Rationalist critics of the Wellhausen school have attempted to include Joshua with the five books of the Pentateuch, calling the whole collection the Hexateuch. They consider the basic material to come from J and E, but with considerable editorial work and redaction by the “Deuteronomic School.” DH: Deuteronomistic history (books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings) dated to the 6th–5th century BCE, not the 16th-15th. Is this true? How do we respond to these liberal critics with a rational, reasonable answer?
The documentary hypothesis is one of the models used by biblical scholars to explain the origins and composition of the Torah. A version of the documentary hypothesis, frequently identified with the German scholar Julius Wellhausen, was almost universally accepted for most of the 20th century.
The Documentary Hypothesis is a theory, also known as JEDP, that states that the first five books of the Bible, called the Pentateuch consisting of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, were not written completely by Moses but by different authors.
The Documentary Hypothesis—the theory that the Pentateuch was a compilation of selections from several different written documents composed at different places and times over a period of five centuries, long after Moses.
Jeremiah began his ministry at about twenty years of age in the thirteenth year of Josiah, that is, 626 B.C. For the greater part of his life he lived in his hometown of Anathoth (for he was of a priestly family) and appeared at Jerusalem at the annual feast days of the Jewish religious year.
As recently as the eighth edition of Driver’s ILOT, the genuineness of Ezekiel had been accepted as completely authentic by the majority of rationalist critics. But in 1924 Gustav Hoelscher advanced the thesis that only a small fraction of the book was by the historical sixth-century Ezekiel (i.e., only 143 verses out of 1273) and the rest came from some later author living in Jerusalem and contemporaneous with Nehemiah (440–430 b.c.).
Redaction critics tend to favor a view that biblical books were written much later and by different authors than the text relates. Late theological editors attached names out of history to their works for the sake of prestige and credibility. In Old and New Testament studies this view arose from historical criticism, source criticism, and form criticism. As a result, it adopts many of the same presuppositions, including the documentary hypothesis in the Old Testament and the priority of Mark in the New Testament. A redactor edits or changes a text composed by another. Redaction criticism of the Bible claims that subsequent editors (redactors) changed the text of Scripture. If such alleged changes were substantial, it would seriously damage the credibility of Scripture. We could not be sure what was in the original text.
I am not going to enter into any general tirade against criticism, but it is useless to deny that a great deal of what is called criticism is responsible for the uncertainty and unsettlement of feeling existing at the present time about the Holy Scriptures.
The Ketef Hinnom silver amulets contain what may be the oldest surviving texts from the Hebrew Bible. The 2004 team described the scrolls as “one of most significant discoveries ever made” for biblical studies. They are one of many archaeological nails in the coffin of the Documentary Hypothesis. Note that all the bold text with footnotes have extensive notes, not just source citations.
Jesus said only those who obey the will of the Father would receive eternal life. (Matt. 7:21) The disciples will try to argue, ‘I did this,’ or ‘I did that.’ (Matt. 7:22) When Jesus returns, he will say to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matt. 7:23) – So, who or what determines the meaning matters.