Jean Astruc

1684-1766. Physician; founder of modern Pentateuchal criticism. Possibly of Jewish extraction, he was born at Sauve, Languedoc. His father, a Huguenot* pastor, became Roman Catholic when the Edict of Nantes was revoked (1685), so Jean was brought up a Catholic. He studied at Montpellier, taught medicine there (1707), at Toulouse (1716), and at Paris (1731) and was court physician to Augustus II of Poland (1729) and to Louis XV of France (1730). In 1753 he published anonymously his Conjectures sur les mémoires originaux dont il paraît que Moise s'est servi pour composer le livre de la Genèse. He concluded that Moses made use of earlier documents; the two primary sources used YHWH and Elohim respectively as divine names. Though some ridiculed his hypothesis, J.G. Eichhorn* later established its importance.