Verbum Tip 4be: Facet: Source criticism Eissfeldt Pentateuch, Mowinckel Jeremiah, Q

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Facet: Source criticism Eissfeldt Pentateuch, Mowinckel Jeremiah, Q

Factbook on Source criticism.

From Handbook for Biblical Interpretation: An Essential Guide to Methods, Terms, and Concepts:


One component in the historical-critical method, source criticism is the study of biblical texts in terms of the sources used in their composition. The goal is not simply to isolate and study the sources as documents in their own right but also to examine the manner in which biblical authors adapt earlier documents to their own unique purposes.

Source criticism has enjoyed a long and venerable career in both hebrew bible and nt studies. Source-critical studies of the Hebrew Bible have focused on the pentateuch but more recently have included other parts of the Hebrew Bible. For centuries, the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch was generally accepted without much question. Gradually, however, scholars began to doubt whether everything in the Pentateuch could be from the hand of Moses. Under the influence of seventeenth-century rationalism and because of passages that could not have been from Moses (e.g., the account of Moses’s death [Deut. 34:5–8], familiarity with the monarchy [Gen. 36:31–39], and the phrase “until this day,” which suggests that the passages containing it were written after the time of Moses [Gen. 35:4 Lxx; Deut. 34:5–6]), many scholars further questioned Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch. Based on these passages and other discoveries—such as historical inaccuracies, repetitions, and divergent writing styles—these scholars concluded that the Pentateuch was the product of an extended process of compilation.

. . .

Source criticism is also concerned with identifying lost sources within the text. When they encounter a portion of a text thought to be uncharacteristic of the author’s style, vocabulary, or ideology, source critics usually suspect that the author has drawn from a source. An example of this is John 21, where the vocabulary differs significantly from that found in the rest of the Gospel (ischyein rather than dynasthai, and exetazein instead of erōtan). In Rom. 3:25–26 (tev), we encounter the idea that God has “overlooked” past sins (nrsv: “divine forbearance”). This seems to contradict (not only in vocabulary but also in concept) what Paul has already claimed in Rom. 1–2, that God punishes all sin (Tuckett, 85). Some suspect Paul’s use of a source here.

Source critics assume that an author’s usual or normal vocabulary, style, and ideology can be discovered. But can scholars sufficiently define an author’s normal vocabulary, style, and ideology and then use that definition as a canon by which to determine whether a passage is or is not the work of that author? Most source critics think so.

Bibliography. Norman Habel, Literary Criticism of the Old Testament (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1971); Christopher Tuckett, Reading the New Testament: Methods of Interpretation (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1987); Moshe Weinfeld, Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic School (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972); A. S. van der Woude, ed., The World of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989).[1]



  • Andersen-Forbes uncertain which dataset


  • Graf-Wellhausen hypothesis” in Tate, W. Randolph. Handbook for Biblical Interpretation: An Essential Guide to Methods, Terms, and Concepts. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2012.
  • Q” in Tate, W. Randolph. Handbook for Biblical Interpretation: An Essential Guide to Methods, Terms, and Concepts. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2012.
  • Jeremiah: Composition and Compilation” in Barry, John D., David Bomar, Derek R. Brown, Rachel Klippenstein, Douglas Mangum, Carrie Sinclair Wolcott, Lazarus Wentz, Elliot Ritzema, and Wendy Widder, eds. The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016.
  • Parks, Jimmy. Source Criticism in the Bible Dataset Documentation. Bellingham, WA: Faithlife, 2018


  • <EissfeldtHexateuch = name>  used for Mowinckel as well
  • {Label Source Criticism WHERE Source = “name” AND Critic = “name"}

New data provided by the label

  • Source name {Label Source Criticism WHERE Source = “L”}
  • Critic name {Label Source Criticism WHERE Critic = “Eissfeldt"}


There are no FaithLife provided visual filters.

Andersen-Forbes for Mowinkel. Yes, there is a bug reported on this.

Andersen-Forbes for Eissfeldt.

Filter based on Source Criticism dataset.


Q is not supported anywhere in Verbum coding. However, the data necessary to build a filter is available in Robinson, James McConkey, Paul Hoffmann, and John S. Kloppenborg. The Critical Edition of Q: Synopsis Including the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Mark and Thomas with English, German, and French Translations of Q and Thomas. Hermeneia—a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible. Minneapolis; Leuven: Fortress Press; Peeters, 2000.

Vocabulary cards


Bible Browser

The Bible Browser supports only the Source Criticism dataset. It ignores the Andersen-Forbes coding.

Faithlife Assistant

Not implemented



Information Tool

The Source Criticism dataset shows as a label in Information for Bibles with a Reverse Interlinear.

For Andersen-Forbes data see above.

Context Menu

The Context Menu has the standard copy reference and search options but no look up.


The Concordance depends upon a {Label} and therefore, applies only to the Source Criticism data.


Both the Source criticism dataset and the Andersen-Forbes coding provide search capabilities.

tev Today’s English Version = Good News Bible

nrsv New Revised Standard Version

[1] W. Randolph Tate, Handbook for Biblical Interpretation: An Essential Guide to Methods, Terms, and Concepts (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2012), 417–419.

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