Page images

works have reached me, viz. :-Dr. Driver's Introduction to the 0. T., Cornill's Einleitung in das A. T., and the German Translation of the 0. T., with marks in the margin to distinguish the documents of the Hexateuch by Kautzsch and a committee of other scholars. My regret that I did not receive these works in time for use is outweighed by the solid satisfaction of finding my conclusions confirmed by these great and independent authorities. I never for a moment doubted that the principles followed in this little work are sound and sure. Still the uniform agreement between Kautzsch's edition of the Hexateuch documents and my own on all important points, the constant agreement even in minute detail, has, I own, surprised and delighted me.

I hope to issue Part II., which will complete the whole work, early next year; meantime let the reader observe that the most difficult and important division of the labour is already before him. The Oldest Book' is a composite work, in which it is a difficult and often hopeless task to disentangle the Jahvist and Elohist documents. The Deuteronomical code and narratives are written in a style comparatively uniform. About the Priestly history and code there is little room for divergence of opinion. They stand out clear, consistent, uniform in style, complete. No man who sees the results can doubt that he is dealing with an independent document.

MELBOURNE, June 1892.





The word Pentateuch (ή πεντάτευχος βίβλος) means literally 'the book in five volumes. It is the title given to the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. It was adopted by the Jews who spoke Greek, and passed from them first to the Greek, and then to the Latin Christians. It corresponds to the name current among the Jews who continued to read their Scriptures in the original Hebrew, viz., •The five fifths of the law. The name Pentateuch implies two things, first, that the writings so called contain a connected history, beginning with the creation of the world and ending with the death of Moses : secondly, that the history falls into five divisions, generally known among Christians by the names which they bear in the Greek translation, viz., Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and among Jews by the Hebrew words with which each separate book opens. We cannot say for certain when first these books were regarded as a whole divided into five parts. The division was known to Josephus (born 37 or 38 A.D.), but is probably much older than his time. The principle of the division is natural and obvious : it seems to have served as a model to the unknown scribe who completed the collection of Psalms, which are also divided into five books, and it is quite possible that the arrangement in five books dates from the time when the final editor united the various documents of which the Pentateuch is composed into one, and so

gave to the text that form which it has retained substantially ever since.

Nevertheless, it is necessary for critical purposes to speak, not of the Pentateuch, but of the Hexateuch-i.e. not of the five, but of the six books. The reason is that a critic cannot investigate the origin of the Pentateuch apart from that of the book of Joshua. It will be shown afterwards that the Pentateuch consists of several documents originally independent of each other, but finally, with various omissions, additions, and alterations, pieced together so as to form one continuous history. Now, it has long been seen, and the fact is acknowledged by all who admit the composite character of the Pentateuch, that these primary documents did not close with the death of Moses. They related the conquest of Canaan and the settlement of the Israelites in the territory west of the Jordan. We are able to distinguish the documents of the Pentateuch by divergences of vocabulary and literary style, by their different and frequently contradictory views of history and religion, by the fact that we find the same statement made or the same story told twice over; and are therefore driven to the inference that we are dealing with more than one narrator, and that the superficial appearance of unity is fallacious. Precisely the same phenomena recur in the book of Joshua. Not only so; when we have separated and studied the documents in the Pentateuch, we become familiar with their peculiarities of thought and style. These same peculiarities are continued in Joshua : there are, moreover, verses in Joshua which are scarcely intelligible without verses in Genesis, and verses in Genesis which are incomplete without verses in Joshua. Hence we are obliged to extend our inquiries, and to speak, not of the Pentateuch, but of the Hexateuch. It is the object of this Introduction to point out the way in which we can distinguish the various documents out of which this Hexateuch has arisen and can determine with more or less probability their relations, their origin, and their dates. It will be best to begin by tracing the history of opinion.

« PreviousContinue »