In many of our seminaries today, it is taught that the first five books of the Bible (The Pentateuch) were not composed by Moses or revealed in any supernatural way, but rather were written by many different authors who were inventing the Jewish Law and history for political reasons. Each supposedly wrote with his own style and vocabulary. Then editors and redactors supposedly combined them into what we have today.
This theory was first proposed in the late 1700’s and developed fully by the late 1800’s into a complicated “modern” account of how the Pentateuch was written. The theory requires different authors (Mssr.s J, E, D, and P)for the Pentateuch based on the fact that different names are used for God within each book, and also teaches that they were written much later than was traditionally believed. The end result is that many of our pastors today are taught that the accounts of Genesis through Deuteronomy were basically invented history and not the Word of God. And we wonder why so many churches have gone in some very unbiblical directions!
Just look in many commentaries on the Pentateuch, and you will see references to “J “and “E”. These are supposed documents written by two different authors, one (J) who uses Yahweh for God’s name, and the other (E) uses Elohim. A third, (D), supposedly wrote the book of Deuteronomy, mostly for political purposes. The (E) document was then split into E1 and E2, one of which became P, the priestly document. According to the theory, J was the first, written in about 850 B.C.E, followed by E in 750, then the two combined by an editor or “redactor” in about 650 BCE. (D) wrote Deuteronomy during the time of King Josiah about 621 BCE, and P was composed in stages from about 570-200 BCE. So goes this complicated theory.
The problem with the JEDP theory is that it is still taught today as if nothing has happened in Biblical scholarship since about 1880!
Many flaws have been found in the JEDP theory since its heyday in the late 1800’s. For example:
These are only a small sample of the problems with the methods of the Documentarian scholars. And yet this poor scholarship is still taught to many pastors and church leaders in seminaries today!
In the next article in this series, we will look at how the archaeological discoveries ignored by the Documentary Hypothesis totally refute their theory.
 Gleason Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, Moody Press, Chicago, IL, 1994, p.114.
 Ibid., pp 128-129.
 Ibid., p. 100.