Page:A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Judges.djvu/35

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xxv
SOURCES OF THE TALES OF THE JUDGES

his sources; in other cases, as in that of Gideon- Jerubbaal, he united as best he could two somewhat discrepant accounts; in still other cases it is difficult to decide whether the lack of unity and directness in the narrative is to be ascribed to the attempt to combine different versions, or to editorial amplification, or to subsequent interpolations and glosses.

These phenomena are so much like those with which we are familiar in parts of the Hexateuch where the Yahwistic and Elohistic narratives (J and E) have been united by a later writer (Rje) into one composite history, that we can hardly fail to ask the question whether the similarity is not really identity; that is, whether the pre-Deuteronomic Judges was not a part of the great prophetic history which critics designate by the symbol JE, and its sources J and E. That this is the case was affirmed by Schrader, who attempted to separate the two chief sources from each other and from the Deuteronomic elements.[1] More recently Böhme[2] and Stade[3] have demonstrated the affinity of parts of the book to J and E respectively; while Budde has taken up the problem which Schrader first attacked, and with great acuteness has worked out an analysis of the entire book.[4] On the other hand, Kuenen maintains a sceptical attitude toward all attempts to identify the sources of Judges with J and E in the Hexateuch,[5] and Kittel combats the hypothesis, arguing that such resemblances as exist are less decisive than the countervailing differences.[6]

Budde's hypothesis is not intrinsically improbable. There is the best reason to believe that neither J nor E ended with the conquest of Canaan, but that both brought the history down to a much later time, if not to their own day. The parting speech of Joshua, Jos. 24 (substantially E), looks not only backward but forward; it is the end of a book, not of the historical work of which it formed a part; and Jud. 26–10 (Jos. 2428-31), from the same hand, is unmistakably the transition to the subsequent history.

  1. De Wette, Einl8., p. 327–332. For earlier critics who have entertained this opinion, see Wildeboer, Letterkunde, p. 168f.
  2. ZATW. v. 1885, p. 251–274.
  3. ZATW. i. p. 339–343.
  4. Richt. u. Sam., 1890. Bu.'s results are accepted by Co., Einl., § 16.
  5. HCO2. i. p. 355f.
  6. Stud. u. Krit., 1892, p. 44 ff .; GdH. i. 2. p. 15–18. So also Kö., Einl., p. 252–254, Wildeboer, al.