Sunday, April 26, 2015

Who Wrote the Primary History?

The real answer is that we likely will never know.

The literary criticism that informs theories such as the Documentary Hypothesis and the Deuteronomistic History cannot support the conclusions of those theories regarding who wrote what when.  At best, literary criticism can identify different sources, i.e., literary criticism can be used as a form of linguistic forensics to detect forgery, redactions and interpolations.

Neither can literary criticism provide any support for my conclusions regarding the authorship of the Primary History.

But the anachronisms that I have discovered in the Primary History do clearly determine when the stories of Saul, David and Solomon must have been written originally: after the death of Ptolemy II Philadelphus and before the marriage of Ptolemy V to Cleopatra I.  That is, between 246 BCE and 194 BCE.

Further, the parallels between the lives of Alexander, Ptolemy I and Ptolemy II, on the one hand, and Saul, David and Solomon, on the other indicates a hostility towards the Ptolemies and even implies some salacious details regarding their history that are no longer available to us (the parallels are a mirror, albeit one distorted by polemic; still there likely was an Absalom among Ptolemy I's sons, for example).

Still, I cannot say for certain who first wrote the Primary History.  Was it indigenous Judeans?  Or was it ruling Hellenes?  For a variety of reasons, I select the latter, but unless we find new evidence, my conclusion likely will never be confirmed.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Good Summary of the Documentary Hypothesis

Here is a good summary of the Documentary Hypothesis from Norman Whybray:

