Breaking: Gleason Archer Refutes JEDP!

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It isn’t really breaking news, as he wrote in the 70s, but I couldn’t pass up such a good title.  Gleason Archer has written the most definitive short refutation of the Documentary Hypothesis. Some of these are Archer’s summarizing even moderate accounts, but even then they place JEDP under extreme tension.

  1. In some J and E stories the accounts are obviously of ancient origin, even if finalized after the exile.  This means that J and E, assuming they exist, are much more ancient than 850 BC (105).
  2.  P passages show both post-exilic composition but contains many legal regulations, which point to pre-exilic conditions.
  3. It is circular reasoning.  It posits its conclusion (the bible is a naturalistic document) as its underlying premise (there can be no such thing as supernatural revelation).
  4. Any time contrary evidence is presented (e.g., priestly sources within a post-exilic source), it is dismissed as the work of a redactor.  Or as Archer puts it, “Whenever the theory is opposed by the very data it is supposed to explain, the troubleshooting team of Redactor and Interpolator, Inc. is called to the rescue” (114).
  5. The documentarians operate under the strange assumption that the Hebrews were the only people in history incapable of using more than one name for God, more than one origins story, etc.  Apply the same criteria with Milton or CS Lewis and you have idiocy.
  6. “With highly questionable self-confidence, the Wellhausen school has assumed that modern European critics, who have no other ancient Hebrew literature with which to compare….can with scientific reliability fix the date of composition for each document” (116).

About J. B. Aitken

Interests include patristics, the role of the soul in the human person, analytic theology, Reformed Scholasticism, Medievalism, Substance Metaphysics
This entry was posted in American Evangelicalism, Kingdom Intelligence Report, theology and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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