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

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 077:307 (Jul 1920)
Article: Contributions To A New Theory Of The Composition Of The Pentateuch (IV.)
Author: Harold M. Wiener

Contributions To A New Theory Of The Composition Of The Pentateuch (IV.)1

Harold M. Wiener


More than once reference has been made in these articles to longer commentary as a factor in the formation of our present Pentateuch. It is now proposed to examine this in rather more detail. In principle there is no distinction between longer commentary and the writing of short, isolated glosses. Both are equally the result of editorial effort, — in many cases doubtless by the same persons. It is merely as a matter of convenience that this subject is treated separately. In practice there is an appreciable difference between filling out or explaining a word or a sentence and inserting a note containing new information; and though these two branches of editorial activity run into each other, and no scientific division is feasible, yet it is conducive to clearness to put together a certain amount of information relating to longer or more systematized efforts in a separate section.

That men should have written notes on the Bible in old times is in itself not at all strange or improbable. It would be surprising if they had failed to do so. There is, therefore, no a priori objection to the hypothesis that our Pentateuchs contain matter of this character. But Biblical studies have been victimized by so many rash and improbable theories during the last 170 years that it is desirable to insist on rigorous proof that such commenting is an indubitable fact. There must always be a number of border-line cases on which different minds may take divergent views, but it is necessary to show by evidence that there is matter in the Pentateuch which is indubitably due to this cause.

We may begin by pointing out that the LXX proves the presence of late additions in the MT. An instance may be taken which has already been noticed elsewhere.2 Driver (ad loc.) notes that Gen 21:15 “clearly implies that Ishmael was being carried by his mother, although according to 16:16, 21:5, 8, he must have been at least 15 years old.” When we consult the larger Cambridge Septuagint, however, we see that chronological notes, made after the separation of the original Hebrew used by the Greek translators, are responsible for the difficulty. In 16:3, dp omit the words “after ten years of Abram’s dwelling in the land of Canaan and.” The originality of their text is...

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