What is known as the Documentary Hypothesis, though popularly associated mainly with the name of Julius Wellhausen, is not the product of a single individual but of many. The first serious attempts to develop a theory of continuous written sources were made in the first half of the eighteenth century—with regard to the book of Genesis only—by H.B. Witter and Jean Astruc; and from the beginning of the nineteenth a vigorous scholarly discussion took place among scholars who accepted the principle of continuous sources but put forward a variety of alternative schemes. Wellhausen's brilliant classic exposition, from 1876 onwards, which achieved widespread recognition, was constructed on the basis of these earlier discussions. Its success was due to his unrivalled skill in showing more clearly than his predecessors how completely the literary analysis of the sources could be related to the religious history of Israel as reconstructed from other parts of the Old Testament. But the hypothesis in its final, fully developed form also owed much to a succession of Wellhausen's followers who, in a series of commentaries and Introductions to the Old Testament, refined it still further by their analyses of the finer details of the source material.
The history of the undertaking from its origins to Wellhausen and beyond has been sketched many times and can be read in any modern Introduction to the Old Testament. There is no need to repeat it here. Rather an attempt will be made to present the main outlines of the Documentary Hypothesis as a whole and to make some assessment of it.
Stated briefly and in purely literary terms, the Documentary Hypothesis states that the Pentateuch took shape in a series of stages in which, during the space of several centuries, four originally distinct books ('documents'), each written at a different time, were dovetailed together by a series of 'redactors' to form a single work. This was achieved in the following way:
1. The earliest of these works was that of the 'Yahwist' (J). It began with what is now Gen. 2.4b, and its various parts are now found in Genesis, Exodus and Numbers, together with a few short passages in Deuteronomy. Whether it ended at this point or continued into the book of Joshua or beyond was disputed. It is not represented in Leviticus.
2. The 'Elohist' work (E) began with the story of Abraham in Gen. 15 and then followed the same general course as J.
3. J and E were subsequently combined to form 'JE' by a redactor (R^). The process of redaction involved the omission of parts of J and E, especially of the latter.
4. The third 'document', Deuteronomy (D), consists mainly of the book of that name.
5. D was subsequently appended to JE by a second redactor (RD), who also inserted a few passages into JE and incorporated a few passages from JE into D.
6. The final work, the Priestly 'document' (P), began with what is now Gen. 1.1 and followed the same chronological scheme as J. Material from P predominates in Exodus and Numbers, and is the sole source of Exod. 25-31; 35-40 and of Leviticus.
7. P was subsequently combined with JED by a third redactor (Rp) to form the present Pentateuch.
8. A few passages (e.g. Gen. 14) are not derived from any of the main four documents but must be regarded as independent fragments. It is not possible to determine at what point in the above scheme they were inserted, but a late date for this is probable. A few other passages were added after the bulk of the Pentateuch was completed. Both Fragment and Supplement Hypotheses, therefore, retained a minor place in the scheme of the Documentary Hypothesis.
It will be obvious from the above that D occupies a position in the scheme which is somewhat different from that of the other documents, in that while J, E and P run concurrently through the books from Genesis to Numbers and are thus, according to the Hypothesis, genuinely dovetailed the one into the others, D does not. It is concerned only with the final part of the history, the period of Moses, and occupies the position of an appendix to the threefold history which precedes it. In terms of purely literary source-analysis, therefore, the Documentary Hypothesis is mainly concerned with the three hypothetical documents in Genesis-Numbers. However, since the Documentary Hypothesis rests on the sequence of the entire process of composition and on the relative dates of the main documents and redactions in relation to the stages of the development of Israelite religious beliefs and practices, the position of D in the scheme is important.
2. Its Basis
The distinctiveness of the Documentary Hypothesis does not lie in the discovery of evidence of disunity and inconsistency in the text of the Pentateuch. Although the first systematic use which was made of this discovery did in fact take the form of an embryonic 'documentary hypothesis' (that of Astruc), the Fragment and Supplement Hypotheses had subsequently suggested that the phenomena in question might be accounted for in quite different ways. The distinctive contribution of the fully developed Documentary Hypothesis of Wellhausen and his school was that it was a systematic attempt to show that the negative evidence—that is, the evidence of disunity—could best be accounted for in a positive and constructive way: that the disjointedness of the Pentateuch was not due to haphazard growth or to random collection of disparate material, but that the material was susceptible of being sorted and classified in such a way as to show that there lay behind it a series of consistent works or 'documents' which had once existed independently but whose integrity had subsequently been destroyed by their being dovetailed together. In other words, the Documentary Hypothesis was concerned with something far more difficult to prove than was the case with the other hypotheses: not simply with destruction but with construction—or rather, with the reconstruction of these supposed literary works.
a. The nature of the material
As has been suggested above, the evidence for the disunity of the Pentateuch was the very same as that which provided the Documentary Hypothesis with its basis for the reconstruction of the documents. The marks which showed that text A could not belong to the same document as text B were also the marks which were held to show that text A did belong to the same document as text C, which manifested the same marks as text A. The first concern of the proponents of the Documentary Hypothesis, therefore, was to develop to its fullest extent the study of these indications. The results of this study may be set out in the form of a table of criteria which may thus be expressed either negatively or positively. Since every Introduction to the Old Testament provides such a table, usually in some detail, it may be presented summarily here, and in the negative form which is that most generally favoured.
Different choice of words and variation of style
The first example of this criterion to be observed was the use of different names for the deity. In Genesis, apart from some passages in which other names are used, God is sometimes referred to by his name yhwh and sometimes by the word Elohim. It was supposed by the proponents of the Documentary Hypothesis (henceforward to be known as the documentary critics) that this variation does not reflect a deliberate choice by a single author between two designations in order to suit the context, but rather that two different authors, whose works were subsequently combined, each consistently used one name or the other. The phenomenon is, however, of limited application as it occurs only in the book of Genesis and the first few chapters of Exodus.
But it was also noted that there are other examples of the use of two words having the same meaning where a single author might be expected to have used only one. Some of these are proper names such as Sinai/Horeb and Canaanite/Amorite; but there are also examples of the alternation of common nouns. Lists of these were compiled and are to be found in the Introductions. This analysis was not confined to single words, but was extended to phrases and to other stylistic phenomena.
Double (or triple) versions of the same stories
A classical example of this phenomenon is the double version of the story of Abraham's pretence, when he went to live in a foreign country (Gen. 12.10-20; 20.1-18), that his wife Sarai/Sarah was in fact his sister, further duplicated in part by a similar story about Isaac (Gen. 26.6-16). These three stories are remarkably similar in detail. In other cases such as the two 'creation stories' (Gen. 1.12.4a; 2.4b-25) there is little similarity of detail, but the event itself is essentially the same. Again, it was supposed that the same author would not have included both accounts in his work.
Repetitions of details within the same passage
Some passages appear to be unnecessarily and improbably repetitious. For example, in the introduction to the account of the Flood, it is twice stated that God decided to destroy mankind on account of its wickedness (Gen. 6.5-7 and 11-12).
Insertions of extraneous material into an otherwise continuous account
An obvious example of this is the intrusion of a narrative about Judah (Gen. 38) into an entirely unrelated story about the adventures of Joseph (Gen. 37-50).
Contradictions concerning matters of fact
These occur both in widely separated passages and within the same passage. Examples of the former phenomenon are the numerous differences in legal requirements in different parts of the Pentateuch, all of which are stated to have been promulgated by Moses. Thus in Exod. 20.24 permission is given for the offering of sacrifice at numerous altars, whereas Deut. 12.13-14 forbids this, restricting it to a single place to be chosen by God. The story of the Flood is a classical example of the latter phenomenon: for example, Gen. 7.17 states that the flood water remained on the earth for forty days, whereas Gen. 7.24 mentions 150 days.
Differences of cultural and religious point of view
It was argued that different passages reflect quite different cultural and historical backgrounds and religious notions and practices, pointing to a variety of authorship and to widely different periods of composition. Thus the collections of laws scattered through the Pentateuch (especially Exod. 20.23-23.19; the book of Leviticus; and Deut. 12-26) show considerable differences in the social and cultic backgrounds which they reflect. The 'law of the king" in Deut. 17.1420 presupposes some experience of monarchy in Israel and a hope that it may be susceptible of reform, while the great prominence given to the priesthood in Leviticus and the absence of any reference to the king there suggest that it was composed in the exilic or postexilic period, when the monarchy no longer existed. The anthropomorphic presentation of God in Gen. 2 was held to reflect an earlier and less developed theology than the more abstract presentation of him in Gen. 1. Differences of ethical principles were also detected in different passages, for example in the two stories of Abraham's periods of foreign residence narrated in Gen. 12.10-20 and 20.1-18.
The above are not isolated examples, but illustrations selected more or less at random from a very large mass of material collected by the documentary critics and by other critics of the unity of the Pentateuch.
b. The reconstruction of the documents
It had already been concluded by the earliest Pentateuchal critics such as Astruc that the supposed discrepancies in the text— specifically, the alternation of the divine names in Genesis—were the result of the conflation of two distinct written documents. This was a plausible solution to the problem when the number of phenomena calling for explanation was small. The discovery of numerous other kinds of discrepancy and inconsistency changed the situation, and at the beginning of the nineteenth century a number of scholars (Geddes, Vater and de Wette) put forward the Fragment Hypothesis as the only explanation which could account for the facts. Later documentary critics, however, sought to account for the new set of problems by postulating the existence of an additional document. In the fully developed hypothesis of Wellhausen, who in this respect followed Hupfeld and Graf, the passages in which God is referred to as Elohim were divided into two documents, designated E and Q (the siglum for the latter being later changed to P). The criterion of divine names was applicable only to Genesis and the first chapters of Exodus; but on the basis of the other indications of multiple authorship it was argued that the three documents J, E and P continued throughout Genesis-Numbers, D (Deuteronomy) forming the fourth.
The hypothesis thus depended on the discovery in each passage assigned to a particular document of a sufficient number of characteristics common to all the passages assigned to that document. Clearly not all passages possessed all those characteristics: for example, none of the material in the chapters from Exod. 6 to the end of Numbers can be analysed on the basis of the use of the divine names, nor can E be distinguished from P on that basis even in Genesis. The same is true of the other criteria. Some passages, indeed, are 'neutral' in the sense that there are no indications in them sufficient by themselves to justify their assignment to one document rather than another.
In such cases, however, a further argument could be adduced. The three documents J, E and P must, by the nature of the hypothesis, be continuous and comprehensive. It was conceded that in the process of their combination by the redactors they had not always been preserved intact, especially in the case of E. Nevertheless it was argued that if a 'neutral' passage appeared plausibly to fill a gap in one of the documents and so to contribute to its continuity as a consistent work, this was sufficient to justify its assignment to that document.
In the further development of the Documentary Hypothesis after Wellhausen the question of the degree of inner consistency required to postulate the existence of a separate document became a crucial and controversial one. Some scholars, in the pursuit of consistency, claimed to have discovered an older document later embedded in J, others similarly divided E into two, while yet others fragmented P into a number of lesser documents. D was also thought to have undergone various revisions and expansions. It has been argued by some critics that such fragmentation of the classical four documents is in reality nothing less than a revival of the Fragment Hypothesis; but this is not really the case, since the methods employed to identify the newly proposed documents and the theory of the gradual growth of the Pentateuch by a process of conflation of independent literary works by a series of redactors remain the same as in the hypothesis in its 'classical' form.
c. The dating of the documents
However ingenious its reconstruction of the documents might be, the Documentary Hypothesis would lack plausibility unless a convincing account could be given of the motives which led to the composition of more than one version of the same history and their conflation, in a series of stages, to form ultimately a single work. It was therefore important for the documentary critics to be able to relate the various stages of the composition of the Pentateuch to events or circumstances in the history of Israel which might account for these specific forms of literary activity: in other words, to make convincing proposals about the dates, both relative and absolute, of the documents and the redactions. This task was carried out mainly by the use of the last of the criteria listed above, that of differences between the viewpoints reflected by the various documents. This method can be seen at its best in Wellhausen's Prolegomena, in which he argued that the legislation of P concerning the cult reflected a stage in cultic history which was much later than that reflected in J and E and in the early stories of Judges, Samuel and Kings, and that these laws could not have been put into effect before the Exile.
Earlier scholars had already connected Deuteronomy with the lawbook discovered in the temple at Jerusalem by Hilkiah in the reign of Josiah (2 Kings 22), and had dated J and E to earlier periods under the monarchy, with J preceding E, on the basis of theological differences due to a progressive development of religious and ethical notions in the pre-exilic age. In this way the chronological order J, E, D, P was established, and approximate absolute dates fixed for the four documents. These results were accepted by the followers of Wellhausen, although differences of opinion were expressed about the precise dating of the documents, especially J and E.
It was one of Wellhausen's main achievements that he was able to achieve a correlation, more complete than had been achieved by his predecessors, between the history of the composition of the Pentateuch and the history of the religion of Israel. In particular, his impressive demonstration that P is not an early source and cannot be pre-exilic may be said to have permanently changed the course of Pentateuchal criticism.
Although there was not complete agreement between the documentary critics about the motives of those who composed or combined the various documents, it was generally accepted that they were all motivated by the desire to preserve the received traditions as far as possible while at the same time reinterpreting them in accordance with the theologies of their times. It was this desire to preserve which was held by the documentary critics to account for the large amount of repetition in the Pentateuch in its final form:
1. J and E are both selections, made in the southern and northern kingdoms respectively, from a stock of common traditions. E, which is shown by its more advanced theology and ethics to have been written later than J, may to some extent have been dependent on it (there was no agreement on this point). But in both cases the motive was to preserve, arrange in chronological sequence, and—to some degreegive a theological interpretation of the national traditions.
2. The motive of RJE was to preserve the northern traditions recorded in E, which were in danger of being lost after the destruction of the northern kingdom, by incorporating them into J.
3. D, which is not primarily a narrative source, expresses, mainly in the form of laws, theological ideas which came to the fore at the time of Josiah's reformation. It was thus not intended to be an alternative to JE, with which its author was, however, familiar.
4. RD was an exilic redactor whose purpose was to provide a 'canonical' account which combined the already familiar JE with a theological interpretation consonant with that of D. He therefore appended the book of Deuteronomy to JE and also made a few 'Deuteronomic' insertions into it.
5. P's motive in composing yet another work running parallel with JE was to express, partly through narrative, but predominantly through a new corpus of legislation, the theology of the post-exilic priesthood.
6. Rp, like the earlier redactors, wished to preserve the older material—in this case the 'official' account in JE (and D)— but to bring it into line with the priestly theology of P, using P as its basic framework.
d. Limitations and unanswered questions
It would be a mistake to suppose that the documentary critics claimed that the hypothesis solved all the problems regarding the composition of the Pentateuch. It has already been noted that they regarded some passages as unattributable to any of the four documents. Further, they were not concerned with the pre-literary stage of the material, which was in any case regarded as of no great antiquity and as having arisen much later than the periods which it describes (e.g. Wellhausen, 1883, p. 316; ET pp. 318-19).
It is also important to note that the original proponents of the hypothesis and some—though not all—of its later adherents (e.g. S.R. Driver) expressed reservations about the sufficiency of the criteria to solve all problems of source analysis. This was particularly true of the document 'E\ Wellhausen himself admitted—though he was in no doubt about the existence of E—that it is not always possible to distinguish it from J, and used the term 'Jehovist', by which he meant the composite JE, in distinguishing the earlier material from P.
It was also generally admitted that E had been preserved only in a fragmentary state: in other words, that the important criterion of continuity in a given document was not wholly applicable in the case of E. Driver in his Introduction—to take a single example—treated the question of the identification of the documents J and E in particular instances with great caution, and was hesitant to make use of the principle applied extensively by some other critics that what does not appear to belong to one document must belong to the other, even if there is no positive indication that it possesses the characteristics of the latter. Indeed, he more than once stressed the uncertainty of the criteria themselves, speaking of 'degrees of probability' and of 'conclusions which, from the nature of the case, are uncertain' (1909, pp. IV, V). The reliability of the criteria was also unwittingly put in doubt by those critics who used them to postulate, by an even more minute analysis, the existence of yet more documents, so demonstrating that the same methods could produce quite different results.
Other important questions remained unanswered or disputed by the documentary critics:
 The relationship between the documents
There was no agreement on the question whether the author of £ was familiar with J. This was to become an important issue later because of its implications for an assessment of the extent to which the Israelite traditions had already acquired a fixed form before they were committed to writing. That P was familiar with JE was generally assumed.
 Were the writers of the documents primarily authors or collectors?
On this question also there was divergence of opinion. The criteria of vocabulary and style and of difference of point of view had, it was believed, proved that each document clearly reflected the age in which it had been written: in other words, the traditional material which it utilized had been remodelled by one who was fundamentally an historian, interpreting it according to his own lights and restating it in the language of his own day. If this were not so, the analysis of the documents would be illusory. Yet it was at the same time recognized that there was evidence—in particular, the individual flavour which still clung to many of the stories of Genesis, and the remarkable similarity in many cases between two versions of the same story in different documents—that these authors had in fact been remarkably faithful to their traditional sources. Gunkel, in the Introduction to his commentary on Genesis, tried to combine these two facts by picturing the narratives as 'an old richly-coloured painting that has been darkened and heavily re-touched' (1901a, 3rd edn, p. LXXXVI; cf. 1901 b, p. 133); but this attempt to solve the problem is hardly convincing, and it must be admitted that it remains unsolved in terms of the hypothesis.
Were they individuals or 'schools of narrators'?
Wellhausen regarded the documents as the work of individuals. Other supporters of the hypothesis, on the other hand (e.g. Budde and Gunkel) considered that they had been compiled within particular circles or 'schools of narrators' over a more or less extended period, and were not to be attributed to any one individual. The implications of this disagreement are far-reaching, but were not fully admitted by the critics.
The work of the redactors
There was general agreement that conservatism was the reason why the documents as they succeeded one another did not simply supersede and consign to oblivion the earlier versions, but were combined with them to form new works. It was held that the earlier documents had acquired such an authoritative standing as 'standard' accounts of the national tradition that, even though they might be judged inadequate and in need of supplementation in a later age, there could be no question of their suppression. A considerable degree of unanimity was reached by the critics about the way in which the conflation was carried out; but in comparison with the authors of the individual documents the redactors remained somewhat shadowy figures, and the extent to which they themselves had contributed to the material by additions of their own remained obscure.
The extent of the documents
Although the traditional division of the books of the Hebrew Bible separates Joshua and the books which follow from the five books of the Torah (Pentateuch), placing Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings in a separate section known as the Former Prophets, it was an agreed tenet of the Documentary Hypothesis that originally Joshua had belonged together with the earlier books (forming the 'Hexateuch'), of which it was the concluding section. The Pentateuchal documents continued through Joshua, and were there combined in a similar way. Some supporters of the hypothesis went further, maintaining that they continued into Judges, Samuel and even Kings (so, for example, Budde and Benzinger). Others vigorously disputed this view. The question is an important one because it seriously affects the view to be taken about the structure and purpose of the Pentateuchal sources, and of the Pentateuch as a whole. A work which ends with the death of Moses is a different kind of work from one which carries the story of Israel across the Jordan and describes the fulfilment of the promises to the Patriarchs in the conquest of Palestine, or from one which ends with the foundation of the monarchy, or the triumph of David, or some other point in the history of the monarchy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

On the Wrongheadedness of DH Theorists

Focusing on Veijola's contribution to my original DH post:

Both monographs assumed the correctness of Dietrich’s approach to the DH. Like Dietrich, Veijola used literary-critical arguments to partition the passages he treated between the three redactors, DtrG, DtrP, and DtrN. In Veijola’s view, DtrG had a positive perspective on the monarchy and was responsible for the doctrine in the DH concerning the permanence of the Davidic dynasty. DtrN, in contrast, viewed the monarchy negatively. While David himself was judged by DtrN to be a model king because of his fidelity to Yahweh’s law, the institution of kingship was the product of human sin and was damned by DtrN on narrow, legalistic grounds.
Not possible.  David failed to follow Yahweh's law at every turn.  He committed adultery with Bathsheba.  He murdered Uriah.  He ignored the laws requiring him to bring his son Absalom to justice for the murder of his brother (and in so doing doomed many others to death).  He never learned the Law. Etc.

