DH Idiocy 1
For today, I'm going to mention two of the very obvious idiocies in the theory. But as the number in the title of this entry indicates, there'll be more.
1. "The place where God will put His Name"
Shavuot is over, and during the leyning on the second day, the continual repetition of the above phrase kept jumping out at me. As we know, the Torah doesn't identify Jerusalem as the eventual site of the Temple. It simply alludes to it in this way. Advocates of the Documentary Hypothesis actually see all of these references as material added by the Kohanim-priests in Jerusalem, who were pushing for centralization of the sacrificial cult. They argue (for no solid reason) that originally, there was nothing wrong with bringing sacrifices in your backyard. This is actually an idiocy that deserves its own entry, assuming that because a lot of people broke the law, that the law didn't exist.
In any case, all of this material supposedly stuck in by people who wanted Jerusalem to be the center of everything... and none of it mentions Jerusalem. Why? That's just really dumb. Putting Jerusalem into the text would have been a very minor thing, compared to some of the alterations the Documentarists want us to believe in.
2. The Samaritan Torah
You know who the Samaritans are, right? Back a little over a century before the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem, the Assyrians conquered and destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel. They deported its inhabitants to various places, and then settled the land with tribes they'd conquered elsewhere. This reshuffling was supposed to prevent rebellions, since cutting people off from their homelands would leave them with only an Assyrian subject identity.
When they got there, they decided to adopt the local religion, and wound up with a mish-mash of worship of God and some goddesses.
The Samaritans claim that they are actually the descendents of the Israelites who lived in the northern kingdom, but that doesn't actually make any difference to this point. Either way, they have a version of the Torah, and it differs very little from our Torah. A few letters, here and there, for the most part.
The thing is, the Samaritans and the Jews... we never got along. At the time of King Josiah, we campaigned into their territory and destroyed various idolatrous shrines. We dug up and burned the bones of Jeroboam I, first king of the northern kingdom. Later, when Cyrus let us go back to Judah, the Samaritans wanted to be included in rebuilding the Temple, and we told them to go away. There wasn't much love lost between us.
And yet, the Patchwork Torah, created at one of these two points in history, is something they also think they got in one piece.
Leave alone the preposterous idea of some Redactor convincing an entire nation of stubborn Jews that not only was the Torah given to their ancestors, but that they'd always known the Torah was given to their ancestors... now we're supposed to believe that our arch-enemies fell for the gag as well.
The Documentary Hypothesis is something that can only be taken on faith. You have to start from a devout belief that the Torah cannot be what it purports to be. It cannot be something that was given to Moses and Israel in the desert. Once you start from that a-rational belief, you have to find some alternate source for the book. And the Documentary Hypothesis isn't all that much nuttier than "someone spilled a jar of ink, and the words of the Torah just happened to appear on the page."