The Necessity of the Academic Study of the Bible. Introduction to Torah/Pentateuch Criticism and the Components of the Four-Pronged Hypothesis System: The Older Documentary, the Supplementary, the Fragmentary and

The introductory part of the lecture commences by drawing the attention of the student to the most important and probably challenging aspects of the academic study of the Bible. It is recommended that students should pay attention to the fact that in places it is the divine voice of ancient Scripture that encourages human beings to study the word of God carefully, faithfully and extensively. Whether the study of the Bible is performed for academic and/or other reasons, such as Christian and/or Jewish faith interests, the task should be carried out with seriousness and even objective, rigorous scrutiny. Nonetheless, the study of the Bible should not preclude aspects, which at first sight might appear superfluous for academic study, par excellence the spiritual-kernel of these ancient texts. Equally, the study of the Bible should not exclude aspects, which at first sight might be perceived superfluous for the non-academic, par excellence the scientific-kernel of these ancient texts. Academic and non-academic, science and spirituality should not be examined and practiced in contradiction and contradistinction but in a process characterized by mutual reliance and interaction. Finally, in this particular institutional context it is important to note that one should not be surprized to find the roots of such an approach in somewhat similar practices contemporary with the Protestant Reformation and the Protestant Reformers.

The main part of the lecture supplies students with an adequate knowledge with respect to the most important introductory aspects of Torah/Pentateuch criticism, such as name and contents, the Torah/Pentateuch as a whole, with particular reference to the narrative. Within the bourn of the latter aspect, the lecture focuses upon the traditional view and early doubts expressed as to its correctness. The lecture also seeks to offer an informative presentation of the four major hypotheses that arose during the course of the past couple of centuries as regards to the genesis, formation, growth and composition of the Torah/Pentateuch, namely the older documentary hypothesis, the fragmentary hypothesis, the supplementary hypothesis and the new documentary hypothesis. The discussion also entails the presentation of the documentary hypothesis as developed by Graf, Vatke and Wellhausen. Additional models for explaining the composition of the Torah/Pentateuch are also furnished.