Pretty much everything in David's reign as king is an example of what NOT to do according to Yahweh's law.  Veijola's filters were pretty thick . . .

Further Thoughts on the Purpose of the Deuteronomistic History

As set forth in my prior post, Noth's DH theory embraces the DH as it comes to us as a unified whole, i.e., it assumes the original Deuteronomist was pro-Davidic.  I reject that assumption for a variety of reasons, including (1) David's and Solomon's habitual violation of Mosaic and Deuteronomic laws, which justified their loss of the United Monarchy, and (2) the fairly obvious late-addition of a pro-Davidic messianic gloss, which only holds sway today because the dogma of both Judaism and Christianity insist that David and Solomon were great kings in spite of their chronic faithlessness to God's law.  Anybody not indoctrinated to such dogma would understand for themselves, based on a plain reading of the DH, that David and Solomon were failures in the eyes of the Deuteronomist, and that their failure to follow Yahweh's rule of law resulted in the destruction of the Israel.

NOTE: A further aspect of my overarching thesis is that messianic Judaism began as a Ptolemaic response to the Seleucid Primary History.  Specifically, the promise of messiah of the house of David found in Isaiah (and later transplanted to Samuel/Kings) was merely a recasting of the Nectanebos prophecy, which in the Alexander Romance, allegedly formed the basis of Alexander's rightful claim to sovereignty over Egypt.

Russ Gmirkin provides a good summary of the Nectanebos prophecy and its relation to the Alexander Romance:

Nectanebos II, the last ruler of Dynasty XXX, came to power in 359 BCE, the year before Artaxerxes III Ochus came to the Persian throne. In 351-350 BCE, Artaxerxes Ochus attempted to regain Egypt for Persia, but gave up the effort.1 In 343 BCE, Ochus led a second campaign against Nectanebos II, with 500,000 soldiers and 80 triremes.2 Marching his army south from Phoenicia, Ochus lost a significant number of troops in the bogs of Lake Sirbonis—an event that has been compared to the destruction of Pharaoh's troops trying to cross the Red Sea.  Reaching Pelusium with the remainder of his army, he found the approaches of the Nile protected by an army of 100,000 troops of Libyan, Greek and native descent, manning fleets of warships, a string of border fortresses and other temporary fortifications.  Thus defended, the Egyptians believed they could hold out until the rising of the Nile forced the Persian invading troops to abandon the Delta,  but one of Ochus's Greek generals, using native guides, managed to sail eighty triremes through the back canals and attack the Egyptian rear.  The Egyptians lost a Greek general in command of 5000 mercenaries and Nectanebos II withdrew to Memphis.  Abandoned by Nectanebos, first the Greek garrison at Pelusium defected to the Persians, then one by one the cities of the Delta followed suit. Nectanebos, hearing that he had lost the Delta, gave up Egypt without further fight, fleeing with as much wealth as possible into exile in Ethiopia, where he was granted refuge.  Artaxerxes III Ochus took the rest of Egypt without further difficulties.  Nectanebos regained control of part of Upper Egypt, which he ruled down to 341 BCE,  encouraging hopes that he would liberate all Egypt. 
The native Egyptians suffered considerable reprisals under Artaxerxes III Ochus for their rebellion against Persian rule under Amyrtaeus in ca. 404 BCE. Temples were plundered.  Ochus reputedly himself slew the Apis bull and the ram of Mendes, feasting on their flesh.  In their place he required Egyptians to worship the ass, a sacred animal of Seth-Typhon, god of foreigners. Chafing under Persian rule, Egyptians gave credence to a subversive prophecy that Nectanebos II would return from Ethiopia, after an absence of 13 years (343-331 BCE), to overthrown the Persian oppressors and deliver the Egyptians. When Alexander the Great conquered Egypt in 332 BCE, he posed as its liberator from the Persians and benevolent successor to the pharaohs, participating in Egyptian rites honoring the Apis bull and other Egyptian gods, and visiting the oracle of Ammon at Siwa.  The native population welcomed his "liberation" of Egypt from the Persians, and it appears that many accepted Alexander as the fulfillment of the Nectanebos prophecy, that is, as the liberator Nectanebos returned.  The identification of Alexander with Nectanebos is documented in The Alexander Romance, the oldest parts of which were written not long after Alexander's conquest.  The Alexander Romance recorded an interesting story in which Nectanebos fled Egypt to Macedonia where he secretly fathered Alexander the Great.  Alexander, though seemingly a Greek conqueror, was in actuality— according to this legend—born an Egyptian prince. Philip of Macedon suspected the baby Alexander was not his and sought to slay him, but the gods saved the child. Due to the prodigies that accompanied Alexander's birth, Philip was convinced that the child was offspring of a god and raised him accordingly.  Later, when Alexander conquered Egypt, he was shown the statue of Nectanebos that predicted Nectanebos's return as a young man.  Alexander was publicly revealed as the son of Nectanebos—Nectanebos reincarnate—and the fulfillment of the Nectanebos Prophecy. 
Given the deliberate parallels the DH draws between Saul, David, and Solomon to Alexander, Ptolemy I and Ptolemy II, respectively, as well as the identification of David (Ptolemy I) as the rightful heir to Saul (Alexander) in God's eyes, the Ptolemies' resort to the Nectanebos prophecy seems like an obvious response.

Monday, April 20, 2015

A Primer on the Deuteronomistic History

Like the Documentary Hypothesis, the so-called "Deuteronomistic History" is a mainstay of modern biblical scholarship that can neither be ignored nor dismissed.  I would argue that the so-called "Deuteronomist" should be labeled "the Primary Historian" because I believe the so-called "Primary History" (another modern theory of biblical scholars) was assembled/redacted by the "Deuteronomist" because of the recurring "covenants" between Yahweh and humans from Genesis through Deuteronomy.  I believe these covenants (and the consequences for humanity failing to meet their end of the bargain) is a hallmark of the Deuteronomist.

Below is an extended excerpt of the definition of the Deuteronomistic History as found in the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary:

DEUTERONOMISTIC HISTORY. The name commonly used to designate the book of Deuteronomy as well as the section of the Hebrew Bible known as the Former Prophets, i.e., Joshua, Judges, 1-2 Samuel, and 1-2 Kings. The name reflects the scholarly theory that these books comprise a single literary unit alongside the other two great historical works in the Hebrew Bible—the Tetrateuch (Genesis through Numbers) and the Chronicles complex (1-2 Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah). According to this theory, a later editor shifted the notice of Moses’ death from its original position at the end of Numbers to its present location at the end of Deuteronomy (chapter 34) in order to group the first five books of the Hebrew Bible into the Torah or Pentateuch.
. . .
B. Origin of the Theory 

