The people's voice of reason


Church and State are separate kingdoms, but both

are established by God upon the authority of His

Word, the Bible. Christian churches have historically

recognized the Bible as the inspired and

authoritative Word of God, and as President Andrew

Jackson said, "The Bible is the rock upon which our

republic rests."

But during the last two centuries, the Bible has been under unrelenting attack.

Unsurprisingly, secular philosophers denounce the Bible as a collection of

fables, myths, and legends loosely put together by ignorant and superstitious

men. But shockingly, many in the mainline churches parrot the same attacks

and say the Bible must be "demythologized" to make it acceptable to the

modern world.

In the mid-1800s, the school of "higher criticism" arose out of this mindset,

holding that modern scholars must examine the Bible critically to determine

whether it is really true. Within higher criticism arose the documentary

hypothesis, often called the Graf-Wellhausen theory or simply the JEDP theory,

which holds that the first five books of the Bible (the Pentateuch, Genesis

through Deuteronomy) were not written by Moses under the inspiration of

God but rather were the work of at least four different writers identified as

J, E, D, and P at a later time over a period of hundreds of years.

The JEDP theory holds that, wherever the Pentateuch refers to God as

Jehovah, this must be the work of anonymous writer identified as J. Wherever

God is called Elohim, this is the work of the E writer. Then came the D writer

who wrote the original form of Deuteronomy. And then, centuries later and

perhaps after the Babylonian Exile in the 500s BC, a priest called the P writer

took the works of J, E, and D, revised and redacted them, and rendered the

Pentateuch into its present form.

Conservative Christians need to understand the JEDP theory, because it is

foundational to theological liberalism, and because many in mainline churches

consider it established fact and are astounded that any intelligent Christian

would question it.

But even more importantly, conservative Christians need to know why the

JEDP theory is false. I will therefore present ten leading reasons to reject the

Graf-Wellhausen theory as a modern fable.

(1) Different names for God do not mean different authors; rather, they

indicate different purposes. Jehovah is God's Name; Elohim is simply a

generic word referring to God, god, or gods. Depending on my purpose, I

sometimes refer to my wife as "Mrs. John Eidsmoe" or sometimes "Marlene."

The author is still me.

(2) No ancient manuscript has ever been discovered that contains only the

writings of J, E, D, or P. All ancient manuscripts show the Pentateuch as one

complete document.

(3) No ancient writer, Jewish or Gentile, ever indicated that the Pentateuch

was written by anyone other than Moses.

(4) Whenever the Pentateuch is quoted in either the Old Testament or the New

Testament, it is treated as the work of Moses.

(5) Jesus quoted from the Pentateuch, attributing it to Moses (Matthew 8:4;

19:7-8; Mark 7:10; 12 :26; Luke 16:31; 24:27, 44; John 5:46-67; 7:19).

This presents a dilemma: If Moses didn't write the Pentateuch, did Jesus know

that? If He did, He wasn't truthful; if He didn't, He wasn't all-knowing. An

attack upon the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch is ultimately an attack

upon the divinity of Jesus Christ.

(6) The Pentateuch was already old in the days of King Josiah (600s BC) (II

Kings 22), was well-known during the Babylonian Exile (Daniel 6:5; 9:10-

13; Ezra 7:12-26; Nehemiah 1:7-9), and was reinstated after the Exile by

Ezra and Nehemiah (Ezra 9-10; Nehemiah 8-10).

(7) If the Pentateuch were written in later times, why does it contain no

reference to the kingship other than the prophetic reference of Deuteronomy

17 and no reference to the Temple or to Mt. Zion?

(8) After the Jews returned from the Babylonian Exile, they spoke Aramaic,

a mixture of Hebrew and Babylonian/Chaldean. If the Pentateuch were

redacted by the P writer after the Exile, why is it in Hebrew rather than

Aramaic, and why is the rest of the Old Testament in Hebrew except portions

of Daniel and Ezra?

(9)Wellhausen assumed that Moses and the Hebrew people were illiterate and

therefore could not have written or read the Pentateuch in the 1400s BC. But

the Ebla Tablets reveal that Mesopotamia (from which Abraham migrated

around 2,000 BC) was a highly literate society filled with schools and libraries.

As the British Assyriologist A.H. Sayce wrote, "The Babylonia of the age of

Abraham was a more highly educated country than the England of George

III." Furthermore, Egypt had a written language well before 2,000 BC. Raised

in the palace of the Pharaoh, Moses certainly knew how to read and write.

(10) Finally, as Herbert F. Hahn observes in The Old Testament in Modern

Research, Wellhausen did not develop his theory "merely from an objective

reading of the sources," but rather "consciously based his exposition on the

evolutionary view of history" under which "it was inconceivable that the

nomadic ancestors of the Israelites could have held the lofty, monotheistic

conceptions ascribed to Abraham."

And so, following Darwinism and the fad of nineteenth-century scholarship

that attributed multiple authorship to everything from Beowulf to Shakespeare,

higher critics placed themselves above the Scriptures and declared them to be

the work of men rather than God and therefore not to be trusted as authoritative.

This freed liberal theologians to depart from the Bible and wander abroad

in the trackless fields of their own imaginations, denying the basic doctrines

of Creation and the Fall, sin and salvation through the substitutionary atoning

work of Jesus Christ on the Cross.

As Billy Graham began his Bible-based ministry of evangelism, a reporter

told him a religion professor had accused him of setting the church back 200

years. Graham replied, “I’m sorry to hear that! I am trying to set the church

back 2,000 years!” -- back to the time of Jesus Christ.

Amen, brother! Take away the anchor of the Word of God, and theology and

jurisprudence are cast adrift by every wind of doctrine.

Colonel Eidsmoe serves as Professor of Constitutional Law for the Oak Brook College

of Law & Government Policy ( and as Senior Counsel for the Foundation

for Moral Law ( He also pastors two small Alabama churches.

Constitutional concerns may be addressed to the Foundation at (334) 324-1812.


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