chapter  14
11 Pages

Wellhausen’s Prolegomena to the History of Israel: Influences and Effects

The author intends to trace some of the cultural influences of Julius Wellhausen work, and to ask how far they go towards explaining it away, and how far the continuing effects of his contributions to biblical study do, and should, remain with us. Wellhausen himself summed up his historical work on the Old Testament in the words Judaism and ancient Israel in their opposition. And he made no secret of the fact that his sympathies lay with ancient Israel, not with this narrow religious sect, as he saw it. Israel could become a confessional, rather than a national community. It is hard to think of any other Old Testament scholar whose creativity and ability to redirect the entire enterprise of Old Testament studies. Wellhausen did indeed set the agenda for several generations, but the modern agenda in Pentateuchal studies owes little to him.