The theory of the DH originated with the publication of M. Noth’s Überlieferungsgeschichtliche Studien in 1943 (hereafter NDH). Previous treatments of the Former Prophets can be described in two broad categories (see Radjawane 1973: 178–80; Nicholson’s introduction to NDH; and Mayes 1983: 1–3). One approach continued to apply to these books the same kind of source criticism used in analyzing the Pentateuch (Eissfeldt 1965: 241–48; Fohrer 1968: 193). This was particularly true for Joshua. Another perspective tended to view the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings as independent units that had passed through one or more Deuteronomistic redactions (Pfeiffer 1948: 293–412; Fohrer 1968: 193–95; Driver 1972: 103–203). Noth, in contrast, argued that the material in Deuteronomy and the Former Prophets was a unified history of Israel written by a single, exilic author/compiler. Noth named this writer the Deuteronomist (Dtr). 
Noth pointed to the similar language and ideology exhibited throughout the DH as evidence of an individual hand. According to Noth, this individual, the Dtr, composed the first history of Israel on the basis of traditions which he had collected. The Dtr selected those traditions that were appropriate for his purposes and unified them by means of a common structure and chronology. He divided the history of Israel into four major periods: the time of Moses, the settlement of Canaan under Joshua, the period of the judges, and the era of the monarchy. The Dtr’s use of the traditions before him was basically conservative. However, he did make changes where necessary in order to introduce his own theological view of Israel’s history. He also formulated speeches for the main characters and inserted them at key junctures in his account in accordance with his periodic division of Israel’s history. So, for example, Joshua’s speeches in Joshua 1 and 23 initiate and conclude, respectively, the time of the settlement. Samuel’s speech in 1 Samuel 12 stands at the point of transition between the era of the judges and that of the monarchy, while Solomon’s prayer in 1 Kings 8 highlights the dedication of the Temple and closes the first part of the monarchy. Other Deuteronomistic compositions are in narrative form (Joshua 12; Judg 2:11–22; 2 Kgs 17:7–18, 20–23). The Dtr introduced his history with the old Deuteronomic law code (4:44–30:20 minus additions) for which he constructed a new framework (Deuteronomy 1–3 plus original parts of chap. 4 and 31:1–13 plus original parts of chap. 34). Hence, all of the book of Deuteronomy took on the appearance of a speech of Moses. 
Noth dated the DH to the middle of the 6th century b.c.e., shortly after 562, the date of Jehoiachin’s release from prison, the final event recounted in the DH (2 Kgs 25:27–30). Noth found no evidence to indicate that the materials in the DH had been redacted earlier. The Dtr addressed his contemporaries in Babylonian exile, his purpose being entirely negative: to show them that their sufferings were the fully deserved consequences of centuries of decline in Israel’s loyalty to Yahweh. This loyalty was measured in terms of Israel’s obedience to the Deuteronomic law. Since Israel and Judah had failed to follow that law, their histories had ended in complete destruction, in accordance with the divine judgment envisaged by Deuteronomy. There was not the slightest glimmer of hope for the future. The clearest illustration of the finality of God’s punishment in the DH was Solomon’s prayer in 1 Kings 8. The Dtr had Solomon ask Yahweh to hear the prayers of the exiles and to forgive their past misdeeds. But there was no hint of any expectation of the nation’s restoration. Similarly, the report of Jehoiachin’s release in 2 Kgs 25:27–30 was the result of the Dtr’s conscientious reporting of historical fact and was not intended to herald the commencement of a new age for Judah and Israel. 
C. The DH and Subsequent Scholarship 
1. Unity and Structure. The main point of Noth’s monograph, that Deuteronomy-Kings represents an original literary unit, gained wide acceptance almost immediately (for early reactions to Noth’s views, see Radjawane 1973: 186–210). Noth was not the only scholar to conclude that Genesis-Numbers and Deuteronomy-Kings represented two originally distinct literary units. Y. Kaufmann (RI, 205–11) and I. Engnell (1969: 58–67) each arrived at this position independently (cf. also Jepsen under 3.b. below). However, it was Noth’s volume that established this view in the field of biblical studies. The acceptance of this viewpoint has continued such that, to the extent that any position in biblical studies can be regarded as the consensus viewpoint, the existence of the DH has achieved almost canonical status. However, other approaches continue to be proposed (see Radjawane 1973; Mayes 1983: 14–19). D. N. Freedman, for example (IDBSup, 226–28), links his treatment of the DH to the Tetrateuch, viewing both as parts of a larger “Primary History” (compare Peckham’s view under 3.c. below). However, Freedman has not put forth this view in detail, and theories such as his have not found a wide following (but see Gunn 1987: 32). 
Noth’s sketch of the way in which the Dtr structured his history has been corroborated and reinforced by subsequent studies. D. McCarthy (1965) and F. M. Cross (CMHE, 241–64) have shown that 2 Samuel 7 should be added to Noth’s list of passages that form the Deuteronomistic framework of the DH. McCarthy (1974) has also discussed the significance of the “wrath of God” as a theme in certain of the framework texts. W. Lemke (1976) suggested 1 Kings 13 as another candidate for the series of structural passages. Lemke’s arguments for Deuteronomistic revision in 1 Kings 13, especially vv 1–10, are convincing. However, since that chapter is still dominated by a northern, prophetic legend concerning a “man of God,” it should not be viewed as a framework passage in the same sense as 2 Samuel 7 and those listed by Noth (Cross, CMHE, 279–80; McKenzie 1985b: 206–9). 
2. Purpose. Perhaps the weakest aspect of Noth’s theory, and the one that provoked the most criticism initially, was his view of the purpose of the DH. In a 1947 article on the theology of history in the DH, von Rad traced a theme of “grace” through the DH that provided a balance to the theme of judgment delineated by Noth. Von Rad showed that the DH contained the history of Yahweh’s word at work. Time after time the Dtr described how a previously reported oracle from one of Yahweh’s prophets was fulfilled precisely as foretold. Thus, on the one hand, the destruction of Israel and Judah was in keeping with the prophetic pronunciation of doom in retaliation for disobedience. On the other hand, the final destruction was restrained by Yahweh’s promise to David found in Nathan’s oracle in 2 Samuel 7 and reiterated throughout 1-2 Kings (1 Kgs 8:20, 25; 9:5; 11:5, 13, 32, 36; 15:4; 2 Kgs 2:4; 8:19; 19:34; 20:6). In the passages referring to this promise, von Rad found a series of “Messianic conceptions” that, in his view, provided the basis for hope on the part of the Dtr for the restoration of the Davidic monarchy. In this light, the reference to Jehoiachin’s release at the very end of the DH was perceived by von Rad to have special theological significance. To be sure, the judgment component of Yahweh’s word dominated, at least for the time being, in the reality of the Exile. The Dtr could not minimize the severity of God’s punishment. However, it was equally impossible for him to concede that Yahweh’s promise to David had failed. The Dtr resolved this dilemma by recounting Jehoiachin’s release from imprisonment. His hope was not explicit, but this final account did leave history open; the Davidic line continued and provided a place for Yahweh to begin anew with his people. 
A second important article on the purpose of the DH was contributed by H. W. Wolff in 1961. Wolff criticized the positions of both Noth and von Rad, suggesting that it was inconceivable that an exilic Israelite writer would take pen in hand simply for the purpose of proving to his contemporaries that they were getting just what they deserved. Wolff pointed out that Noth’s explanation for the inclusion of 2 Kgs 25:27–30 (Jehoiachin’s release) contradicted his (Noth’s) conclusion regarding the Dtr’s selective use of sources. Against von Rad, Wolff argued that the promise to David in Nathan’s oracle was subordinate to the Mosaic covenant, so that disobedience of the Mosaic law also abrogated the Davidic promise. Furthermore, the lack of reference to the Nathan oracle in 2 Kgs 25:27–30 indicated strongly that Dtr did not interpret Jehoiachin’s release in terms of the continuation of the Davidic promise as von Rad had asserted. The very length of the DH, according to Wolff, implied a more intricate purpose than either Noth or von Rad had recognized. Wolff found the purpose of the Dtr in the pattern of apostasy, punishment, repentance, and deliverance common in the DH, particularly in Judges. Dtr’s intent was to show the exiles that they were in the second stage of that cycle and therefore needed to cry out to Yahweh in repentance. Wolff pointed to the use of the verb šûb, “to return,” in key Deuteronomistic passages, especially Solomon’s speech in 1 Kings 8, as central to Dtr’s plea. For Wolff, Dtr’s purpose was not entirely negative as it was for Noth, nor did Dtr offer any explicit hope as von Rad claimed. Rather, Dtr raised only the possibility of hope by demonstrating the pattern of Yahweh’s previous dealings with Israel; the imperative for the exiles was simply to turn back to God. 
The essays of von Rad and Wolff showed the weakness of Noth’s original position concerning the Dtr’s purpose and pointed out the tension within the DH between the Mosaic and Davidic covenants. Yet the analyses of von Rad and Wolff have their weaknesses. Von Rad’s work was especially insightful as far as it went, but he did not perceive the full significance of the Davidic theme for the related issues of purpose, composition, and date of the DH. Wolff’s major shortcoming lay in his attempt to dismiss the Davidic promise as conditional in the Dtr’s mind, a point specifically denied in the biblical texts.  
3. Composition and Date. The one aspect of Noth’s thesis that has elicited the most discussion since 1943 has been his ascription of the whole of the DH to a single, exilic composer. Indeed, the question of the authorship and date of the DH has become one of the most debated issues in the field of biblical studies.
a. A Deuteronomistic School. The two scholars most commonly associated with this position are E. W. Nicholson (1967) and M. Weinfeld (1972). Each has published a book focusing on Deuteronomy which contends that the DH was the product of a circle of Deuteronomistic traditionalists. 
Nicholson theorized that ancient traditions were preserved and transmitted by northern prophetic circles. After the devastation of Israel in 721 b.c.e., members of these circles fled S to Judah with the traditions they had collected. A short time later they threw their support behind Hezekiah’s doomed reform movement. During the reign of Manasseh (ca. 687–642 b.c.e.), these tradents drew up their own program for reform based in part upon traditional materials. The program’s principal doctrine was the centralization of the cult in Jerusalem, a notion derived from a reinterpretation of the Davidic royal theology that promoted a unique covenantal relationship between Yahweh and the dynasty of David. This program produced an early form of the book of Deuteronomy. A copy of the book was deposited in the Temple where it was discovered during Josiah’s reign and again used as a foundation for reform activity. At that point the Deuteronomistic school was revived and eventually generated the DH. Nicholson agreed with Noth’s date for the final form of the DH, though he believed that the work began in late preexilic times.
Weinfeld’s views on the composition of the DH are quite similar in some respects to those of Nicholson. Weinfeld traced three stages of development in Deuteronomistic composition: (1) the book of Deuteronomy in the second half of the 7th century b.c.e., (2) the editing of Joshua through Kings in the first half of the 6th century b.c.e., and (3) the writing of the prose sermons in Jeremiah during the latter half of the same century. Weinfeld suggested that Deuteronomistic literary activity began during the time of Hezekiah and continued into the Exile (1972: 25). Hence, like Nicholson, Weinfeld agreed with Noth’s date for the final form of the DH. Weinfeld’s main concern in his exhaustive study was to locate the school responsible for the DH in the Israelite wisdom tradition. Many of the insights adduced by Weinfeld from ANE parallel texts are invaluable in the study of the DH. However, his arguments for connecting the DH with wisdom circles are not convincing since the arguments are based on (1) too broad a characterization of wisdom, and (2) overly general thematic similarities between wisdom literature and the DH. 
The arguments for a Deuteronomistic school lasting a century or more point out the difficulties involved in viewing the DH as a work addressing only exilic concerns. Nicholson’s reconstruction is especially attractive for its connections with historical circumstances. Still, it is never clear what a “school” or “circle” is supposed to have been, and the literary evidence alone is insufficient to reconstruct a social institution responsible for the production of the DH. 
b. Redactional Levels. Four years before the appearance of Noth’s famous monograph, A. Jepsen wrote Die Quellen des Königsbuches. Unfortunately, the publication of this book was delayed until 1953. Jepsen’s complex analysis led him to conclude that the book of Kings was essentially the product of two exilic redactors. The first (R 1), a priest, compiled a history of Israel and Judah early in the Exile. The second (R 2) was a prophet about a generation later who took the work of R 1 as his primary source and enlarged it. Jepsen attributed most of the prophetic materials and the “Succession Narrative” to the editorial work of R 2. Since Jepsen’s R 2 was essentially the same as Noth’s Dtr (Jepsen 1956: 100–1, 105), this independent study provided valuable corroboration for Noth’s basic thesis concerning the existence and unity of the DH. At the same time, Jepsen’s conviction that redactional levels could be discerned in the DH clearly differed from Noth’s perspective. While Jepsen’s reconstruction of the redactional history of the DH has not achieved any real following (note, however, Baena 1973; 1974a; 1974b), his postulation of redactional levels was the initial representative of a position on the authorship of the DH that has gained many adherents.
Two major alternatives to Noth’s theory of a single, exilic composer for the DH have surfaced in the generation since Noth due to proposals by R. Smend and F. M. Cross. These two opinions have little in common other than their agreement that the DH should be understood as the product of multiple editors. 
(1) Multiple Exilic Redactions. Smend (1971) initiated this approach with his contribution to the von Rad Festschrift. He treated selected passages in Joshua (1:7–9; 13:1b–6; 23) and Judges (1:1–2:9, 17, 20–21, 23), which, he argued, shared a different perspective from surrounding passages concerning Israel’s conquest of Canaan. According to the original version of the DH, Israel under Joshua conquered the entire land promised to them and drove out or destroyed its former inhabitants. The only task left to them was the settlement of the land. Smend called this original version of the DH “DtrG,” the G standing for Grundschrift, i.e., basic text, and he equated it with Noth’s Dtr. However, in the texts from Joshua and Judges listed above Smend found references to peoples the Israelites still needed to expel from the land. Smend also discerned an interest in law in these passages. He concluded that these texts were additions by a later redactor whom he designated DtrN (omistic). Smend’s theory has been extended by W. Dietrich (1972). 
One of the problems with Smend’s initial essay was that it dealt with passages whose literary-critical condition was very much in disarray and debated among scholars. Dietrich’s study avoided this problem by focusing on a more fruitful area of the DH, the book of Kings. As Smend had done, Dietrich used literary-critical techniques to isolate secondary material in various narratives of Kings. He showed that these insertions had a common language and theology which he then examined in order to discover the identity of their redactor. Dietrich concluded that the DH had undergone two redactions beyond the original one (DtrG). The first and major one of these was the work of an individual associated with prophetic (especially Jeremianic) circles (1972: 104). DtrP, as Dietrich designated him, was both a writer, who composed many of the oracles now found in the DH, and an editor, who added some older prophetic materials to his DtrG Vorlage. DtrP was primarily responsible for the structure and contents of the DH. A final nomistic editor, designated DtrN, added certain other texts bearing a pro-Davidic interest, including the reference to Jehoiachin in 2 Kgs 25:27–30. Dietrich devoted very little space to the treatment of DtrN, almost presupposing its existence. Dietrich dated DtrG to ca. 580 b.c.e. and DtrN to ca. 560 with DtrP somewhere in between (1972: 143–44).
A third member of this “Göttingen school” is T. Veijola (1975; 1977). His two monographs have analyzed various portions of the DH according to the scheme worked out by Dietrich in Kings. In his 1975 volume Veijola covered most of 1-2 Samuel and 1 Kings 1–2. His 1977 work dealt with Judges 8–9; 17–21; and 1 Samuel 7–12. Both monographs assumed the correctness of Dietrich’s approach to the DH. Like Dietrich, Veijola used literary-critical arguments to partition the passages he treated between the three redactors, DtrG, DtrP, and DtrN. In Veijola’s view, DtrG had a positive perspective on the monarchy and was responsible for the doctrine in the DH concerning the permanence of the Davidic dynasty. DtrN, in contrast, viewed the monarchy negatively. While David himself was judged by DtrN to be a model king because of his fidelity to Yahweh’s law, the institution of kingship was the product of human sin and was damned by DtrN on narrow, legalistic grounds. The middle redactor, DtrP, qualified the positive tone of DtrG toward monarchy by the insertion of prophetic stories which subordinated the king’s role and importance to those of the prophets. Those stories also illustrated the certainty of Yahweh’s prophetically mitigated word. The basic approach of Smend, Dietrich, and Veijola to the DH has been adopted by R. Klein (1 Samuel WBC) and E. Würthwein (Kings ATD). 
The adherents of the Göttingen school are expert literary critics, so the literary-critical observations that form the basis of their theory are often quite valuable. However, there are methodological problems with the approach as a whole (see Hoffmann 1980: 18–20; Campbell 1986: 5–12). These appear particularly in Dietrich’s work, since Veijola simply accepts Dietrich’s methods. For one thing, this approach assumes Noth’s conclusion that the DH was initially the product of exilic, Deuteronomistic redaction. The question of the existence of a preexilic, Deuteronomist or a pre-Dtr Vorlage is ignored. Yet, these are major issues in the debate over the authorship and setting of the DH. This failure has caused the proponents of this approach perhaps to misdate and misunderstand the prophetic component of the DH (see below). Secondly, the proponents of this approach have not produced an entirely clear picture of the three redactors. There are two sides to this problem. One is that the criteria provided do not always distinguish DtrG, DtrP, and DtrN clearly from each other. Dietrich, for example, is forced to admit that DtrP borrows heavily from DtrG both in terms of language and theology (1972: 138–39). The other side is that it is difficult to perceive any ideological unity within the material assigned to each redactor. The literary and linguistic evidence compiled by Dietrich and Veijola does illustrate the presence of editorial strands, but there is a need to distinguish more clearly the interests or tendencies of the editors at different levels. 
(2) Double Redaction. The second major position on the composition of the DH is associated with Cross (CMHE, 274–89), who treated the issues of authorship, date, and purpose of the DH as different facets of the same question. Citing the validity of some of the older arguments, such as those of Jepsen (see above) and J. Gray (Kings OTL, 13–15), for a preexilic edition of Kings, Cross traced two themes through the book of Kings. The first was the sin of Jeroboam and the wickedness of the N kingdom, which culminated in the exposition on the destruction of Samaria in 2 Kgs 17:1–23. The second theme was grounded in the covenant theology of the S monarchy. The faithfulness of David set the tone for Yahweh’s dealings with Judah in the same way that Jeroboam’s sin led to Israel’s decline. There were no good kings in Israel; all of them sinned against Yahweh by “walking in the way of Jeroboam, son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin” (cf. 1 Kgs 15:26, 34; 16:19, 26, 31; 22:52; 2 Kgs 3:3; 10:29; 13:2, 6, 11; 14:24; 15:9, 18, 24, 28). In contrast to the series of dynasties in the N, Judah continued under David’s descendants. Judah had its share of evil kings, but Yahweh had promised David an enduring fiefdom (nîr, see Hanson 1968) in Jerusalem as a reward for his loyalty (1 Kgs 11:36; 15:4; 2 Kgs 8:19). The good kings in Judah were compared individually with David. The only king, including David, who escaped criticism was Josiah; his reforming reign represented the climax of this second theme. The persistence of these two themes and their respective climaxes led Cross to posit a primary edition of the DH written as a program supporting Josiah’s reform measures (CMHE, 284–85). This editor (Dtr 1) admonished his contemporaries to obedience to the Mosaic covenant that Josiah was attempting to reinstitute, believing that Yahweh would restore the kingdom by the hand of this new David in whom Dtr 1 had placed his hopes. The bulk of the DH, in Cross’ view, consisted of this propaganda from Josiah’s reign. A second, exilic redactor (Dtr 2) brought the primary edition up to date and blamed the Exile on Manasseh, whose wickedness doomed the later reforms of Josiah to futility (2 Kgs 21:10–25). Cross suggested that certain passages throughout the DH represented retouchings by Dtr 2. Such passages made the promise to David conditional, presupposed the Exile, or addressed the exiles and called for their repentance (Deut 4:27–31; 28:36–37, 63–68; 29:27; 30:1–10; Josh 23:11–13, 15–16; 1 Sam 12:25; 1 Kgs 2:4; 6:11–13; 8:25b, 46–53; 9:4–9; 2 Kgs 17:19; 20:17–18; 22:15–20; and perhaps Deut 30:11–20; 1 Kgs 3:14). The lack of any peroration on the fall of Judah comparable to that found in 2 Kings 17 on the fall of Israel was best explained, according to Cross, by regarding the exilic editor as less articulate than Dtr 1 (CMHE, 288). 
Cross’ thematic argument has convinced a growing number of American scholars that the primary edition of the DH was Josianic, though his position has not been widely accepted in Europe. His Josianic setting for Dtr 1 accords well with the important place of Josiah noticed by previous studies of the DH, including that of Noth. Subsequent studies have gathered more evidence for a primary, Josianic edition. R. Friedman (1981a: 6–10), in particular, has noticed fundamental changes in the editorial perspective following the narrative concerning Josiah, and he has pointed out several deliberate links between the descriptions of the Mosaic period in Deuteronomy and Josiah’s efforts at reform. R. Nelson (1981), in his monograph advocating the double redaction theory, has focused on literary analysis and theology in addition to Cross’ thematic points. Nelson has also supplied the most thorough collection and evaluation available of the arguments for this hypothesis. 
A number of scholars who concur with Cross’ basic hypothesis have published works concerned with sketching more precisely the contours of Dtr 2’s revisions and theology. All of these scholars are basically in agreement that Dtr 2 wrote during the Exile with the goals of ascribing that predicament to Manasseh and of bringing the Josianic history up to date. However, other passages attributed to Dtr 2 by Cross have been assigned to Dtr 1. Friedman (1981a: 12–13) and Nelson (1981: 118) have shown independently that the passages which Cross ascribed to Dtr 2 because they make the promise to David conditional (1 Kgs 2:4; 8:25b; 9:4–5) actually refer only to the loss of the N kingdom and hence are best viewed as the work of Dtr 1. Reference to captivity within a passage does not necessarily signal Dtr 2’s hand, since exile was a common and feared occurrence in the ANE long before the 6th century b.c.e. Also, the exile of the N kingdom was well known in Judah after 721 b.c.e. The judgment that a passage “sounds like” it was addressed to the exiles is too subjective by itself to carry much conviction. Friedman and Nelson have instead based their arguments for Dtr 2 material on thematic and linguistic criteria. Their conclusions tend to support Cross’ initial instincts in seeing Dtr 2’s revisions as relatively light. 
However, others credit Dtr 2 with a much more active role in shaping the DH. Levenson, for example, argues on literary and theological grounds that Dtr 2 was responsible for inserting the Book of the Law into Deuteronomy (1975) and ascribes most of Solomon’s speech in 1 Kings 8 to him (1980). Mayes (1983) has produced the first attempt to reconstruct in detail the redactional history of the entire DH. His literary-critical discussion credits Dtr 2 with significant revision and supplementation throughout the corpus. 

