Harold Marcus Wiener.

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A. MJi'AI'







" As a whoie, these ' Studies ' are of unusual worth. They ao
complish for certain Old Testament themes what Greenleaf, Lyt-

tleton, and West did in New Testament lines no one will doubt

that the author has attempted a most important task and has
succeeded well. He has done much to clear the atmosphere where
there was overmuch fog. The work deserves to be well known
among all students of the older part of God's Word."— Review and

" It is bold and refreshing .... our writer goes over ground
trodden nearly two thousand years ago by the sages of the Mish-
uah ; but he strikes out his own line and stands forth much more
logical than the old Pharisaic doctors."— 2Vew York Evening Post

"There is no doubt that in this examination of the Biblical jural
laws Mr. Wiener has opened up a new and valuable source of infor-
mation as to the dates of the various books of the Pentateuch." —

" both novel and interesting The method employed is an in-
genious and skillful application of the principles of legal interpre-
tation to texts in apparent connkV— Harvard Laic Review.

" In the simplest and quietest way, though with a very firm
grasp of the subject, the author shows the impossibilities, and in
some cases the real absurdities, of certain contentions of modern

criticism; and in our judgment he clearly convicts the writers

referred to of sacrificing reality and common-sense to matters of
philological theory. . . . We recommend this volume to the careful
attention of our readers." — Churchman (London).

"Altogether the volume is one of great importance and value." —
Bihliotheca Sacra.


57-59 LONG ACRE.


Essays in
Pentateuchal Criticism














The chapters of this book have already appeared as articles
in the Bihliothcca Sacra for 1908 and 1909. The first five
chapters were published as a series under the title " Essays in
Pentateuchal Criticism " ; the sixth was written as a sequel to
that series and retains that character in the present volume.
A few slips have been corrected, and the discussion of the clue
to the documents has now been placed in its proper position,
but no substantial changes have been effected.

It may, I think, fairly be said that the general critical posi-
tion represented by this volume differs from the positions gen-
erally held in two fundamental respects.

First, there is the attitude adopted towards textual criti-
cism. In dealing with writings that have for many centuries
depended on a MS. text, the first step must be to use all the
available material with a view to ascertaining what the authors
actually wrote. In the case of the Pentateuch this precaution
has hitherto been neglected. The result is that at the present
day Pentateuchal studies are conducted on lines to which it
would be difficult to find a parallel in any other field of re-
search. Take, for example, Astruc's famous clue, the use of
the Divine appellations in the book of Genesis. As is shown

X Preface.

in these pages, there exists material to prove that in an enor-
mous number of instances the Massoretic text is quite unre-
Hable in regard to these appellations. The publication of this
discussion in the Bibliotheca Sacra led to an interesting series
of notes in the Expository Times (May, July, September,
1909). At the moment of writing it would seem that the dis-
ciples of Astruc can make no reply to the notes in the July
and September issue?, and Professor Schlogl's statement in
the latter of these, that it is " quite unscientific to determine
the analysis of a source by the names of God," has remained
unchallenged. Private communications have satisfied me that
at any rate some eminent partisans of the Graf-Wellhausen
hypothesis are unwilling to attempt any defense of Astruc's
clue, and Dr. Volz's reviews of Eerdmans's recent book on
Genesis tend in the same direction. It is significant that Dr.
Driver makes no reference whatever to the subject in his
" Additions and Corrections in the Seventh Edition of the
Book of Genesis," although, as the preface is dated August
2, 1909, he can hardly have been unacquainted with it. It
may safely be said that in this case silence will not prove an
effectual defense against new knowledge.

