Documentary hypothesis says that there were several authors who wrote first five books of the Bible. In my essay I will try to discuss J, P, and E - authors of Genesis, Exodus and Numbers. I must admit that all these authors had lived after the division of the kingdom. AUTHOR This author was identified as J for using word Yahweh or Jehovah for the name of God. Also there is an interesting theory that author J was a woman.
Of course, there are statements that prove it. First of all I want pay your attention on the fact that we are speaking about patriarchal society where a man was a head of the family and the role of a woman was to give a birth to children. But in the Bible we can find verses and even whole chapters that tell us about women and sometimes show that these women are smarter than patriarchs. There are several examples. The first one is creation of the Earth (Gen. 2: 4 b-25). The author tries to show that culmination of the creation was a woman - Eve.
J writes that Adam could not find a helper among the animals and birds so God decided to create a woman from his ribs. In Gen. 2: 7 J plays with the word Adam which is related to the Hebrew word Adama h (ground). She points out that a man, animals and birds were created from a mud while a woman - from a man. In Gen. 3 the author indicates that Eve is more intellectually curious than Adam because the serpent speaks with Eve and she makes a decision to taste a fruit. Second example is Rebekah.
The whole chapter (Gen. 24: 1-67) dedicates to finding Rebekah. Then in Gen. 27: 5-17 J shows Rebekah as intelligent and sly person. She teaches his beloved son Jacob how to overreach Isaac. One more thing about J's sense of humor: she plays with names of Isaac's sons in Gen. 25: 25, 26, 30 - the first one is Esau (may mean hairy) and his second name is Edom (red), and the second is Jacob (he deceives). We can see J does not like Esau / Edom and we can make a conclusion that she is scion of Jacob.
One more example is in Gen. 38 - J describes a story about clever and successive woman Tamar, wife of Judah's son Er. She wants to have children but her husbands Er an Onan died and she was not given to She lah as his wife. So she decided to outwit Judah. At the end of the story she has children, husband and Judah identifies that she was more righteous than he (that is very unusual for patriarchal society). After reading J's passages we can conclude that she is from southern kingdom Judah. King of Judah was Rehoboam, David's son.
As we know, David was from tribe Judah. That's why Judah is the main character in all stories of J. For example: in Gen. 37: 26-27 he proposes to sell Joseph, then in Gen. 43: 3-10 Judah persuades Israel to send Benjamin with him and guarantees his safety. And one more interesting thing is that although Judah was only the fourth son, in Gen. 49: 8 Israel says that his brothers "will praise" and "bow down" to him. So in such a way he gets a birthright. Also Jerusalem and Ark of the Covenant (a sign to the people that God is with them) are very important for J (2 Samuel 5, 6).
I want to emphasize that political and religious systems were very close in that time: J never mentioned Joshua in her passages because he is from Ephraim (Jeroboam is from Ephraim) and in Num. 25: 1-5 J writes that men from Israel began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women and God said Moses to kill them. This is political decision because Moabites were enemies of Israel. Also J author has several "trademarks".
First of all, God in her passages is always anthropomorphic, it means that all action He is doing by His hands. This is shown in creation story: Gen. 2: 7 - "LORD God formed the man", in Gen. 2: 21 - "He took one of the man's ribs" and in Gen. 3: 8 - "He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day". And now I'd like to talk about doublets. Besides creation story, we also have two flood stories (J says that rain lasted 40 days), two stories when Abraham says that Sarah is his sister (J - Gen. 12: 10-20) and one - when Isaak says the same about Rebekah (J - Gen. 26: 1-11) - so we have triplets here, two Abraham's covenants with God (J - Gen. 15: 1-21), two names of Moses's father-in-law (J uses name Reuel Ex.
2: 18). AUTHOR There is the theory that this author was a priest from southern kingdom. In old ages only priests could make a sacrifice. But in the Bible there are a lot of stories that describes how people make sacrifices (for example Gen. 4: 3-4 - Cain and Abel, Gen. 8: 20 - Noah, Gen. 22: 13). But these stories were written by other authors because P author protects rights of priests. In the Bible there are two stories about creation of the Earth and one of them was written by P (Gen. 1: 1-2: 3).
