The Documentary Hypothesis

02 Jan
from Google Images

from Google Images

The professor told his friend and admirer, Chris, (Deconversion—the Bible (part 1 & part 2), that the Bible is the product of historical manipulation, creating the illusion that it is a source of divine of knowledge. This idea is purported in the Documentary Hypothesis (JEDP), which the professor claimed is embraced by educated people. He claimed: “The doctrinal underpinnings of the Bible have been known to be mythological for centuries.” The problem is that this hypothesis keeps changing for centuries, because of discovered errors or inadequate explanations, a problem of subjective thinking.

The professor claimed the Bible was the product of historical manipulation. Nevertheless, the fact remains that none of what is put forward in the Documentary Hypothesis stems from objective truth. There isn’t a shred of historical evidence to prove its case—everything is subjective manipulation of the text that creates the illusion that the source is not from God, which is the claim of the Bible about itself.

When Chris asked the professor if this was merely his opinion, the professor replied that everything stems from opinion. The difference is some opinion is ‘informed’ and others are not. Chris felt forced to conclude that the professor’s analysis was true. After all, wasn’t it just Chris’s opinion that the Bible was true? Wasn’t that also true of his Christian faith? The opinions of the scholars to whom the professor pointed were ‘informed opinions’ based upon textual analysis, but Chris’s opinion was based upon hearsay. Is Chris’s analysis correct?

Yes and no—would be the conclusion one could draw from the video series. Chris wasn’t really investigating the sources of his belief in God and Christianity, but that really says nothing about the credibility of those sources he didn’t investigate. Moreover, while the opinions of the scholars to embrace the Documentary Hypothesis were ‘informed’ in that their understanding stems from an in-depth analysis of the text, this doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that their analysis is correct. After all, their understanding is completely subjective and is itself a manipulation of the text in a manner in which the text doesn’t present itself. One could do this with any text produced by any author.

C.S. Lewis claimed such an analysis was done by literary critics of his works. Critics believed they could analyze his works and come up with an accurate history of their production, which included Mr. Lewis’ mood and intent while writing them. Yet, C.S. Lewis claimed the literary critics were never correct in their analysis of how he produced his works or the efforts he put into each, at least he couldn’t point to a single instance where they were correct (Christian Reflections, p. 159–160; see one person’s blog HERE).

In the final analysis Chris seems to have placed more import upon what he thought was scientific than what he learned about the Bible from other Christians. Because his Sunday school teachers weren’t scientists or scholars in their own right, they **must** be less informed than the scholars who put forth and embraced such studies as the Documentary Hypothesis. However, is this hypothesis scientific? Is it logical and accurate? An hypothesis, by its very nature, is a premise, a theory or a guess. It is not something that has been proved to be so, but is merely the guess of someone, perhaps an informed guess of a scholar, but even this is not necessarily mean it is factual. After all there are many Biblical scholars, at least as reputable as those who believe in the Documentary Hypothesis, who reject it as mere hearsay, having no foundation in objectivity. It is a subjective claim that can never be proved. In the final analysis the hypothesis is one man’s guess, an opinion, which when used similarly in a known author’s works doesn’t fare well in its conclusions.

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Posted by on January 2, 2015 in atheism, naturalism


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