c. A Single Exilic Author. B. Peckham (1985) and H.-D. Hoffmann (1980) have made separate attempts to return to Noth’s original position that the DH was the work of a single exilic writer, although each also tried to refine Noth’s conclusions. Peckham’s 1985 monograph (note also his 1983 article) expressed the opinion that the real problem with Noth’s proposal was his understanding of the sources of the DH as fragmentary and discontinuous. By way of correction, Peckham offered a complex theory about the way in which Dtr 2 rewrote various sources in order to form the entire historical work from Genesis through Kings. Peckham analyzed each of Dtr 2’s sources in turn. The fundamental source was J’s terse narrative. Each of the following sources was composed as a running commentary on the text that grew out of Israel’s historiographic tradition. J was expounded by Dtr 1, apparently in the reign of Hezekiah. An alternative interpretation of J was written by P. E was produced as a supplement to J and P and as a variant to Dtr 1. Dtr 2’s work was the culmination of this literary process. Dtr 2 was not an editor, but a tradent who thoroughly revised and rewrote the histories which he inherited. Dtr 2’s history was never itself revised, but a legislative supplement (Lev 1:1–7:38 and 11:46–27:34), designated Ps, was grafted onto it, thus giving the Pentateuch its present form. Peckham’s view of the relationship between the sources and the extent of Dtr 2’s work is creative but highly idiosyncratic. His criteria for distinguishing these sources are never revealed. Indeed, he states that Dtr 2’s use of repetition and imitation makes his history “almost indistinguishable from its antecedents” (1985: 49). As a result, his reconstruction of the various layers of composition in the DH appears almost entirely subjective. 
Like Peckham (1983: 217–18), Hoffmann (1980: 16–17) asserts that Noth’s original thesis contains an inherent contradiction in the notion of the Dtr as both author and editor. His own solution to this perceived contradiction is, however, quite different than Peckham’s. Hoffmann concludes that the DH is essentially a fictional history of Israel’s cult by an exilic or postexilic author. The Dtr’s technique is to contrast the right reforms of good kings with the evil “reforms” of wicked kings. This “pendulum swing” effect is more exaggerated as the account approaches its climax (Zielpunkt) in Josiah’s reform (2 Kings 22–24). Josiah and his reign serve as the model for a new beginning when the Exile is over. The story of Josiah shares connections with that of every reforming king before him. Indeed, the hallmark of the Dtr’s literary work is the way in which he links texts by a variety of methods. The basis of the Dtr’s judgments concerning the kings of Israel and Judah is the first commandment of the Mosaic law, which sets Israel apart from the nations. Jeroboam, who led Israel away from cultic centralization, and Ahab, who imported Baalism, are the paradigms of wickedness. While the Dtr did employ some historical sources, this occurred more rarely than most scholars, including Noth, have admitted, and these sources can no longer be isolated precisely in the Dtr’s highly fictional and tendentious narrative (compare the similar views of Van Seters 1983a: 317–21, 354–62). In short, Hoffmann sees the Deuteronomist as a true author, not a compiler or redactor, whose work is far more creative than even Noth perceived it to be.
There is much that is useful in Hoffmann’s book. His analysis of the cross-references within the DH confirms Noth’s view of the essential unity of the work. He demonstrates the significance of the cult for the Dtr, a topic which had not previously received so full a treatment. He shows, perhaps more clearly than any previous scholar, the importance of Josiah in the DH. However, his theory regarding the exilic setting for the Dtr does not do justice to the significance of Josiah in the DH; the emphasis on Josiah is explained more clearly by Cross’ proposal that the original edition of the DH was in fact Josianic. Hoffmann’s monograph completely ignores the position of Cross and his followers. His failure to treat any king after Josiah also tends to substantiate the view that the material following Josiah in the DH is a less creative narrative tacked on to the main body of the work. Finally, Hoffmann’s judgment regarding the fictional nature of the DH is unwarranted. To be sure, the Dtr (or Dtr 1) is a creative writer with definite interests, whose work must therefore be used with great caution in historical reconstruction. At the same time, the evidence for various historical traditions underlying the DH is too strong simply to dismiss the work cavalierly as fiction (see section 5 below). 

