David Carr Reviews Joel Baden’s Dissertation

In this installment of the Review of Biblical Literature, David Carr reviews Joel Baden’s 2007 Harvard dissertation, “J, E, and the Redaction of the Pentateuch,” which was slightly revised for publication in Mohr Siebeck’s Forschungen zum Alten Testament series. Baden’s thesis is basically that J and E were not combined in any JE source prior to the final amalgamation of all four sources into one text. Carr takes issue with Baden’s conclusion, primarily because he sees Joel argumentation as prioritizing his “system” over “detailed textual observation.” Joel must, according to David, adopt “idiosyncratic” source-critical analyses of certain texts in order for his model to hold. Additionally, he heavily criticizes Joel for not interacting with the majority of the German pentateuchal scholarship produced in the last 30 years. In fact, he calls it, “a sad example in North American research of ignorance of and lack of specific engagement with recent European scholarship (particularly untranslated German pentateuchal scholarship).”

For related publications by David Carr, see here and here.


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