It seems like I am not the only one. In researching the data for the AE class I am teaching on "how we got our OT", I ran across some scholarly articles that displayed an interesting pattern. I have put the abstracts and the dates below, in chronological order. See if YOU see the same striking progression I saw...
Title: The Documentary Hypothesis and the Chronological Structure of the Old Testament.
Journal: Z fur die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft
Volume: 97(3); pages: 316-333
Surveys criticism of the documentary hypothesis and notes the more
recent, synthesizing approach. This includes studies of pericopes as
units and studies of internal connections between narratives to find
common structural elements. A closer study is also made of the
feasibility of using the chronological dates to shed light on the
structural design and internal connections of the Pentateuch.
Author: Schmidt, Ludwig
Title: Jakob erschleicht sich den vaterlichen Segen (Jacob Obtains Surreptitiously the Paternal Blessing).
Journal: Z fur die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft
Volume: 100(2), pages: 159-183
Despite the debate about the Documentary Hypothesis, proposes to
divide Gen 27:1-45 into two documents attributable to J and E. E is
a revision of J, and the Jehovist, who combined J though he
occasionally retained only the longer of the two versions. From
27:36 it can be concluded that 25:29-34 also belongs to E. J and E
are also discovered in Gen 32:4-9, 14a and 32:14b-22 respectively.
Author: Tengstrom, Sven
Title: Exegetisk metod och dateringsproblem i pentateukforskningen (Exegetical Method and the Problem of Dating the Pentateuch in Recent Research)
Journal: Svensk Exegetisk Arsbok
Volume: 54, pages: 207-225
Recently scholars (Van Seters, Schmid, Rendtorff, Rose, Lemche) have
challenged both the documentary hypothesis of the Pentateuch's
composition and even the presuppositions supporting
literary-critical analysis itself. Likewise thus the dates of the
Pentateuchal material come into question. But these studies are not
informed by modern structural and linguistic approaches. An approach
to exegesis so informed leads to dating the Yahwist's work far
earlier than is usually done, well back into the premonarchical
Author: van Dyk, P. J.
Title: Current Trends in Pentateuch Criticism.
Journal: Old Testament Essays,
Volume: 3(2), pages: 191-202.
It is now accepted that the documentary hypothesis is hampered with
serious difficulties. Redaction history and tradition history are
now considered more fitting points of departure than literary
criticism in explaining the origin of the Pentateuch. There is a
preference for the view that much of the Yahwistic material was
written later than originally thought, implying a much longer period
of oral and written transmission of many of the Pentateuchal
narratives. The way literary criticism and tradition history were
applied in the past is largely invalidated by current folklore
research which should be used as a corrective as well as to devise a
new theory on how the Pentateuch originated.
Author: Rendtorff, Rolf.
Title: The Paradigm Is Changing: Hopes - and Fears.
Journal: Biblical Interpretation,
Volume: 1(1), pages: 34-53.
Wellhausen's Documentary Hypothesis has come to an end. Other major
scholarly views of the 20th cent., e.g., Gunkel's concentration on
the smaller units, and Noth's and von Rad's Israelite amphictyony
are cratering. Nothing substantial, however, has replaced these
views. Several contemporary scholars advocate "fearful" concepts:
Israelite religion was little different from Canaanite religion; one
can write a history of Israel without using the Hebrew Bible; more
and more OT texts are exilic and postexilic, and their historical
allusions are not reliable. Still, a "hopeful" aspect of present
work is the tendency to deal with the text as it is.
"..it becomes simply incredulous that J wrote 12.1-4a, 12:6-9 about the start of Abraham's spiritual odyssey and that E wrote 22:1-19 about the climax of his spiritual odyssey, and that these two authors living approximately 100 years apart and in different parts of ancient Israel time and again chose the same lexical terms. Surely this is too improbable, especially when such examples can be and have been multiplied over and over. Admittedly, a corresponding word here or there could be coincidental, but the cumulative nature of the evidence tips the scales heavily against the usual division of Genesis into JEP" (p. 104-105)
"The evidence presented here points to the following conclusion: there is much more uniformity and much less fragmentation in the book of Genesis than generally assumed. The standard division of Genesis into J, E, and P strands should be discarded. This method of source criticism is a method of an earlier age, predominantly of the 19th century. If new approaches to the text, such as literary criticism of the type advanced here, deem the Documentary Hypothesis unreasonable and invalid, then source critics will have to rethink earlier conclusions and start anew." (p. 105)