The documentary theory of four hypothetical sources (JEDP) is immensely attractive. It gives a ready explanation to difficult data, and it is flexible (for instance, J – the Yahwist – can be redated or extended). However, though the four letters correspond to data in the text, the theory as a whole is radically confused and misleading. It is a literary theory that is built not on genuine literary criticism but on some relatively superficial data, and especially on considerations of history and theology.
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