What are the orthodox Jewish responses to Julius Wellhausen’s Documentary thesis?

Profile photo for Eliezer Abrahamson

Eliezer Abrahamson · 


Jewish educator.

There is no real need for a response. The entire methodology of Wellhausen, and all of modern academic Biblical scholarship, is based on the axiomatic assumption that the Torah is a product of the human mind. As such, when Wellhausen and other such academic Biblical scholars approach the question of whether the Torah was written by one author or by multiple authors, the evidence and arguments that they make are only relevant if one is assuming that those authors were human beings.

By contrast, Orthodox Judaism teaches that the Torah was authored entirely by God (not Moses). None of the various arguments and proofs brought by Wellhausen (or his predecessors and successors) are relevant to the question of Divine authorship vs. human authorship.

For additional discussion of this point, see my blog post, The Irrelevance of Academic Biblical Scholarship.

Moshe Kerr · 0y

Rabbi Eiazer placed in נידוי despite the bat kol with the תירוץ that The Torah not from heaven! Yes higher criticism obviously flawed. The movement died as an active movement early in the 20th Century!

Torah faith stands upon courtroom common law justice, fair compensation for damages inflicted intentionally or accidentally. Higher criticism stands upon reading the T’NaCH as theology rather than judicial common law. Justice like mitzvot observance not done in Heaven but only on this earth. That’s why Yidden tuck in their tzitzit when they visit a grave! An explicit Gemarah of ברכות.

[[[ authored entirely by God]]] Complete and total narishkeit! Oral Torah according to the kabbalah of Rabbi Akiva’s פרדס logic system, upon which stands the entire Talmud and Midrashic Primary Sources after the Roman g’lut of Jewry from Judea defines the Oral Torah which the Goyim do not know. Alas most Jews have forgotten the Torah just as the ברכה in the Siddur for Hannukah states the intention of the Goyim to accomplish!

David Sternlight · 

Assessment is a function of assumptions. If you believe in the G-d of the Old Testament, Wellhausen is wrong. If you reject him Wellhausen might still be wrong as far as the five Books of Moses, since Rabbi Dr. Jonathan Sacks argues that each name of the deity is uniquely associated with the particular divine attribute being described: judgement, mercy etc,

Profile photo for Moshe Kerr

Moshe Kerr 

Torah has nothing whatsoever to do with some Xtian theological belief system and/or Creed like the Muslims say One God and Muhammad the last prophet! The koran nor the NT had the least bit of a clue how the T’NaCH defines prophesy!!!

David the 13 middot revelation of the Oral Torah teaches a fundamental הבדלה (Understanding defined as the ability to discern like from like). In this case the difference of the Name reveal in the opening Sinai commandment רוח הקודש spirit, and the 13 tohor spirit attribute/middot pronouns of the שם השם from all other words which the lips can pronounce. Abba Shaul teaches that if a person attempts to pronounce the Name by its 4 letters, חייב כרת no portion in the world to come.

Why? The exact transgression of the sin of the golden calf by Aaron, he translated the Spirit Name of HaShem into a word אלהים. The Xtian bible abomination and Islamic koran abomination do this exact same avoda zarah! Translations of YHVH, Yahweh, Jehova, Allah, Lord, or JeZeus all examples of the Golden Calf!

Profile photo for Matthew Brown

Matthew Brown · 

Actually, most of what might be best called “Evangelical” Biblical scholarship (which we like to think deserves the description of “academic”) assumes that the Pentateuch, or Torah, is G_d given, although we believe G_d used a human agent (whom we generally assume to be Moses) to, in modern parlance, “put pen to paper”. There is, of course, no question in our minds that G_d inscribed the “ten words” on the stone tablets—both times. We believe in fact that all “scripture” in the Tanakh and, in our case, the New Testament is, in fact, “God-breathed” (in Greek, theopneustos). We vigorously deny “philosophical materialism” or “philosophical monism”, and assume what is generally referred to as “creatio ex nihilo”, which assumes that G_d required no pre-existing “material” in order to create the “heavens and the earth”. We believe G_d, Who is ALL in ALL, knows the beginning AND the end, hence G_d would, by defintion, know the future. But you are probably correct in asserting that no Western university, other than one with a religious foundation (like Trinity University), would have a professor who assumes the “existence of anachronistic elements in the Torah can be explained by the fact that G_d knows the future.” What is most disappointing is that Harvard University (originally Harvard College) was begun by the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and was explicitly “religious”, at least in the Christian sense. Now, its “divinity” school, loosely so called, is virtually pagan. With their uncritical acceptance of the “feminine divine”, it is not at all uncommon for their professors to refer to G_d as “her”, which they justify by the use of feminine illustrations in the Tanakh about G_d gathering His people “like a hen does her chicks.” Yet many Christian academics must attend these institutions of “higher” learning for more widely acceptable accreditation. Many simply prefer to go to Oxford or Cambridge, which are not so virulently anti-religious, or if they attend Harvard (a professor who was a dear friend of mine did), they take something more innocuous, like “religious ethics”.

Profile photo for Moshe Kerr

Moshe Kerr · Just now

All this theology has no portion in Torah faith. Torah does not command a belief in God. Monotheism violates the 2nd Commandment of Sinai. Goyim never accepted the Torah revelation and their theology and Creeds of the last 2000+ years do not amount to a hill of beans. Xtianity and Islam both worship other Gods.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s