The lesson taught by the history of Astruc's clue is driven
home by other investigations. A number of further instances
where a textual criticism that relies mainly on the extant evi-
dence is able to dispose of century-old ^difficulties will be
found in this volume (see especially pp. 114-138). Since it
was written I have conducted some inquiries which reaffirm
the lesson, and I hope to continue my examination of the crit-
ical case in future numbers of the Bibliotheca Sacra and else-
where. So far as I have gone, I have found the evidence ever
more favorable to a view that would attribute the narrative
difficulties of the Pentateuch not to a variety of sources but to

Preface. xi

the influences that normally operate on every MS. text that
is assiduously copied. The only reasonable basis for scholarly
work must be a scientific critical text, and the successful for-
mation of that text will be possible only if the principles of
impartiality and economy of conjecture are rigorously ap-

The second great differentia of my position lies in the view
I take of the first principles of all scholarship. For example,
I hold that technical investigations require for their success-
ful conduct technical training. Is it possible that in our own
days a reconstruction of the history of Israel that rests on a
neglect to examine the available evidence and an inability to
distinguish between a mound and a house should have found
world-wide acceptance? The ordinary higher critic and the
ordinary conservative alike would answer in the negative.
The critic would say that the question was too preposterous
to require an answer; the conservative v/ould regard it as
suggesting an idea that from his point of view was too good
to be true. Yet if either will be at the pains of carefully
studying the sixth chapter of this volume together with the
book it criticizes, he will perhaps realize that the answer to
the question must ultimately be in the affirmative. Here,
again, I know from private communications that when pressed
with the main arguments put forward in the present discus-
sion higher critics have no reply ; but, so far as I am aware,
no public attempt has ever been made on their side to deal
with my points.

I cannot close this preface without acknowledging the debt
that this book owes to the writings of that distinguished orna-
ment of his University and his Church, Professor A. Van
Hoonacker of Louvain. The influence that he has exerted on
the lines of my study has been far greater than appears from

xii Preface.

the references to hiin, for it has been of a stimulating and
suggestive kind that has usually led me to conclusions differ-
ing more or less materially from his own.


9 Old Squake,

Lincoln's Inn, W. C.

29 October, 1909.



Pbeface ix

Chapteb I 1

Introductory 1

The " Clue " to the " Documents " .... 4

Chapter II 57

Egypt or Goshen 57

The Story of Moses 60

Moses and Aaron or Moses 64

The Ministry of the Sanctuary 66

The Rod 70

The Plagues 72

The So-called Literary Evidence 78

Chapter III 82

The Cloud 82

The Glory 90

The Position of the Ark 90

The Tent of Meeting 93

The Analysis of the Narrative Exodus xiii.-Numbers

xn 102

Chapter IV 114

The Concluding Chapters of Numbers .... 114

The Mission of the Spies 138

KoRAH, Dathan, and Abiram 143

The Balaam Narrative 146

The Other Alleged Discrepancies in Narrative between

Deuteronomy and Exodus-Numbers . . . 147

xiv Contents.


Chapter V . 155

The Numbers of the Israelites 155

The War with Midian 169

Conclusion . . 171

Chapter VI. The First Three Chapters of Wellhausen's

Prolegomena . 175

Index I. (Texts) 227

Index II. (Subjects) 285

Sketch Map of the Region of the Forty Years' Wan-
dering OF the Children of Israel . . . .115

Page 8, line 19, for xxx., read xxxii.

Page 17, line 14, and line 1 of the footnote, for pronoun,




It is often said by supporters of the higher critical hypothe-
sis at present current in many theological schools that the
dominant theories are based on the cumulative effect of a vast
body of evidence adduced from many different lines of inquiry,
and that, if modern scholarship be worth anything at all, the
views of the Wellhausen school must be held to be established
beyond all possibility of doubt. These contentions are not
entirely baseless, although the truth is very far removed from
the meaning of those who maintain them. It is the fact that
the higher critics have purported to conduct many different
inquiries; but it is also the fact that they rarely succeed in
making an accurate statement on any subject that has a bear-
ing on their main hypothesis. Indeed, if accuracy, care, thor-
oughness, impartiality, be essential elements in scholarship —
and we apprehend that we shall find much support for the opin-
ion that they are — these men are not scholars. Let there be no
mistake as to our meaning. Nothing is further from our
thoughts than to suggest that these writers have any con-
sciousness of their own deficiencies. On the contrary, they
are all of them sincerely impressed with the (supposed) ex-
cellence of the work done by themselves and their friends.
They honestly believe that they are careful, accurate, impartial

2 Essays in Pentatenchal Criticism.

scholars, and that those who differ from them are either Wind-
ed by theological prejudice, or else unacquainted with the facts,
or otherwise incapacitated from forming a sound judgment.
As they regard their own laborious achievements, they are
filled with honorable pride and admiration, and, believing
themselves to be great scholars, they naturally fail to realize
that any other view is possible.

