|Publication Date||March 1, 2010|
Wellhausen's theories about the development of the Old Testament are for Biblical criticism what Einstein is to physics. Wellhausen devised a new paradigm which explained many of the apparent inconsistencies in the Biblical texts. In the process, he upset many traditionalists who didn't like the concept that the early portions of the Bible were the product of four separate authors. Or that the Levitical code was redacted into the text by the priestly class at a very late date in the evolution of the Bible. Or that the Bible even evolved...
He has continued relevance. Wellhausen's theories have been built on by contemporary scholars. The current Christian fundamentalist movement emerged as a response to the Biblical criticism of Wellhausen and other 19th century scholars. Wellhausen remains difficult to fully grasp by all but those schooled in the ways of the Documentary hypothesis. However, brave readers willing to attempt an expedition through the Prolegomena will be richly rewarded, whichever side of the cultural divide you fall on.