d. Toward a Solution. Almost all of the above-mentioned studies on the composition of the DH have some merit, and it is possible to treat their various conclusions as complementary rather than contrastive. For instance, the notion of a Deuteronomistic school is compatible not only with the view that the DH was put together in its final form by a single individual in the Exile, but also with the theory of multiple editions of the DH (Weinfeld 1972: 7–8). The conclusions of Dietrich and Cross are not entirely irreconcilable, since they actually focus on different aspects of the issue of authorship. The arguments of Cross are primarily thematic, while Dietrich’s are literary. Yet, Cross’ evidence that the primary redaction of the DH supported Josiah carries more conviction than does Dietrich’s interpretation on literary-critical grounds. The importance of Josiah for the DH is confirmed not only by the additional evidence from Friedman and Nelson, but also by the observations of Hoffmann. Still, Cross’ theory of a double redaction does not answer all the questions raised by the DH. In particular, the significance of the prophetic stories with their generally negative orientation toward the monarchy goes beyond the interests of Dtr 1 and even stands in tension with his support of the Davidic dynasty, especially as it is represented in Josiah. At the same time, the stress on prophecy is not likely a part of the same edition that added the laconic account of Judah after Josiah and blamed Manasseh for the Exile (Cross, CMHE, 285–86). 
An intriguing addendum to Cross’ theory incorporating some of the most important literary insights of Dietrich and Veijola has been proposed by P. K. McCarter. In his volumes on the books of Samuel (1 Samuel AB, 18–23; 2 Samuel AB, 6–8) McCarter takes the position that a pre-Deuteronomistic level of redaction, done from a prophetic perspective, exists in this material. Hence, much of what Veijola identifies as DtrP in 2 Samuel is assigned by McCarter to this prophetic history. The prophetic historian, in McCarter’s view, collected the oldest sources underlying Samuel. In 1 Samuel these include the Ark Narrative (1 Sam 2:12–17, 22–25; 4:1b–7:1), a cycle of stories about Saul (beneath 1 Sam 1:1–28; 9:1–10:16; 10:27b–11:15; 13:2–7a, 15b–23; 14:1–46), and an apology for David sometimes called the “History of David’s Rise” (1980; 1 Samuel AB, 18–20), behind 1 Samuel 16–2 Samuel 5. McCarter argues that in 2 Samuel the primary source was an apology for Solomon (the so-called “Succession Narrative”), which was itself a compilation of various stories from David’s reign (2 Samuel AB, 9–16). See also COURT NARRATIVE (2 SAMUEL 9–1 KINGS 2). The prophetic historian reordered these sources, with editorial comments, into a running, historical narrative. According to McCarter, the skeptical view of kingship and its subjection to prophecy within the prophetic history betrays the work’s N origin. However, the history’s acceptance of the Davidic dynasty and the text’s hopeful orientation toward Judah as the bearer of Israel’s future leads McCarter to date the prophetic document to the end of the 8th century, during or shortly after the fall of Samaria (see also Mayes 1983: 84–85). 
A. Campbell (1986) has also posited a prophetic document, which he calls the prophetic record, underlying the DH in the books of Samuel and Kings. Campbell’s reconstruction differs from that of McCarter in several particulars. Campbell does not assign as much material in Samuel to his prophetic record as McCarter assigns to his prophetic history. For example, Campbell does not believe that the prophetic record included the Ark Narrative or the Succession Narrative (1986: 67, 82–84). Campbell’s prophetic record viewed monarchy as the gift of Yahweh and not as a sinful, human invention, as McCarter argues is the case with his prophetic history. Finally, Campbell dates his prophetic record to the reign of Jehu (late 9th century b.c.e.) and sees it as a document that sought to legitimate Jehu’s prophetic anointing and therefore, his kingship (1986: 108–10). Hence, Campbell traces the prophetic record in 1-2 Kings (cf. McKenzie 1985b). He finds it underlying the accounts of the N kings and culminating with a version of Jehu’s revolt beneath 2 Kings 9–10. In Campbell’s reconstruction, the prophetic record underlies the competition on Mt. Carmel in 1 Kings 18, the Naboth story in 1 Kings 21, and Ahijah’s death in 2 Kings 1, but not the rest of the Elijah cycle and none of the Elisha stories. 
Despite their differences, both McCarter and Campbell agree that a N prophetic document underlies the Deuteronomistic redaction in the books of Samuel and Kings. The existence of such a pre-Deuteronomistic, prophetic work may help to resolve some of the literary and thematic tensions within the DH. If McCarter’s characterization is correct, the prophetic history should continue as an underlying layer in Kings (cf. McKenzie 1985b). Such a layer explains the preservation of lengthy prophetic stories which obviously had little to do in their original form with the concerns of Dtr 1 (e.g., 1 Kgs 13:11–32). It also supports the idea that many of the negative sentiments expressed in the DH toward Israel or its kingship come not from a late redaction of the history but from an earlier level founded in the old league traditions of the north. A number of questions about this prophetic level remain to be answered. What were its exact parameters? Is there any relationship between this prophetic work and the prophetic concerns pointed to by Nicholson in Deuteronomy? Is this prophetic redaction related to arguments by various scholars (Halpern 1981: 48–53; Mayes 1983: 120–25; McKenzie 1985a: 174–76; Weippert 1972) for redactional activity in the DH at the time of Hezekiah? The most that can be said at present is that a prophetic redaction of the sort described by McCarter and Campbell may have served as a major source for Dtr 1’s account of the monarchy. 
Since the days of Rost, Noth, and their contemporaries, and thanks to their pioneering work, scholars have made important strides in uncovering the process behind the formation of the DH. There is not, of course, unanimous agreement on the issues, yet progress has been made and continues to be made, however slowly, within historical critical scholarship. This is an important point since several scholars in recent years have adopted newer approaches to the Bible, abandoning historical criticism out of frustration with its results (see below). Recent work on the books of Samuel and Kings makes it clear that a more fruitful approach to the question of the composition of the DH may be found not in late redactions (a task that has preoccupied many researchers), but in the search for sources and redactions preceding the edition of Dtr 1. McCarter and Campbell have drawn attention to the significance of intermediate redactions lying between the oldest sources and Dtr 1.

D. Conclusion
The genius of Noth’s initial proposal for the existence of the DH was his perception of the overall unity of the account from Deuteronomy through Kings. The genius of Cross’ later correction rests in his observation that the principal concerns of this large unit were with an earlier era, rather than the period reached by the DH’s account. In Cross’ theory, the second editor of the DH was primarily responsible for adding a relatively brief appendix to the body of the work, while the unity of that body was maintained. The search for sources and redactions underlying the DH is certainly a valuable endeavor and has provided scholars with a clearer picture of how this great work developed. However, those who search for sources must be careful not to obscure the unity of the work, Noth’s real insight. Some recent treatments of the DH (Hoffmann and Van Seters) call for fresh studies of the creativeness of the Dtr in his use of traditions and in his own composition. Critical scholarship of the DH has a real need for specialists in literary studies and historiography. But those who study the creativity of the Dtr must in turn not lose sight of the conclusions of older literary critics regarding the sources used by the Dtr.

McKenzie, Steven L. “Deuteronomistic History.” Edited by David Noel Freedman. The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary. New York: Doubleday, 1992.

While I don't have a problem with the idea that a "Deuteronomist" or school of "Deuteronomists" promulgated the Deuteronomistic History (and, more generally, the Primary History), I do take issue with the timing and actors assumed by the Deuteronomostic History Theory because it simultaneously attempts to treat a document as both fiction and fact.  Noth and his followers have no rational basis for treating any aspect of the Deuteronomistic History as factual.