This story is written with many details and the culmination of it is Sabbath. There is a symmetry between days: 1 day - light ~ 4 day - stars, moon and sun 2 day - dome ~ 5 day - animals, fish 3 day - land, plants ~ 6 day - male / female Passages of P and J authors are parallel while in E passages there are stories that differ from stories these two authors (for example: Gen. 21: 8-21 - Hagar and Ishmael, Gen. 21: 22-34 - Abraham and Abimelek, Ex. 32: 1-33: 11 - the golden calf). But there are also contradictions between J and P passages.
So in flood story (Gen. 7: 11) P says that "all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened" and it lasted for 150 days (in J story it was rain that lasted for 40 days). Another contradiction is that P writes (Gen. 6: 19) that God said "to bring into ark two of all living creatures, male and female" while J writes (Gen. 7: 2) "seven of every kind of clean animal, ... and two of every kind of unclean animal". P is Levite priest descendant of Aaron, so Aaron in his passages is as important, as Moses. For example in Ex.
7: 19 Moses has to say Aaron use his (Aaron's) staff. In Ex. 20: 8 pay attention on Sabbath. It was he who wrote about Sabbath for the first time in Gen. 1 and now he again emphasize it.
He was the priest and it was very important for them to obey Sabbath. There is one more contradiction between P and E passages. It is in the story about water from the rock. P author writes (Num.
20: 7-12) that Moses had to take his staff and go with Aaron to the rock and speak to it. But he struck the rock twice and God punished them (in E story - Moses struck the rock and God was pleased). One more thing that proves that P was the priest is that he knows all the details of the Tabernacle instruction (Ex. 25: 1-31: 11) and execution of these instructions (Ex. 35-40). AUTHOR The author E got his name because he uses word Elohim for the name of God.
There is a theory that E is from northern kingdom Israel. King of Israel was Jeroboam (he is from Ephraim). Jeroboam built capital city Shechem and two religious centers - Dan and Beth-el. Also he invented a new symbol - golden calf and said that it is god and appointed priests from all sorts of people, even though they were not Levites. So I want try to prove that E was from Israel kingdom. First of all, E author mentions places from northern kingdom: in Gen. 33: 18 he says that Jacob arrived at the city Shechem, in Gen. 37: 12 Jacob's sons graze flocks near Shechem, then in Gen. 35: 1-8 E writes that God sends Jacob in Bethel.
Another thing is that E author uses symbol of god of Israel kingdom. In Ex. 32: 4 he says that Aaron makes an idol for people - a golden young bull. One more fact is Joshua. In Exodus he is mentioned three times and only by E author. For the first time Joshua is mentioned in Ex.
17: 9-10, then in Ex. 32: 17 and finally in Ex. 33: 11. By the way he is introduced only in Ex. 33: 11. In Gen. 48: 20 E tells about blessing Manasseh and Ephraim and emphasizes that Israel put Ephraim (younger brother) ahead of Manasseh (firstborn).
Also E author never mentioned Ark of the Covenant. This fact can be explained. Northern and southern kingdoms were enemies. The most important things of Judah kingdom were Jerusalem and Ark of the Covenant.
In that time political and religious systems were very close that's why in his passages E doesn't refer to symbols of southern kingdom. There is a point of view that E author is the descendant of Moses. Author E always uses word Elohim for the name of God but when in Ex. 3: 14 God says to Moses that his name is Yahweh, author E begins to use this word. There are several disparities between E and J passages.
The first one is that Reuben (not a Judah - J) is the main character of the story of selling Joseph (Gen. 37: 21-22) what is logical because he is the elder brother. And more interesting is the fact that in this story we can see how the redactor put together passages of two authors. So in Gen. 37: 28 a it is said that "Midianite merchants came by" but in Gen. 37: 28 b - "sold him... to the Ishmaelite's". The second is that E author names Moses's father-in-law Jethro in Ex.
3: 1, 18: 1, 2, 5 (not Reuel - J). One more thing that proves that Moses is not the author of first five books of the Bible is that in Num. 12: 3 it is said that Moses is a very humble man. So, if he is humble, he could not write these words about himself, it has sense if it is written by E author. MY OPINION ABOUT USEFULNESS OF DOCUMENTARY HYPOTHESIS To my mind, documentary hypothesis is very useful because it answers many questions. How can we imagine that God who "so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3: 16) could give such commandments as "eye for eye, tooth for tooth and hand for hand" (Ex.
21: 24) or "kill them and expose them in broad daylight before the LORD" (Num. 25: 4)? All these things are result of peoples' interpretation. Also documentary hypothesis has good explanation of the origin of doublets and triplets.