The Jahwist, or
Yahwist, often abbreviated J, is one of the hypothesized sources of the
Pentateuch (Torah),
together with the Deuteronomist, the Elohist
and the Priestly source. It’s probably the oldest of
the four. It gets its name from its characteristic use of the term Yahweh
(German Jahwe, Hebrew YHWH)
for God in the book of Genesis.
During most of the
20th century the dominant belief among scholars was that the Torah had been
composed by intertwining four originally separate and complete documents, of
which the Jahwist was one—this was called the documentary hypothesis. In the last
quarter of the 20th century the consensus over the documentary hypothesis
unravelled, and although it still has supporters there are now many
alternatives. These alternatives can be broadly divided between
“fragmentary” and “supplementary” models (hypotheses).
Fragmentary hypotheses, seen notably in the work of Rolf Rendtorff and Erhard
Blum, see the Pentateuch as growing through the gradual accretion of material
into larger and larger blocks before being joined together, first by a Deuteronomic
writer (“Deuteronomic” means related to the Book of Deuteronomy,
which was composed in the late 7th century BCE), and then by a Priestly writer
(6th/5th century BCE), who also added his own material. The
“supplementary” approach is exemplified in the work of John Van
, who sees J (which he, unlike the “fragmentists”,
sees as a complete document) being composed in the 6th century BCE as an
introduction to the Deuteronomistic history, the history of
Israel that takes up the series of books from Joshua
to Kings.
The Priestly writers later added supplements to this (hence the term
“supplementary”) in a process that continued down to the end of the
4th century BCE.


The Elohist (or simply E) is, according to the documentary hypothesis, one of four
sources of the Torah,
together with the Torah,Yahwist,
the Deuteronomist
and the Priestly source. Its name comes from Elohim,
the term used in the Hebrew and Canaanite languages for the Gods. It is
characterized by, among other things, an abstract view of God, using Horeb
instead of Sinai for the mountain where Moses received the laws of
Israel and the use of the phrase “fear of God”. It habitually locates
ancestral stories in the north, especially Ephraim,
and the documentary hypothesis holds that it must
have been composed in that region, possibly in the second half of the 9th
century BCE. Some recent reconstructions leave out the Elohist altogether,
proposing a DeuteronomistJahwistPriestly
sequence for the Torah written from the reign of Josiah
into post-exilic times.

The Deuteronomic

This  is the name given by academics to the law code
set out in chapters 12 to 26 of the Book of Deuteronomy in the Hebrew Bible.
The code outlines a special relationship between the people of Israel and their
God and provides instructions covering “a variety of topics including
religious ceremonies and ritual purity, civil and criminal law, and the conduct
of war” They are similar to other collections of laws found in the Torah (the first five
books of the Tanakh)
such as the Covenant Code at Exodus 20-23,except for the
portion discussing the Ethical Decalogue, which is usually treated
separately. This separate treatment stems not from any concern over authorship,
but merely because the Ethical Decalogue is treated academically as a subject
in its own right.                                                                 
 Almost the
entirety of Deuteronomy is presented as the last few speeches of Moses, beginning with an
historical introduction as well as a second introduction which expands on the
Ethical Decalogue, and ending with hortatory speeches and final words of
encouragement. Between these is found the law code, at Deuteronomy 12-26. In
critical scholarship, this portion, as well as the majority of the remainder of
Deuteronomy, was written by the Deuteronomist.


The Priestly source (or simply P) is one of the hypothesized sources
of the Torah,
together with the Yahwist, Elohist and the Deuteronomist.
P was written to show that even when all seemed lost, God remained present with
Israel. The characteristics of the Priestly
source include a set of claims that are contradicted by non-Priestly passages
and therefore uniquely characteristic: no sacrifice before the institution is
ordained by God at Sinai, the exalted status of Aaron and the priesthood,
and the use of the divine title El Shaddai
before God reveals his name to Moses, to name a few.

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