The saga moves from beyond external conflicts- Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Issac and Moses to resolving internal conflicts - following covenants and commandments and resolving age hold human dissatisfaction with what is available, rebellion and ultimate salvation by entering the promised land.
The compilation of Pentateuch was done by multiple authors and over a period of six centuries. Friedman presents evidence why he believes this is so; for instance Friedman provides evidence of "Doublets", which are variations of the same story with some facts similar and others paralleling the other instance of same story. Friedman cites specific couplets and verses where such synchronicity has occurred. On the other hand terminology used parallel that of the doublet which it has followed - same set of names fall into same doublet. Thus the text of the Pentateuch can be demarcated into following discrete divisions: J (Jahwistic), E (Elohistic), P (Priestly) and D (Deuteronomic). Within these divisions common names and sequence, presence or absence of events can be clearly identified. Even linguistic parlance within the above divisions is strongly indicative of separate authorships for each of the divisions. The events as presented
within each of the div...
Historical references within each of the divisions identify the approximate time frame and time period in which they were compiled or written. Friedman has exhaustively listed
specific references from where the time frame can be elicited, he proclaims that Priestly text dates back to (715-687 B.C), whereas Deuteronomic dates to the era of reign of Josiah the great grandson of Hezekiah. The linguistic classification and analysis has also reiterated that Jahwistic and Elohistic belong to an earlier era than Priestly and Deuteronomic. As far as the relationships between the divisions are concerned parallels of events are so close between Jahwistic and Elohistic indicating that were probably edited together. In Priestly stories the differences between it and Jahwistic Elohistic report a contradiction of one event by the other presentation as possibly an attempt to explain the consequences after event has happened. Deuteronomic includes references to passages in other divisions indicating that it is more dated than others. Another factor determining completeness is cohesion of Jahwistic Elohistic - both together form a nearly complete and continuous story whereas separately each is incomplete. Similarly Priestly also forms a nearly complete section on its own. This indicates merging of Jahwistic Elohistic earlier with addition of Priestly at a later date. It also shows different mindsets of the editors who combined the separate texts as heavy editing of the Jahwistic Elohistic sources seems to have been done in order to ensure good fit while Priestly's addition was without heavy source editing. There are also theories that such explicit divisions are