The view of Professor Dillmann, who placed P before D in the regal period (though he admitted exilic and postexilic additions in Exod., Levit.
The key must be sought in the exilic and post-exilic age where, unfortunately, direct and decisive evidence is lacking.
There is literary critical evidence for late insertions by exilic or later compilers; 1 the compiler of Chronicles apparently refers to accessible works; and there is a close material relationship between the Old Testament and later literature.
Although these and other phenomena cannot yet be safely placed in a historical frame, the methodical labours of past scholars have shed much light upon the obscurities of the exilic and post-exilic ages, and one must await the more comprehensive study of the two or three centuries which are of the first importance for biblical history and theology.
This is especially true of the history of the exilic and post-exilic periods, where the effort is made to preserve the continuity of Israel and the Israelite community (Chronicles - Ezra - Nehemiah).
Hence we understand the importance attached to it in the exilic literature (Isa.
Collections of laws are found in Deuteronomy and in exilic and post-exilic writings; groups of a relatively earlier type are preserved in Exod.
Even in the beginning of the 2nd century B.C., when Ben Sira praises notable figures of the exilic and post-exilic age (Zerubbabel, Jeshua and Nehemiah), Ezra is passed over (Ecclesiasticus xlix.