More Evidence that the Deuteronomist Intended to Portray King Solomon as Unfit

I was recently reading through Reconsidering Israel and Judah: Recent Studies inthe Deuteronomistic History, edited by Gary Knoppers and Gordon McConville, which includes a fascinating article by the late Timo Veijola.  The article is entitled "Solomon: Bathsheba's Firstborn."

The editors summarize the article nicely:
Veijola offers a study of the narrative of David’s affair with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, that is a good illustration of a conventional literary- and historical-critical approach. Broadly, the historical assumptions follow the well-established view of the Succession Narrative as a separate composition (Rost). The specific thesis, not new in itself but presented with forceful new arguments, is that Solomon was actually the first son born to David and Bathsheba, not the second, and therefore the offspring of the adulterous encounter. The insertion between 2 Sam 11:27a and 12:24b was made by a writer who wanted to provide a more acceptable beginning for Solomon. 
Veijola draws attention to strict illogicalities, unexpected features, and on their basis reconstructs a history of the text. It is interesting to consider that the same features (including the absence of a naming formula for the first child; the penitence of David before the child dies; the insufficient time for Bathsheba to give birth to a second child within the time frame of the Ammonite War) might lead to a different kind of treatment according to the modern literary approaches.

Why would it matter if Solomon were Bathsheba's firstborn child?  Because that would make Solomon the illegitimate offspring of an adulterous affair, and Deuteronomy 23:2 states:
A person of illegitimate birth may not enter the assembly of the Lord; to the tenth generation no one related to him may do so.
Veijola introduces the topic thusly:
The genealogy of Jesus at the beginning of the First Gospel (Matt 1:6) includes the notice “David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah.” What is peculiar about this notice is that instead of “Bathsheba” it speaks of “Uriah’s wife,” thus calling to mind the scandalous story behind Solomon’s birth. Indeed, one might at first glance take from the notice the understanding that Solomon was the adulterously conceived first child of David and Bathsheba—which could hardly have been the original intent of the genealogical notice. But quite aside from that, this possibility stimulates closer examination of the circumstances of Solomon’s birth.
What strikes me about the emphasized language is that it opens up the possibility that the insertions in 2 Samuel identified above were made after Matthew was written, i.e., sometime after the first or second century CE.

Veijola concludes the article, observing:

The Succession Narrator then says nothing about Solomon for a considerable time. He returns to that stage only in 1 Kings 1, 85 with Solomon’s ambitious mother and the scheming prophet Nathan organizing a counterrevolution against Solomon’s older brother Adonijah and his supporters.86 With a masterly trick, Nathan and Bathsheba dupe the age enfeebled David (a case of the “Pope’s being deceived by the Curia”) 87 by persuading him to fulfill a vow he is said to have made, thus securing the the throne for Bathsheba’s son (1 Kgs 1:*11–49). On these events, too, the narrator makes no comment but continues calmly to the next phase, the portrayal of the purges that put an end to Solomon’s political opponents (1 Kgs 1:*50–53; 2:*13ff.). One after another the opponents are executed, even violating the asylum of the sanctuary (2:28–31a, 34),88 [[250]] but again the Succession Narrator declines explicit comment, merely stating laconically after the last execution, “so the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon” (1 Kgs 2:46b). He has left it to us to draw our own conclusions about the theological and moral value of the events that are described.
Actually, as the Deuteronomist wrote the laws of Deuteronomy that Solomon violates in the Succession Narrative, the Deuteronomist sought to compel the conclusion that Solomon was not a fit king.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Documentary Hypothesis and Linguistic Dating of Biblical Hebrew: Circular Reasoning

In the Introduction to The Bible with Sources Revealed,  Richard Elliott Friedman argues that linguistic dating of Biblical Hebrew supports the Documentary Hypothesis:

When we separate the texts that have been identified with the various sources, we find that they reflect the Hebrew language of several distinct periods.
The development of Hebrew that we observe through these successive periods indicates that:
  • The Hebrew of J and E comes from the earliest stage of biblical Hebrew.
  • The Hebrew of P comes from a later stage of the language.
  • The Hebrew of the Deuteronomistic texts comes from a still later stage of the language.
  • P comes from an earlier stage of Hebrew than the Hebrew of the book of Ezekiel (which comes from the time of the Babylonian exile).
  • All of these main sources come from a stage of Hebrew known as Classical Biblical Hebrew, which is earlier than the Hebrew of the postexilic, Persian period (known as Late Biblical Hebrew).
This chronology of the language of the sources is confirmed by Hebrew texts outside the Bible. The characteristics of Classical Biblical Hebrew are confirmed through comparison with inscriptions that have been discovered through archaeology, which come from the period before the Babylonian exile (587 BCE). The characteristics of Late Biblical Hebrew are confirmed through comparison with the Hebrew of later sources such as the Dead Sea Scrolls.1
Despite the power of this evidence, it is practically never mentioned by those who oppose the hypothesis.
A major problem with Friedman's assertion is that linguistic dating of Biblical Hebrew relies in large part on the Documentary Hypothesis being true.  Further, linguistic dating of Biblical Hebrew also relies on the Primary History being history.  That is, perceived differences in Biblical Hebrew are first used to identify different Biblical sources (e.g., J, E, P and D), and then the chronology of events depicted in the Primary History is used to date those sources relative to one another.

Ian Young and Robert Rezetko argue that Biblical Hebrew cannot be linguistically dated and that the what many Biblical scholars refer to as Early Biblical Hebrew and Late Biblical Hebrew actually coexisted and were the result of distinctive styles of literary Hebrew through the biblical period.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Starting a Serious Discussion About the Documentary Hypothesis

This post from Vridar has a good discussion of Russ Gmirkin's criticism of the Documentary Hypothesis.  As I intend to show, the nature and order of the four sources are better explained and understood by the geopolitical reality of Ptolemaic-Seleucid relations from the 3rd century BCE through the middle of the 2nd century BCE.

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Use of the Works of Josephus as Evidence

My journey to understand the origins of the Old Testament (or Hebrew Bible) turned quickly from searching for answers within the text to searching for answers outside of it.  Why?  Because, in spite of the admonition in Deuteronomy to neither add to nor subtract from the Law, there is much evidence that the Old Testament was subject to many redactions and interpolations, i.e., the Old Testament was continuously altered over many decades, if not centuries.  There is no way to definitively extract the original text from what we have today.

One of the first, natural stops after the text of the Old Testaments is the body of work allegedly authored by Flavius Josephus (usually referred to simply as "Josephus"),  As will be detailed below, that work, too, has clearly been subject to interpolation (a kind word for "forgery").

Josephus: the Author

Before turning to the work of Josephus, who exactly was he?  According to the Yale Anchor Bible Dictionary:

JOSEPHUS (PERSON). A 1st-century Jewish politician, soldier, and historian, whose writings constitute important sources for our understanding of biblical history and of the political history of Roman Palestine in the 1st century c.e. 
Josephus was born in 37 c.e. and was given the Hebrew name Joseph ben Mattathias. His mother was a descendant of the Hasmonean family that had ruled Jerusalem a century earlier, and by birthright he was a priest. In Jerusalem he received a superb education, and at the age of 27 (in 64 c.e.) he led a delegation to the court of the Roman emperor Nero. Two years later he was pressed to serve as the general of the Jewish forces in Galilee in the revolt against Rome. He was captured and afterwards became a Roman citizen and pensioner of the Flavian emperors Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian. He is most widely known by the Roman name he then acquired, Flavius Josephus (or simply “Josephus”). 
In Rome Josephus resided in an apartment within the emperor’s house and devoted much of his time to writing. In part his works were addressed to his fellow Jews, justifying to them not only Roman conduct during the Jewish War, but also his own personal conduct in switching loyalties. However, his writings were also designed to justify Jewish culture and religion to an interested and sometimes sympathetic Roman audience.
Of course, everything we know about Josephus was told to us by Josephus in one of his works, i.e., Vita.  The Yale Anchor Bible Dictionary entry continues:
The earliest of [Josephus'] extant writings is the Bellum Judaicarum (or Jewish War), which was apparently drafted initially in Aramaic and then translated into Greek 5 to 10 years after the 70 c.e. destruction of Jerusalem. His second work, Antiquitates Judaicae (or Jewish Antiquities), was published more than a decade later; it was much longer, and recounts Jewish history from creation to the Jewish War, and contains some valuable historical information. His last two works, probably published shortly before his death, include the Vita (or Life), an autobiography intended primarily to defend his conduct during the Jewish War 30 years earlier, and Contra Apionem (or Against Apion), an apologetic defense of Judaism against a wave of anti-Semitism emanating from Alexandria. Josephus probably died ca. 100 c.e., several years after Trajan had become emperor in Rome. His writings, while generally ignored by fellow Jews, were preserved by Christians not only because they chronicled generally and so well the “time between the testaments,” but also because they contained specific references to John the Baptist, Jesus of Nazareth, and Jesus’ brother James.
And, as it turns out, the earliest manuscripts we have of Josephus' work are actually quite late and were preserved by the Catholic church for apologetic purposes.  The Yale Anchor Bible Dictionary entry on Josephus continues:
So far as we can tell, all the writings of Josephus have been preserved, thanks to the interest of the Christian Church. There are 133 manuscripts of some or all of his works; but the earliest of these dates from the 11th century; and the text, especially of Ant, is often in doubt. Only one papyrus fragment of his works has been found (of JW 2.20.6–7 §576–79; and 2.20.7–8 §582–84), but it consists of only 38 complete words and 74 words in part. The fact, however, that there are no fewer than nine places (several of them, to be sure, based on somewhat shaky conjectures deriving from the number of letters in a line) where the fragment differs from known manuscripts leads one to think that the text of JW, which is in much better shape than that of Ant, is even less secure than has been supposed. The fact that the papyrus agrees now with one group of our extant manuscripts and now with another leads one to suggest that a century ago the editor of the definitive text of Josephus, Benedictus Niese, relied excessively on one family of manuscripts. Hence, for example, in the famous episode at Masada (in JW 7), we should now have less confidence in the reliability of the text. Another clue to the unreliability of the text that we possess may be found in the fact that the Church Fathers of the 3d and 4th centuries (Origen, Eusebius, and Jerome) declare that, according to Josephus, Jerusalem was destroyed because of the murder of James the Just, a statement nowhere to be found in our present text of Josephus. While such statements may represent tendentious writing, they may also reflect a text different from ours. Similarly, as Shlomo Pines has noted, there are statements in the 10th-century Arabic historian Agapius allegedly drawn from Josephus which are not in our texts (1971: 49–63). 
The best modern edition of the Gk text remains the editio maior of Niese (7 vols., 1885–95), which has a much more conservative and full apparatus criticus than his editio minor (6 vols., 1888–95). Of the complete or partial Gk mss mentioned by Schreckenberg (1972), 50 were unknown to Niese, though only 2 of these are apparently of any major significance. Naber’s edition (1888–96), which appeared almost simultaneously with that of Niese, has a smoother and more readable text than that of Niese but is too free with emendations and has numerous errors in the apparatus criticus.
If the earliest extant manuscripts of Josephus' works present problems, the various translations are perhaps more problematic:
For many years the standard translation of Josephus’ works into English was that of William Whiston in 1737, which has been reprinted at least 217 times. The translation has undoubted virility, but is based on Haverkamp’s inferior 1726 text, is full of outright errors, and in its notes has such strange notions as that Josephus was an Ebionite Christian and a bishop of Jerusalem. 
The Loeb Classical Library edition, by Henry St. J. Thackeray et al. (originally in nine volumes, now reprinted in ten volumes [London, 1926–65]) contains an eclectic Greek text which is dependent on Niese and Naber, with relatively few original emendations. The translation is often rather free, the commentary (frequently indebted to Reinach’s French edition) is increasingly full, and there are a number of useful appendixes, especially bibliographical, in the last four volumes. Geoffrey A. Williamson’s 1959 translation of JW (revised by E. Mary Smallwood in 1981) is popular and readable, having removed passages which appear to interrupt the narrative. Gaalya Cornfeld’s 1982 translation of JW is often closely related to Thackeray’s Loeb version; it has an extensive commentary and lavish illustrations but contains many errors.
Citation: Feldman, Louis H. “Josephus (Person).” Edited by David Noel Freedman. The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary. New York: Doubleday, 1992.

