I keep saying that some people raised on DH have now rejected it, and I named Gordon for one. Cassuto is another. I also named Whybray. I think. Anyway.
Whybray’s book mentions more than one person who supported DH but now reject it. He cites to Rendtorff and van Seters as finding problems with DH. Here are a few of the objections Whybray documents.
Probably the most damaging is that some now believe E never existed. They believe it doesn’t pass the test of Occam’s Razor; Whybray doesn’t say why not, he simply says they consider it an unnecessary complication. Some, who believe it might have existed, have decided that it was fragmentary or incomplete, meaning that their definition of complete does not match the “option 3” I floated some time ago. Some also believe that the remnants of E do not completely agree with E’s purported viewpoint.
Whybray points out that since 66% of the verses in Torah don’t have either name of Gd, that proposal cannot be implemented in assigning those verses. He says that scholars have declared that their assignments are correct if one of the other criteria holds. Just remember, it better not be “style and language” and it probably should not be “composites” or “repetitions” without a total overhaul of the criteria.
Another issue that Whybray documents is that the splitting has run amok. There are people “practicing” DH who have declared that they can determine the source of a single word without considering any other word around it in Torah. Remember my SWLT Rule 3, context is king. You can’t tell what a word means without context, as I showed in examining what “hypothesis” means. Let alone determine that it comes from this or that document without a sample of the purported source. This is a conjunction fallacy on steroids and none of the participants have realized it.
Whybray says that despite the original claim that there was no legal material in J, Wellhausen went back and realized that his presumed contents of JE had legal material in them. He decided that the legal material WAS in J, and got there AFTER J and E had been combined. Whybray probably didn’t realize that this is a perfect description of the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy. Fellow took a bet about his shooting, shoots at a barn, looks at the bullet-holes, then draws his target so that some of them fall in the center of it so as to claim the bet money. As a fallacy, it makes DH’s probability zero.
Finally, Whybray shows that modern critics know Graf was right, and the criteria of style, viewpoint, and unity are subjective. Nobody working in the DH field has to accept any other scholar’s claims because there is no objective way to determine that your rivals are wrong. A real science consists of objective standards that everybody accepts, absent evidence that change is required. Just another way DH needs to get its act together.
If you now ask whom to consult to find that agreement – you have just smacked into a modern problem with DH. Who are THE authorities in the field and how have they filled their bucket lists or earned their chops or whatever you want to call it? Where are they teaching and where can I get their textbooks? I mean, is there any red-blooded professor with tenure out there who hasn’t written a textbook? Get me a citation to something that incorporates 21st century material and doesn’t rely on translations. I haven’t seen one yet.
Ditching E doesn’t save DH. The probability that DH is true is calculated by multiplication because it is a conjunction, and the conjunction includes D and P as well as E. The probability of truth for every claim in DH, since none of them are supported by external evidence, multiplies out to an infinitesimal number. Which has to be multiplied by zero due to the fallacies in DH. DH is not true.© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2020 All Rights Reserved