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This is that 'all Scripture is inspired of God' (2 Tim.
), or in the words of the Nicene creed that the Holy Spirit 'spoke through the prophets' and that it is hard to imagine the Spirit of truth to have inspired a pseudo-Moses to write Deuteronomy by pretending in a very thorough fashion to be Moses.
According to the classic theory popularized by Wellhausen in 1878 there are four main sources in the Pentateuch: J from the tenth century BC, E from the ninth, D(euteronomy) from the seventh and P from the late sixth century.
But in recent years the very existence of an independent E document has been questioned, and it has been forcefully argued that P, supposedly the latest source, is really an earlier source perhaps contemporary with J and certainly before D(euteronomy). Pleading for a new look at the whole question of pentateuchal critical theory, Rendtorff, Professor of Old Testament at the University of Heidelberg, observed: 'We possess hardly any reliable criteria for dating pentateuchal literature.
It is rather because they do not take a conservative view of inspiration and believe, because everybody else seems to say so, that there is an overwhelming case for Deuteronomy's seventh-century composition.
Some scholars simply do not believe in the divine inspiration of the Bible: certainly Wellhausen fell into this camp, so it was easy for him to accept that Deuteronomy was fictitious.
Yet their arguments, even when cogently presented, have fallen on deaf ears: critical scholars may list conservative works in their bibliographies, but they rarely take the trouble to interact with them.
It is the purpose of this article to explore the basic arguments for and against a seventh-century date of Deuteronomy.
[p.16] It is important to notice that the presentation of the law in Deuteronomy is different in character from that found in the earlier books of the Pentateuch.Let us begin by outlining the basic assumptions that underlie conservative arguments for the antiquity of Deuteronomy.