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In the matter of historical criticism of Judges, as of the Pentateuch, Catholic scholars do not deny the use of various sources by the inspired writer, but postulate that these documents shall have been written and put together very much earlier than the Rationalists wish. Such is the opinion also of Kaulen ("Einleitung in die heilige Schrift", 3rd ed., Freiburg, 1890, 181).
There is no proof whatsoever of the late and manifold redactions of these documents in our present book. (1) Judges, in its present state, cannot have been written before Israel had a king.
He has transmitted sayings peculiar to place and to person (ii, 5; iv, 5; vi, 24, 32; xv, 19; xviii, 12, 29).
(2) The historian of Judges has an epic purpose, as early historians (e.g. The epos, or theme, of the historian of Judges is evolved in the summary (ii, 6-iii, 6), wherewith he introduces the history proper; he has it ever in mind to unfold why Jahweh allowed the foe to abide so long in the promised land, and even to defeat the chosen people, and why He raised up the judges. (3) The didactic purpose of the book is to teach Israel that the commandments of Jahweh should be obeyed (iii, 4). Among Catholic scholars a few, who wrote before the Biblical Commission issued its decrees about the Pentateuch, have accepted the late redaction.