A Brief Book Notice from Books At a Glance
by Fred G. Zaspel
It’s been available for 20 years now, but I just came across this book recently while preparing to teach through Genesis – and what a find it is!
We’ve all heard of the Documentary Hypothesis, and we’ve all seen its weaknesses exposed. And we’ve heard the Mosaic authorship defended. But not many of us have heard a well-reasoned alternative that takes fully into account the question of Mosaic sources. Where did Moses get his information about creation, the genealogies, and the patriarchal narratives? And what of those clues throughout Genesis that Moses did, in fact, have some sources at his disposal? And how do we square all this with the doctrine of inspiration? Moreover, how does Genesis compare with the extant literature of the day? And what bearing does all this have on the unity, structure, and theme(s) of the book?
Duane Garrett provides a thoroughly-researched thesis that affirms the Mosaic authorship (editorship) of Genesis and that accounts for the sources he used. His analysis of the text and its possible sources yields insightful observations on themes and interpretations that I haven’t found elsewhere. It’s a unique, fascinating, and convincing study. No study of Genesis authorship and sources is complete without reading this book. A gold mine.
Gary Smith, Midwestern Theological Seminary
This is a must read for University and Seminary students who have been force fed a starvation diet of Higher Criticism that divides, separates, and destroys the literary integrity and theological unity of Genesis. Garrett provides logical meat for chewing based on his impressive analysis of the weaknesses of modern criticism, as well as his positive proposals for understanding how the genealogies and ancestor epics were theologically constructed to show how God providentially rescued his people from repeated threats to their community. Garrett’s respectful and detailed discussion of a multitude of complex interpretive issues is a needed alternative to what is presently available.
Since its inception over a century ago and throughout the following years the Documentary Theory of Pentateuchal origins has never gone unchallenged. It is the strength of Dr Garrett’s study of Genesis that he goes beyond (mere) criticism of this extraordinarily resilient theory to the development of a credible and extremely illuminating, indeed, compelling alternative, thoroughly biblical, impeccably scholarly and true to the pervasive Mosaism of the Pentateuchal books. This is a book deserving a wide readership and no reader will put it down unrewarded.
Douglas Stuart, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
Provides not only the most convincing refutation of the documentary hypothesis now in print, but also suggests a convincing alternative analysis of how the Pentateuch came to be. The volume is a model of careful scholarly reasoning, written in an engaging manner with a minimum of technical jargon and a maximum of thoughtful argumentation. Here is a book that biblical scholars everywhere will be compelled to take account of.
Ray Clendenen, general editor, New American Commentary
For decades evangelicals argued against the reigning critical views on the origins of the Pentateuch without presenting a well-reasoned and researched alternative that took seriously not only the data of the text but also the data of history and culture. Garrett offers here such a reverent yet bold and appealing proposal. While recognizing the literary unity of Genesis, Garrett identifies evidence of sources, based on structural as well as form-critical grounds, and suggests a line of development by which those sources grew into the present book. Furthermore, he argues for the reasonableness of a Mosaic redaction. This is not a rehashing of old arguments but a fresh examination of the evidence that deserves careful consideration.
Table of Contents
Part One: The Higher Criticism of Genesis
- The Documentary Hypothesis
- Form-Criticism, Tradition History, and Genesis
- Mosaic Authorship and Historical Reliability
Part Two: The Structure and Sources of Genesis
- The Toledoth and Narrative Sources of Genesis
- The Structure of Genesis
- The Ancestor Epics
- The Negotiation Tales
- The Gospel of Abraham
- The Migration Epic of Joseph
Part Three: The Authorship and Composition of Genesis
- Genesis One and the Primeval History
- Tradents of the Sources and the Israelite Priesthood
- Memories of a Wandering People
Appendix 1: A Critique Of Three Recent Hypotheses of Pentateuchal Origins
Appendix 2: The Question of Inspiration
Note: See our Author Interview here.
Buy the books
RETHINKING GENESIS: THE SOURCE AND AUTHORSHIP OF THE FIRST BOOK OF THE PENTATEUCH, by Duane Garrett