have to ask ourselves, whether it was peculiar to the Samaritans, or whether they merely applied a mode of procedure that was or had been in vogue among the Jews. We have had several instances in which the latter proved to be the case. Glossing is common to both texts, and a comparison of the two often reveals on which side the expansion lies. The Samaritans are famous for their additions to

the texts of earlier books from Deuteronomy and parallel passages (as also to the text of Deuteronomy from the earlier books), and we found that in Num. 21:33–35 the Massoretic text shared their addition, which, however, was wanting in the Old Latin, and consequently in the Hebrew original of the LXX. We discovered that Ex. 30:1–10 was not in its proper position in our Hebrew; and, when we meet with it after 26:35 in the Samaritan, we recognize that both recensions alike have made unsuccessful attempts to discover its true position. Consequently, when we find the Samaritans adopting a particular editorial method, we cannot dismiss it offhand as something peculiar to them, and rule out the possibility of its having prevailed among the Jews. We must carefully examine the reasons for their conduct and the marks that distinguish their production, and we must then see whether the...

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