Josephus: the Works

Let's be clear.  I would not have taken the time to investigate Josephus or the provenance of his works, if I had not detected serious problems in the English translations of his works, which many people take at face value.  In his Introduction to the English Edition of his A Search for the Origins of Judaism: From Joshua to the Mishnah, Etienne Nodet articulated some of the issues of Josephus' works that had concerned me:
The present enquiry developed on the margins of a French translation and commentary on the Jewish Antiquities of Flavius Josephus. The enquiry was initiated as a result of two surprises and one particular question in regard to the history of Judaea and Judaism.

It is striking how poorly informed we are on the history of Israel for most of the period which extends from the destruction of Jerusalem (587 BCE) with the deportation of the inhabitants to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar down to the installation of the Hasmonaeans about 150 BCE. However, this period of more than four centuries encompasses the Exile, the Return, the rebuilding of the Temple, the beginnings of Judaism and the putting into writing of a great part of the Hebrew Bible; the contrast with what we know of the four following centuries is surprising. 
We are well informed, however, about the great empires that ruled that part of the world during this period, thanks to the Greek historians and the discoveries of archaeologists. How is it then that the cultural history of Palestine for the Persian and Hellenistic periods has not managed to extricate itself from a dense fog, or that the elements for a synthesis amount to no more than a few isolated points that constantly give the impression of being shaky or arbitrary? Josephus is no better informed than we are and we often have the feeling that he is deliberately drawing out a meagre documentation in order to fill up centuries that are especially empty. Since by Graeco-Roman cultural standards the only thing that counted was that which was ancient, Josephus's explicit concern, after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE, is to show the antiquity of his nation, especially using the Bible to begin with (Jewish Antiquities), then by putting it up against the external testimony of historians (Against Apion). He even tries to give precise chronologies, going so far as to suggest that Moses was the most ancient of all law- givers. His non-biblical sources are for the most part lost, but, given his purpose, we may credit him with not having left out any important document, at least voluntarily. The balance sheet on his investigation, however, is disturbing. With regard to the history of Israel and Judah, the sources cited from before the second century BCE do not agree with the Bible, and later sources, when they do agree, are really dependent on it. Frequently the suspicion arises that he is aware of the weakness of his proofs, taken individually, and tries to substitute a heavy barrage for accuracy of aim. Several centuries later, in his Preparation for the Gospel, Eusebius of Caesarea undertook a comparable project for similar reasons, but his results are no more conclusive. This is the first surprise.
Professor Nodet's concerns, to me, are obvious, and he misses some more fundamental concerns that arise from understanding the history surrounding Josephus' works.  For example, Josephus allegedly wrote Against Apion in 90 C.E., by which time Apion had been dead for almost forty years.  Apion had been a contemporary of Philo of Alexandria, and the two allegedly argued to Emperor Nero over the propriety of Jewish activities in Alexandria circa 40 CE. Yet Against Apion treats Apion as a living opponent, which most likely was a literary device meant to underscore the long-lived nature of Apion's arguments that Judaism was a relatively new phenomenon, not an effort to be duplicitous.

Why, in circa 90 C.E., did Josephus feel compelled to defend the antiquity of the Jews?  More importantly, how is it that he could have failed so miserably, in hindsight and with the modern archaeological record now at our disposal?

Most biblical scholars avoid these questions, and many seem to assume/argue that the antiquity of Judaism was well-accepted by the time of Josephus, and that Josephus merely argued questions of antiquity as a literary device.

I am sorry, but I find it impossible to imagine that Josephus would engage in a debate with a dead man unless the dead man held the high ground, that his arguments continued to carry the day even forty years after his death.

Another way to put this is that, in a strictly legal sense, one of the few things hearsay (which Josephus's works are) can be used to prove absent the availability of the person who uttered it is the person's then present state of mind.  Josephus' clearly was motivated to write an apologetic work for a reason.

Josephus: the Interpolations

Scholars have identified many interpolations in the works of Josephus, and the most controversial allegations relate to Jesus Christ, but I am not concerned about those.  My issue is with the text identified by "Josephus" as allegedly being found in Manetho's lost work Aegyptica.

From Berossos and Manetho, Introduced and Translated: Native Traditions in Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt by Gerald P. Verbrugghe and John Moore Wickersham, p. 115-118:
Manetho’s History of Egypt is a lost work, in that it has not been preserved through its own tradition of copying and recopying in manuscript. Instead we have the references to Manetho and citations from Manetho made by other writers in their own works, which have indeed been transmitted through a manuscript tradition (see chap. 9, table D.) These are the texts presented in translation here (in chaps. 6 and 7), and we are totally dependent on these for our knowledge of Manetho and his writings. 
We say that our knowledge of what Manetho wrote depends on indirect tradition. All of the remains of Manetho’s writings come to us indirectly, and the fact that none of it has been transmitted directly must warn the student to be on the alert for errors and distortions that might give a false picture of what Manetho actually wrote. There are in fact severe difficulties with the fragments. In the first place, Manetho’s work became involved in a serious polemic that occurred during the Hellenistic period: various barbarian cultures of the newly Hellenized kingdoms made claims to being older than Greek civilization and to having contributed significantly to the formation of Greek culture. Hellenes were on the whole not averse to viewing their culture as an import from some venerable non-Greek source—lawgivers, for example, were normally said to have gained wisdom abroad, as the Athenian Solon was supposed to have visited Egypt and stayed at Sebennytos (which was, by coincidence, Manetho’s birthplace).51 Leading contestants in this battle to appropriate the origins of the ruling Hellenic civilization were the Egyptians and the Jews, and there is a body of literature representing the claims of one party or attacking the claims of the other.52 The consequence for Manetho was that his work as a whole was lost in antiquity—one cannot say just how early—and replaced by sets of excerpts designed to be used in the polemic. 
The excerpts from Josephus’s counterpolemic contra Apionem (Against Apion) found in F9-F12 are not in fact a genuine quotation from Manetho’s whole work but citations from a set of altered and distorted excerpts. We cannot give a thorough discussion here, but the reader can easily see problems in Josephus’s text: the foundation of Avaris is described twice (F9 §§78, 86-87); Osarsephos is introduced twice (FI2 §§238, 250); the citation at the beginning of F10 gives a mere list of seventeen rulers and their lengths of reign, with no narrative for any—only with the eighteenth does narrative begin; furthermore, this same ruler-list gives no indication of which dynasty is meant, and it actually runs two of Manetho’s dynasties (Dynasties XVIII and XIX) together without a break. Certainly this is not genuine Manetho. It is truly unfortunate that this sort of material bulks so large in the supposed quotations from Manetho. It is also unfortunate that Josephus, who furnishes these texts, is the earliest to cite from “Manetho.” 
Several scholars have attempted to analyze the citations in Josephus, attributing some portions to pro-Jewish publicists, others to anti-Jewish writers, others to a Greek whose interest was academic rather than polemical—and even some sections to Manetho. But the different scholars have offered different allocations, and none has proven authoritative. The problem of seeing genuine Manetho in these fragments has been called the most difficult problem in Classics, and so it remains. 
The student must not, therefore, be quick to accept the anti-Jewish material (such as in FI2 §§232-51) as Manetho’s writing. Similar material (the unclean lepers and misfits) is found in other writers, such as Lysimakhos of Alexandria,54 and it may have been injected into Manetho from outside. Manetho, writing his History of Egypt in the early third century B.C., was perhaps too early for the rising wave of polemic. He may or may not have mentioned the Jews and the Exodus; and, if he did, we cannot be certain as to his point of view. 
Besides being embellished, altered, and excerpted, Manetho’s work was also converted—probably from the altered version—into a condensed version, an epitome, in at least one edition. Again, we cannot say when the epitomizing was done or who did it. The results can be seen in F2a: the narrative was almost entirely cut out, leaving the succession of dynasties with the names of the rulers and the lengths of their reigns—an outline very similar to what Manetho may have begun with.

, , ,
The student needs to be careful in using the epitome, no less than with the excerpts from Josephus in F9-F12. As our presentation in F2a shows, there are many serious discrepancies in the different versions we have received. The version that comes by way of Africanus is considered by most to be generally better than the one used by Eusebius, but this is no guarantee that it is better in all cases, and there are many spots where we remain unsure what Manetho actually wrote. 
To summarize and illuminate these warnings, we present figure 1, showing the history of Manetho’s History of Egypt, how it was adapted rather than preserved and transmitted. The bulk of what remains for us to examine has come the route illustrated in figure l.

One of the most damning pieces of evidence is that Eusebius in one of his works quotes at length from Manetho and cites the work directly, but in that work, when discussing the so-called anti-semitic portions of that book, Eusebius explicitly refers to "Josephus quoting from Manetho," i.e., the language Josephus quoted was not found in Eusebius' version of Manetho's text.  Verbrugghe and Wickersham attempt to attribute this "inconsistency" to the idea that all Eusebius had available to him was an "epitome," but that's a fiction intended to maintain the mutual honesty of two notorious apologists, Josephus and Eusebius, as actual historians.