According to Jewish and Christian tradition, the first five books of the
Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) were written by Moses under the inspiration of
God. God inspired Moses to write the truth and prevented him from making any
errors. Many conservative Christians and Jews continue with this belief.
However, mainline & liberal theologians and secularists generally accept the "Documentary
Hypothesis" which asserts that the Pentateuch was written by five authors or groups of
authors, from diverse locations, over a period of centuries. Each
wrote with the goal of promoting his/her own religious views. In Genesis:
J: a writer who used Yahweh/Jehovah as
the divine name.
P: a writer who added material of major
interest to the priesthood.
R: a redactor who welded the contributions of J and P together
into the present Pentateuch.
Chapter 7 of the book of Genesis are
reprinted below. 1 The original authors, according to the Documentary
Hypothesis, are indicated in color: J, P, and R. We follow the identification by R.E. Friedman. 2,3
Chapter 7 and 8 are of
particular interest, as the text switches frequently between the two main
authors. The Redactor seems to have wanted to preserve both the J and P accounts more or less intact. As a result, the text is quite repetitious:
In verses 7 and 13, J and P each describes Noah and family entering the ark.
In verses 10 and 11, J and P both describe the start of the rains.
In verses 17 and 18, J describes the increase of the waters and
floating of the ark twice.
In verses 21, 22 and 23, J and P describe the drowning of the people
There are some conflicts in the stories which the redactor apparently decided
to let stand:
In Genesis 7:19-20 and Genesis
7:15 "P" lists two of every species. But in Genesis 7:2-3
"J" specifies 7 pairs of clean animals and birds and 1 pair of
In Genesis 7:4, "J"
describes the flood as being created by rain. In Genesis 7:11. "P"
describes how it is formed rather from two sources:
"the fountains of the great deep" which was a great
ocean that the ancient Israelites believed existed under the earth. and
"the windows of the heavens" when they were opened.
One or more verses from J are
followed by one or more verses from P. If you read only the J verses, then you will get a
coherent story. If you read just the P verses, you will see a consistent but slightly
by P and by R
And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou
and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this
2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and
his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.
3 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep
seed alive upon the face of all the earth.
4 For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty
days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off
the face of the earth.
5 And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him.
6 (R) And Noah was six hundred years old
when the flood of waters was upon the earth.
7 And Noah went in, and his sons, and
his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.
8 (P) Of clean beasts, and of beasts that
are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth,
9 There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the
female, as God had commanded Noah.
10 And it came to pass after seven
days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.
In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the
seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the
great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
12 And the rain was upon the earth
forty days and forty nights.
13 (P) In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem,
and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons
with them, into the ark;
14 They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their
kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl
after his kind, every bird of every sort.
15 And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh,
wherein is the breath of life.
16 And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God
had commanded him:
16 (Cont'd) and the LORD shut him in.
17 And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters
increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth.
18 And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth;
and the ark went upon the face of the waters.
19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high
hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.
20 Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were
21 (P) And all flesh died that moved upon the
earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man:
22 All in whose nostrils was the breath
of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.
23 And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of
the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and
they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with
him in the ark.
24 (P) And the waters
prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.
R.E. Friedman, "The hidden book in the Bible: The discovery of the
first prose masterpiece," Haper San Francisco. Review/order this
book. The author traces the "J" component of the first four books
of the Bible. He writes: "Readers have an opportunity to see
the first great prose writer's full achievement; an epic work of the
struggle between God and humans. and between good and bad.
Copyright 1998 to 2014 by Ontario Consultants on
Latest update: 2014-FEB-08
Author: B.A. Robinson, J, P, & R
This page translator works on Firefox, Opera, Chrome, and Safari browsers only
After translating, click on the "show
original" button at the top of this
page to restore page to English.