A comparative study of the early sources of the Pentateuch and the early historical books

Macaulay, Ian MacDonald (1967) A comparative study of the early sources of the Pentateuch and the early historical books. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

In the introduction it is stated that there are two aspects of the inquiry literary - analysis and theology The composite nature of the literature is emphasised and modern developments in literary analysis as seen in the woi of Pfeiffer, Eissfeldt and Simpson are considered. In the thesis their analyses are noted. The thesis recognises the importance of oral tradition and the history of traditions and finds that these are warnings against a too narrow literary criticism. The second aspect of the inquiry concerns theology for the literary deposit is theological literature. The thesis combines a literary critical and a thematic approach to the literature. In the first part of the thesis the passages in the Pentateuch which do not belong to the Priestly writer are examined. The various analyses suggested by scholars are carefully considered and the commonly accepted analysis is used. Without a careful delimitation of the early sources the derivation of notable characteristics could be misleading and could lead to false comparisons with the notable characteristics derived later from the early historical books. The analysis does not seek to be an exact diagnosis and there are few instances of verse-splitting or atomising of passages. An attempt is made to ascertain the criteria employe by scholars in reaching their often conflicting analyses. The criteria are not always made clear by critics. Linguistic, literary, material and representational criteri are quoted in the analyses. For the purposes of the thesis the representational criteria are the most important After the Pentateuchal passage is analysed the notable characteristics of the detected sources are listed. These show that the Yahwist and the Elohist have distincti theological points of view. The differential characteristics of J and E involve revelation, judgment and mercy, providence, the promises of God, the miraculous, universalism, attitude to foreigne nomadism, the place of Moses, prophecy, kingship, the cult and morals. In the second part of the thesis the early historical books i.e. Joshua, Judges and 1 Samuel 1 - 12 are examined in the light of the differential characteristics of J and E, as seen from the first part of the thesis. Points of comparison arise with regard to the Promised Land, the miraculous, kingship, revelation, attitude to foreigners, the cult. Various factors however do not lead one to support a theory of the continuation of the early sources of the Pentateuch in the early historical books. The different situations described in the historical books lead one to feel that one is in a different world, described with a different style, from that in the Pentateuch. The narratives in the historical books seem to have a separate existence which belies the activity of the creative mind which the Yahwist, in particular, clearly displays in the Pentateuch. Moreover, the Elohistic and Deuteronomistic thinking is so similar that it is difficult to trace distinctive characteristics of the Elohist in the historica books. The conclusion is that it is in terms of the influen rather than of the continuation of the early Pentateuchal sources that one should regard the bulk of the early sources of the early historical books. It is probably only in differing attitudes to the Conquest and to the monarchy that there are sound grounds for detecting the presence of J and E in the early historic books. A stronger case can be made in the Conquest narratives because of the prominence given to the fulfilmen of the promise of land in the early Pentateuchal sources.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Religion, Religious history
Date of Award: 1967
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1967-72377
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 24 May 2019 15:12
Last Modified: 24 May 2019 15:12
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/72377

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