The abbreviation for the Elohist source or tradition in the Pentateuch. The term “Elohist” is derived from ʾĕlōhîm, a Hebrew word for God. Eighteenth‐century analysis of the book of Genesis distinguished two “documents,” one in which God was referred to as Elohim, and another in which he was called Yahweh (see J; Names of God in the Hebrew Bible); later scholars concluded that in Genesis two different sources used the name Elohim (E and P), and that the Elohist tradition was to be found beyond the book of Genesis (all sources use Yahweh after the first revelation to Moses; see Exod. 3.13–15 [E]; 6.2–3 [P]). The Elohist tradition is generally thought to have originated in the northern kingdom of Israel in the ninth or eighth century BCE. Its characteristics include a northern setting for most of its narratives in Genesis, divine communication with humans by means of dreams or messengers (see Angels), and an emphasis on prophecy. These views are widely held by scholars, though recently some have questioned various details and even the very existence of the Elohist.

Michael D. Coogan