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He bore a son, Ishmael, by his wife's servant who became the father of the Arab nations.

His heir, Isaac, was born to Abraham and Sarah in their old age by supernatural intervention by God.

Wellhausen was widely influential and the theory grew more and more complex -- and speculative. Whybray commented in 1995 on the state of Pentateuchal studies: "There is at the present moment no consensus whatever about when, why, how, and through whom the Pentateuch reached its present form, and opinions about the dates of composition of its various parts differ by more than five hundred years."[9] Certainly Jesus, the Jews, and the early church all believed that the Pentateuch (which the Jews referred to as "the law") was inspired by God and attributed it as a whole to Moses.

These days, however, Wellhausen's JEDP theory is in disarray. It's likely that the materials Moses or other early editors worked with represent oral and written traditions dated much earlier than Moses himself.

We'll examine these further as we study the details of Abraham's life.

These temples were staffed by priests (who offered sacrifices and made libations), singers and musicians, as well as male and female prostitutes (whose activities many scholars relate to the fertility cult).[6] Much later than Abraham, the Israelites are warned against worship of the moon, sun, and stars (Deuteronomy ; 17:2-5), though this kind of worship continued under idolatrous kings (2 Kings 23:5-12). By the time we see him in Genesis 12 he is a monotheist, a worshipper of one God.

He apparently used two words for God -- Abraham's monotheism contrasts sharply with the polytheism of his forebears (Joshua 24:2).

Whether Moses was the first to write down the stories of Abraham and his descendents or served as an editor himself, we just don't know[10]. It is difficult to find fixed events in Genesis that can be connected absolutely to dates established from archaeology.

Our focus will not be on speculative theories of sources, but on the Book of Genesis that comes down to us in the Bible and the meaning of that revelation. One approach to dating Abraham is to backtrack from the first fixed event we find in the Bible -- a statement that Solomon laid the temple foundation in the 480th year after the exodus (1 Kings 6:1), which would date the exodus at about 1447-1446 BC.

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