E is the siglum for the Elohist, a pentateuchal layer in the Documentary Hypothesis. Originally one of the main criteria for its identification was the use of the divine name Elohim, it was split into two different sources, one to become the P source and the other our current E. By the mid-20th century in the Noth-von Rad induced consensus that had formed, E was considered to be composed in the northern kingdom in the 8th century, since has interests in places predominately in the north. However, the documentary hypothesis implies four complete sources or documents that existed separately and were later interwoven or redacted, setting it apart from fragmentary or supplementary hypotheses. E, since the time of Wellhausen is difficult to distinguish from J, and Wellhausen mostly referred to it as JE. The E source hardly seems to form a complete narrative by itself, and even in 1930s Volz and Rudolph were the first to argue that it was not a source, although Noth just assumed that only selections from a much fully source were included in the present edition of the Penateuch. E is characterized by its use of elohim, the fact that the deity usually communications through dreams, visions, or prophets, as well as a more concerned about the morals of the patriarchs.

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