A Revised Date For Pentateuchal Texts? Evidence From Ketef Hinnom -- By: Erik Waaler

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 53:1 (NA 2002)
Article: A Revised Date For Pentateuchal Texts? Evidence From Ketef Hinnom
Author: Erik Waaler

A Revised Date For Pentateuchal Texts?
Evidence From Ketef Hinnom

Erik Waaler


The trend of OT scholarship is to date Pentateuchal texts to exilic or post-exilic times. The silver amulets from Ketef Hinnom may challenge this conclusion. Based on archaeological and palaeographic studies, the amulets are dated between 725 and 650 bc. The amulets contain material from the Priestly source (Nu. 6:24–26) as well as from the frame of Deuteronomy (Dt. 7:9). It is argued that the person who inscribed the silver plates is likely to have used a single source for these two quotations, a source that probably included more Pentateuchal material. Thus disparate Pentateuchal texts existed and were conjoined prior to the reform of Josiah. If it is reasonable to posit a lapse of time for this early version to become influential and the accidental inscription of the amulets to occur, the extended source text must be yet earlier.

Some decades ago the Ryland Papyrus sent an earthquake into New Testament research. Before this papyrus was published, several NT scholars dated the Gospel of John to the middle or late second century ad. The appearance of the Ryland Papyrus, dated to about ad 130, posed a serious obstacle to such a late dating of the Gospel of John.1 Most scholars today are of the opinion that the Gospel of John must

have been written before ad 100 and not a few would date it somewhat earlier.2

The silver amulets from Ketef Hinnom may pose a similar challenge to some theories concerning the Pentateuch.3 According to Wellhausen, the Pentateuch was written in the period from the 10th to the 5th centuries bc, with the Priestly source as the latest one added in the fifth century, and the main part of Deuteronomy dated to the time of Josiah (640–609 bc).4 Generally the Jahwist (J) has been dated to the 10th or 9th century,5 the Elohist (E) to the 9th or 8th,6 and the Priestly source (P) after the exile.7 Some dated Deuteronomy after the Priestly source.8 ‘The chronological sequence of J-E-D-P adopted by Wellhausen and others in the late ninetee...

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