« PreviousContinue »
Jos, xxiv.) embodying the Book of Judgments; but Dh has followed the model much more closely than Dp. The latter, in fact, dwells purely in the field of present-day sermonic exhortation. When now Deuteronomy was at last attached to JE, the compiler, Rd, not only took up both envelopes of the code, combining them as best he could, but rescued the Book of Judgments by giving it a place in Ex. xxif., and, loath to lose any historical material in the process, attached the fragments of E's Urdenteronomium where he could find a place for them (see Prolegomena to vii.). This is not mere free-hand conjecture, for the method of Rd has been traced elsewhere, and in all cases, Exodus, Joshua, Judges, I and II Samuel it is marked by an apparent determination to rescue at almost any cost of incongruity in the resultant complex, the surviving fragments of the preëxilic literature. To Rd, or rather to one of the later hands of this long continued school, according to Budde and Cornill, we owe the reincorporation of much important material rejected by Rje, or earlier Deuteronomic hands. This seems to be the history of J's version of the Words of the Covenant, Ex. xxxiv.; of the E fragments in Dt. i. 1; x. 6f. ; xxv, 17 -19 ; xxvii, 1–8, 11-13 ; xxxi. 14f., 23 ; of Jud. i. and the concluding chh. of the book ; and of nearly one-fourth of the entire bulk of I and II Samuel. Although when first propounded by Budde in the case of the older elements of J in Gen. i. -xii. this theory of reincorporation was met almost with ridicule by so great a critic as Kuenen, who borrowed from Darwin the term “survival ” to describe it, such a “theory of survivals " is really the reverse of improbable or unexampled A noted New Testament instance appears, in fact, in the story of the adulterous woman, John viii. iff. For when a redactor for any reason strikes out a passage in the copy of a work in his possession, there must remain of necessity a considerable number of copies of the same work, not in his possession, in which it still subsists. When now the new and (generally) enlarged edition begins to supersede the older and less popular, there is a very strong tendency for anything omitted, if not very palpably superfluous, or otherwise objectionable, to find its way back ; the constant tendency of ancient writings being to accumulate.
We can scarcely assign a limit to the Deuteronomic redaction ; for processes exhibiting its principles, standpoint and style continued to affect the text down to a date even subsequent to the Greek translation. It appears thus as partly contemporaneous with the priestly, and sometimes presupposes the priestly elements, as in Num. xxxii. gff. ; * (Dt. iv. ?) Jos. xx. 46 (wanting in LXX).
The most important work of Rd was the combination of the Deuteronomic Code, inclosed in its double setting, with JE ; and this of course necessitated thorough revision of the earlier legislation (though Genesis could be left untouched save in xxvi. 5); some adjustment of the preceding narrative (cf. e. g. Num. xxi. 33–35 with Dt. iii. 1-3 and Num. xxxii. with Jos. xxii.), and a drastic working over of the subsequent narrative, as supposedly controlled by the Deuteronomic law. The attachment of the Song of Moses Dt. xxxii. 1-43, while doubtless preceding Rp, seems to have been subsequent to this work of combination by Rd, for it is provided with an independent introduction and subscript in xxxi. 16-22 ; xxxii. 44.
Its consideration belongs therefore with the history of Deuteronomy.
Ezra's “ book of the law of his God” which he came author. ized by the Persian government to introduce in the feeble colony at Jerusalem, and which was ultimately solemnly enacted there, was almost certainly a priestly code, pure and simple, which was not amalgamated until later with the preëxisting Deuteronomic Torah JED. This final process of redaction was of course not undertaken until Ezra's Law-book had itself undergone the necessary and inevitable processes of supplementation and adjustment to practical requirement which any complete system of law is sure to undergo. The most important addition of Rp to P2 was the preëxisting priestly Torah, the Law of Holiness (P), the greater part of which now forms the nucleus of Leviticus in chh, xvii.-xxvi. Other and exten
* Indicated in the text by the use of small italics.
sive novellae were doubtless attached to it before the work of R began, but these do not belong to our present subject.
The work of R, the final redactor of JEDP shows that to him P was preëminently the sacred code. Its views and phraseology are shared by him, and in cases of duplication he almost invariably sacrifices the older work to P, making the latter the groundwork ” of the entire structure. Under such conditions it is not difficult to distinguish and to characterize his work. It was thorough and comprehensive, but even towards JED manifests a scrupulous, not to say devout, regard for the material. It was unavoidable on this plan that JED's account of things which could not be told twice over, such as the construction of the ark, and deaths of the patriarchs, should be stricken out; but so far as possible the divergent traits of JED were preserved and inserted where room could be found, dislocating to some extent the earlier narrative, as in Num. xx. iff., but preserving the material to the verge of self-contradiction (cf. Num. xvi. 28-34, with vs. 35 and xxvi. 11). Examples of R's work in Genesis appear generally in slight touches of adjustment, but xxxvi. 1-5 is substantially his, and xlvi. 8–27 also, if not from P3. Similar light touches appear in the later books, where, as in Num. xvi. ; xx. 1-13 ; Dt. i. 3 ; iv. 41-43, the narratives came into close contact. The difficulty is to distinguish R from Ps, whose supplementations extended, as Popper has shown by a comparison of the LXX. text of Ex. xxxv.-xl. with the Massoretic, down to the third century B. C. But these latest occasional touches have scarcely affected the narrative, which received practically its final form at the hands of R, probably not far from the close of the fifth century B. C.
If there is one feature of the Documentary Theory which appears to be more offensive than another to the advocates of tradition it would seem to be the doctrine of repeated redactions of the text, which we have thus endeavored to set in outline before the reader. For some reason it appears to them incompatible with any view of divine authorship of the Bible. And yet it is to the very same principle of redaction that they have recourse when the improbability of Moses' writing the account of his own death is pointed out, or when appeal is made to the innumerable post-Mosaica alluded to in our preceding volume. These are explained as the work of later hands. In fact the phenomena of redaction become absolutely undeniable the moment we reach the epoch where comparison is possible with parallel versions and texts. But why should divine authorship be incompatible with an almost continuous process of human redaction? When through the extrication of J's inherently credible story of the passage of the Red Sea the divine element in the event-shall we say “ sinks "? nay—rises to the level of providential instead of miraculous intervention, the story becomes not less, but more truly a manifestation of “God in history." In like manner, when deposits of the three great streams of religious thought of Ephraim, Judah and post-exilic Judaism gradually accumulate under providential control and guidance into the Bible of Jesus and the apostles, the resultant literary composite is more than ever entitled to be called the product of no mere human wisdom. It is seen to be a work and word of God, slowly-developed through many ages of his self-manifestation in Hebrew thought and literature.