Nevertheless, as already stated, we have been led to form a
very different estimate of these men and their work. While
recognizing the transparent sincerity that inspires most of
them, we have found on occasions when we have tested their
work that an overwhelming majority of their statements on
relevant matters of fact were untrue,^ and to our mind the
vast body of evidence adduced only supplies cumulative proof
of the incompetence of those Vv^ho advance it.

It is, of course, singularly easy to bring these divergent
opinions to the test. If we be right in holding that an over-
whelming majority of the relevant statements made by the
critics are untrue, there can be no difficulty (given the neces-
sary time) in bringing home to them such a body of false alle-
gations on matters of fact as shall suffice to convince any
impartial observer of their incompetence. We have on many
previous occasions dealt with numbers of their allegations in
this way. It is the object of these essays to investigate a fur-
ther batch of their assertions — primarily those respecting the
main difficulties alleged in regard to the narrative of the last
four books of the Pentateuch — and the analysis which is based
on those assertions. To this end we propose to use a book,
commonly called the Oxford Hexateuch,^ which better than

1 For an account of some of the causes of this phenomenon, see the
Princeton Theological Review, October, 1907, pp. GIO £f.

= The Ilexateuch according to the Revised Version. Arranged
in its Constituent Documents by Members of the Society of Histor-

Essays in Pcntatenchal Criticism. 3

any other English work represents the position of the Well-
haiisen school in regard to the Pentateuch, and to deal with
the various topics raised in its notes oni the narrative sections
of the last four books. We shall omit small and unimportant
points, and questions which relate to textual criticism rather
than higher criticism (so far as these two can be sundered),
and we shall supplement that work with other books, especial-
ly the volume on Numbers contributed to the International
Critical Commentary by Dr. George Buchanan Gray and the
commentary on Deuteronomy in the same series from the pen
of Dr. Samuel Rolles Driver. The arrangement of the sub-
jects will be dictated solely by convenience. It is not practi-
cable to adhere closely to the order of the commentary, as a
single difficulty often affects a group of passages scattered
over the Pentateuch ; but we hope to deal with every really
important allegation as to discrepancies in the narrative of the
last four books of the Pentateuch before closing these essays.
To make the inquiry intelligible to those who are not ac-
quainted with the higher critical case, a bald outline of their
theory must be given. There were in existence at some time
during the Hebrew monarchy two documents denoted respec-
tively by the symbols J and E. Each of these documents
must be conceived as the work of a school of prophetic writers
rather than as the product of individual effort. A redactor
(Rje) combined these documents into a single work called JE,
which cannot always be resolved into its component elements.
In doing so he selected portions now of one document and
now of another, rejecting whatever was unnecessary for his
ical Theology, Oxford. Edited ... by J. Estliii Carpenter and G. Har-
ford-Battersby. 2 vols. London, New York, and Bombay: Longmans,
Green & Co. 1900. Mr. Carpenter writes the Introduction and Notes.
A second edition of the Introduction (but without the text) has
appeared under the name of " The Composition of the Hexateuch "
(1902), and will be referred to where necessary.

4 Essays in Pentateuchal Criticism.

purpose, and sometimes writing or rewriting a section himself.
Later on, the bulk of Deuteronomy was produced by a pro-
phetical school (D). This was combined with JE, yielding
JED, and a Deuteronomic redactor (R

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Online LibraryHarold Marcus WienerEssays in Pentateuchal criticism → online text (page 1 of 20)