The ilk of Wellhausen – Dumb and Dumber
If I were to cut to the chase, I would simply say that even scholars can have idiotic ideas. Can we walk away now and get on with our meaningful and normal business now? Of course not! The art of creating and upholding notions that lack fundamental sense applies to so many fields in life, and there are new silly ideas every day so there’ll always be something to point to and say “that has no basis in reality” or “if I were less respectful, I would just call it stupid”.
Wellhausen: the mindset
I could call it just a form of naturalism (the notion that matter and energy are all there is to existence) or humanism (that human perception is the highest form of truth). But I have to add some more words to give my words some focus and direction.
Wellhausen was one of the people who created the … hmmm … I have to stop myself here. Do I speak bluntly just saying things as they are, or at least as they seem to me? Or do I be “politically correct” and describe things like an encyclopedia or as the adherents would describe it? Hmmm … Well there are enough encyclopedias out there to describe it their way. Since this is my blog, I’ll just do it my way. Hope you don’t mind.
Ok, where was I?
Oh yes! Wellhausen!
OK, so Wellhausen speculated on how he thought the five books of Moses, the written Torah, came together. Being raised in christianity, apparently with little idea in his head that there is more to the text than what is written, he took the text of the written Torah and – using whatever logical tools, assumptions, and biases he thought best – he cut the complete text to pieces claiming that each piece was written by a different author, or edited by a different editors. People chose to believe in him and his speculation and now his methodology has a following that comes in a number of varieties, two of which are as follows: those who continue to split the text of the Torah and claiming that their speculation is somehow factual; and those who try to use texts existent in our day, compare the differences, decide which one is “truer” and thereby attempt to create a “purer” text closer closer to the “original”.
Now I know that “scholars” (ha!) have more wordy fluff to add to it, but that’s essentially it.
Now let’s look at what this guy and his posse have essentially done and what they are utterly unable to do. They haven’t gone back in time. They haven’t got any original separate writings and had an intelligible historical record of how these writings were put together. They have no conclusive evidence outside of our presently complete text. So they have no real objective hard evidence of these writers and editors. They don’t even have any scrap of paper which clearly has a date, which clearly has the name of one of these authors or editors saying “I did this!” All of this started and ended in the mind of a man.
Looking at the fact that this speculation has no hard evidence, we have to wonder what they are basing this on. Essentially it’s based on some ideas they have about human psychology and how they think humans write. So Wellhausen and his ilk look at variations in textual style, the style of writing. The variations that they think they see they put down to the writing of a different author or the work of a different editor because of how they expect humans to write books. Although there are studies that show how baseless and silly this sort of thinking is (even I can vary in writing style and the books of Moses were meant to be written over a period of time so variations are inevitable), we have to again note a vital assumption they must have to carry this forward: that the books of Moses are purely the product of man. They are judging only based on what they expect from humans; they can do no more and no less.
But a person who actually thinks about what these “scholars” are doing will notice the … hmmm … the right word … ok, let’s try this. A person who actually thinks about what these “scholars” are doing will notice the uneven and almost backstabbing way they are handling the text. A person who actually accepts Torah for what it says and the traditional understanding of where it comes from will know, right off the bat, that the scholars are wrong even before they started. In what way? Because the source of the books of Moses wasn’t human. So you can’t expect human psychology and style from an inhuman or non-human source. In order to use the sort of thinking that these speculation promoters and adherents are prone to, you have to first reject the very basis of the text. You have to essentially call both the author and the nation that were and are custodians of the text liars in order to then make up stories (and it is making stories no matter how much logic they claim to be using) about how the text was originally constructed.
Also take careful note of what exactly they are doing. They are not actually telling you how the text was really constructed. Even if the text was only written by humans (when they wouldn’t know but only could believe) they couldn’t tell you how the text was actually made up and edited. This may be important so take note. Remember that they have no intelligible obvious and overt message from whoever they think wrote and edited the text that this is what they did. So what exactly can these speculators do? They can only give you their present day speculation on how they think it could have been done and that is it! They take no journey to time to actually verify their conclusions. They observe nothing. Because it is in the past, how the text was really created is out of their reach. So their speculation is no older than when it first popped in their heads. It has no more antiquity than that. Because they don’t know how it really happened, without the overt evidence needed, they can only have how they think it happened. And it cannot even be how they think it happened, but rather how they think it could have happened if their assumption are correct and if the path of text creation and edition took the road that they think it did.
I hope you get a little whiff of just how foundation-less such thinking is.
And then they tried to stick it together
Some go a step beyond this. Having accepted the belief that nothing that we have now is actually the original document(s), they then go to work trying to create the original document(s).
Just take a few steps back and see exactly what they are doing. Let’s ask a few pertinent questions.
Do they have original document(s), the text they are trying to go back to? Nope! They only have what they have today.
If not, then what is their standard of comparison? If they don’t have an original text or the original text to compare with, then …. then what? What would they have created? All they would have is a patchwork of their own making and that is all. This document would be no older than when they made it. It only has as much authority as they do, a work firmly based in speculation, a purely man-made document. It can’t be said to be a purer text because once again, they have no standard for purity apart from what they speculate.
The fact that these people are willing to undertake such an approach shows that they have essentially rejected the divine origin of the Torah or its tradition. I mean just think about it! If they believed that God gave the Torah, then they are essentially trying to reconstruct what God said. Question: are these people prophets? Nope! Do they have direct and obvious communication with God? No! So how would they know what God originally said if they don’t trust the documents they have and God didn’t tell them what he said? They don’t know! So what are they doing? Why would they be trying to say that God said “x” if they have no evidence that God said “x”? This would be the same as lying or being a false prophet.
But the fact that they think they can make a better document shows that they think it is just the words of man that they can tinker about with at will. It cannot be called a solemn or serious undertaking. It cannot be called a truly academic endeavour. What it is is an immense waste of time! If I were less respectful, I would replace “immense” with an expletive (a swear word).
I love cutting to the chase
Well, as I’ve given this last section this title, let me just cut to the chase.
Essentially this theory, the Wellhausen nonsense and the other messes of speculation it gave birth to, is stupid. It lacks real intelligence or sense. People decide to make up stories and then work on story-telling. What makes it worse is two things:
1) they, or the God-rejecting users of this mindset, accuse the person wrote the text of Torah or who accept it for what it says of the same thing. What that means is that they accuse and ridicule people of believing in stories and fairy tales whilst using made-up stories to “reveal” the text to be just a story.
2) they’re pouring their efforts into speculation, something that can have no truth content. That seems like vanity, chasing after wind, futility.
And yet it is paraded around as if it is somehow factual!?!
Don’t make me laugh!