Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Dialogue: Vol 33 No 1
Barney: Reflections on the Documentary Hypothesis 85 Part of the argument for the Documentary Hypothesis concerns different terminology used in different sections of text. The most famous example involves the names of deity (Yahweh v. El or Elohim), but there are others, such as the name of Moses' father-in-law (Jethro v. Reuel) or the mountain of God (Sinai v. Horeb). The common conservative explanation for the use of different names for God highlights the different semantic ranges of the names, suggesting that the names are used appropriately and consistently in their given contexts.95 There is another possibility, however. In the Ras Shamra tablets, each deity generally has two names (or a name and a title), which are often used as formulaic word pairs in the repetitive, parallelistic structure of the Ugaritic epics.96 Just as in the Iliad it is useful for metrical reasons for Homer to be able to refer either to Alexandros or Paris in a given part of the line, and just as the Hebrew Bible often uses synonymous names such as Jacob and Israel in various parallel structures,97 so it seems possible to me that there may be a literary explanation for the variant use of names in the Pentateuch. I raise this simply as a possibility to be explored; I have not yet seen an attempt to apply this idea systematically to the variant proper names in the putative sources.98 Statistical Linguistics. In 1985 the results of the Genesis Project were published in English.99 This project involved a combination of biblical studies, linguistics, statistics, and computer science in an analysis of the authorship of the book of Genesis, concluding that the book was a unified composition. As with chiasmus, informed Latter-day Saints are familiar with statistical linguistic studies due to their application to the Book of Mormon. I happened to be present at the BYU forum assembly where the initial results of Wayne A. Larsen's, Alvin C. Rencher's, and Tim Layton's study of computerized stylometry, or "wordprinting," of the Book of Mormon were presented, finding that the Book of Mormon was written by multiple authors as opposed to a single author.100 That early work has been elaborated on by the late John L. Hilton, who went to great pains to immunize the methodology from criticism.101 Wordprinting involves the measurement of 95. E.g., Cassuto, Documentary Hypothesis, 15-26. 96. See Kevin L. Barney, "Poetic Diction and Parallel Word Pairs in the Book of Mormon," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 4, no. 2 (Fall 1995): 15-81. 97. J. Dahse, Archiv fur Religionswissenschaft 6 (1903): 305, as cited in Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, 30, demonstrates that it is impossible to use the names of Jacob and Israel as indications of different literary sources. 98. The basic observation is made, however, in Kikawada and Quinn, Before Abraham Was, 91-92. 99. Yehuda T. Radday and Haim Shore, et al., Genesis: An Authorship Study in Computer-Assisted Statistical Linguistics (Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1985). 100. See Larsen, Rencher, and Layton, "Who Wrote the Book of Mormon? An Analysis of Wordprints," BYU Studies 20 (Spring 1980): 225-51. 101. For a summary, see John L. Hilton, "On Verifying Wordprint Studies: Book of