The Composition of the Pentateuch in Recent Research: A Teaching and Study Resource (By Me)

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Most of you know I took (and passed!!) my Ph.D. comps this past April and May (see HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE).  One of the questions I prepared–and answered–dealt with the history of scholarship on the composition of the Pentateuch, focusing especially upon the last 30 years.  This is certainly a still quite unsettled issue within scholarship, and it is a fascinating topic as well.  The overall trajectory has seen a movement away from traditional source criticism towards more tradition-historical approaches or even those emphasizing literary unity.

In working on this topic I did a great deal of reading, obviously.  I then synthesized and organized the information into a cogent, articulated response in outline form.  That larger, original outline was then wittled further from 12 pages down to 5.

Given the perpetual importance of this topic and the question, I have decided to share here, in .pdf format, each of the two outlines.  Please note these files, as well as anything on this blog, falls under the jurisdiction of Creative Commons Copyright law and is not to be reproduced or distributed without author’s consent.  Full attribution must be made to me as well. 

I would also be curious of your thoughts on the files, and how you plan to–or do–use them.

Here are the two files:

Outline 1 – Longer

Outline 2 – Shorter

Here is a bibliography of those sources which are treated in the outlines:

Blenkinsopp, Joseph. The Pentateuch: An Introduction to the First Five Books of the Bible. Anchor Bible Reference    Library. New York: Doubleday, 1992. 

Blum, Erhard. Die Komposition der Vätergeschichte. WMANT 57. Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukurchener Verlag, 1984. 

_________. Studien zur Komposition des Pentateuch. BZAW 189. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1990. 

Campbell, Anthony F. and Mark A. O’Brien. Sources of the Pentateuch: Texts, Introductions, Annotations. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993.

 _________. Rethinking the Pentateuch: Prolegomena to the Theology of Ancient Israel. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2005.

Carr, David M. Reading the Fractures of Genesis: Historical and Literary Approaches. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996.

 Clines, David J.A. The Theme of the Pentateuch. JSOTSupp 10. 2nd ed. Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1997.

 Dozeman, Thomas B. and Konrad Schmid, eds. A Farewell to the Yahwist? The Composition of the Pentateuch in Recent European Interpretation. SBL Symposium Series 34. Atlanta: SBL, 2006.

Mann, Thomas W. The Book of the Torah: The Narrative Integrity of the Pentateuch. Atlanta: John Knox, 1988.

Noth, Martin. The Deuteronomistic History. Sheffield: University of Sheffield, 1981.

_________. A History of Pentateuchal Traditions. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1972.

Rendtorff, Rolf. The Problem of the Process of Transmission in the Pentateuch. JSOTSupp 89. Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1990.

 Van Seters, John. The Pentateuch: A Social-Science Commentary. Trajectories 1. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999.

Von Rad, Gerhard. “The Form-Critical Problem of the Hexateuch.” Pages 1-78 in The Problem of the Hexateuch and Other Essays. London: SCM Press, 1966.

Wellhausen, Julius. Prolegomena to the History of Israel. New York: Meridian Books, 1957.

Whybray, Roger N. The Making of the Pentateuch: A Methodological Study JSOTSupp 53. Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1987.

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21 thoughts on “The Composition of the Pentateuch in Recent Research: A Teaching and Study Resource (By Me)

    ben said:
    August 13, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    This is a great resource John. I have not read up in this area as much as I would like, but I plan on perusing your notes and expanding my own reading from there. Thanks for making this available.

    [...] resources, The Torah John Anderson has produced a wonderful resource for us all to benefit from here. Thanks for being selfless, John. That must mean your a Christian. For as the syllogism [...]

    John Anderson responded:
    August 14, 2009 at 7:32 am

    Thanks, Ben! I do hope you find the files to be helpful!

    Phil Sumpter said:
    August 14, 2009 at 8:53 am

    Your blog is quickly becoming one of my favourites. Thanks for this.

    John Anderson responded:
    August 14, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Thanks, Phil! It’s good to have you around again!

    Roy "Eli" Garton said:
    August 14, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Hey, man! The more you pass that stufff around, the less I’m able to plagiarize it for comps! On second thought, I’d never jeopardize my comps by copying such questionable scholarship!

    Just razzing you, John! :)

    John Anderson responded:
    August 14, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Roy: I know you’re just razzing me, buddy. Trust me, I’ve read your work! (ha!).

    Christopher Heard said:
    August 14, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    If you’re going to distribute material like this, instead of making requests like the ones in paragraph 3, consider releasing it under a Creative Commons license. In this case, you’d want an attribution non-commercial share-alike license.

      John Anderson responded:
      August 14, 2009 at 1:31 pm

      Chris, can you clarify a bit of this for me? Perhaps via email? You should have my address. I am interested. Thanks!

      Joseph Kelly said:
      August 14, 2009 at 4:30 pm

      Well, Chris beat me to the punch. I was going to make the same recommendation. Below is the link for the type of license Chris was talking about, for John or whoever else is interested.

      http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/

    יהוה מלך said:
    August 14, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    [...] 2009 August 14 tags: John Anderson, Pentateuch, Scholarship by Richard Do check out John Anderson’s history of Pentateuchal scholarship here. [...]

    Phil Sumpter said:
    August 15, 2009 at 7:05 am

    I’ve got one on my blog. You can see in on the sidebar. I know that John Hobbins has one to.

    anummabrooke said:
    August 16, 2009 at 8:03 am

    John, I also have a CC notice (my right sidebar). In my case, it boils down to: you can share my work with others, if you credit me with it, make no money off it, and don’t make changes to it or build new works from it.

    Note that when you create you CC license, you make your own choices about each of these questions: whether readers credit you when they distribute it; whether they can use it commercially; whether they can alter or build on it.

    Excellent outline, by the way! I see a few gaps in my reading that I look forward to filling.

    [...] of the classical documentary hypothesis as the cutting-edge norm in Pentateuchal studies (see HERE for why).  To be fair, Gottwald does begin with the traditions and thus oral history, but he still [...]

    [...] There are surely other reasons, but this is Whybray’s list, a very fine one at that.  For more on Pentateuchal composition, see my work HERE. [...]

    [...] Hypothesis and subsequent attempts at explaining Pentateuchal composition.  See HERE and HERE for earlier posts in what has now become a [...]

    Pacquiao Margarito said:
    October 30, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    Hey John, thanks for the wonderful blog. I shared it to my friends on facebook and twitter and they also appreciated your work.

    Whybray and Oral Transmission « James’ Ramblings said:
    February 17, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    [...] has an extensive outline on the history of scholarship regarding the composition of the Pentateuch here (this focuses on the past thirty years).  I’ll definitely be using his outline as I study [...]

    [...] for a reading list or summary of the state of the field, the blog Hesed we ‘Emet posted his doctoral comprehensive reading list and also posted his summaries of the reading in long and short versions. From his notes you can [...]

    Richard said:
    August 30, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Was good to re-read this! Am in the midst of working on an essay on J.

    jwabels said:
    June 27, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    I am working my way through Albertz’ A History of Israelite Religion in the OT Period, and wanted some more information on the formation of the Pentateuch. You have posted such a thorough outline; now I definitely have my reading cut out for me now.
    I Thank you, I think.

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