Five Books of Moses

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by TheOliveBranch, Nov 28, 2008.

  1. TheOliveBranch

    TheOliveBranch
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    When were the Five Books of Moses first brought together? I read they were all written, but not put together as the Pentateuch until after the Babylonian captivity.
     
  2. Marcia

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    That sounds like the source you got that from is derived from Higher Criticism. Higher Criticism began mostly in Germany in the 1800s, maybe a bit earlier, and was composed of academic scholars and theologians who did not believe in the supernatural. They tried to explain things in the Bible through natural means.

    These people also say there was more than one writer of Isaiah, that editors changed things in the Bible, that the prophecies were written into the Bible after the fact, etc. They do not believe in inspiration of the Holy Spirit, or the miracles.

    One Christian source gives 1450-1410 B.C. as the dates (http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=2282)

    The books of the law were known before the captivity but were hidden and then found again in the reign of Josiah. 2 Kings 22-23 records this.

    8Then Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, "I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD." And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan who read it.

    9Shaphan the scribe came to the king and brought back word to the king and said, "Your servants have emptied out the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the LORD."
    10Moreover, Shaphan the scribe told the king saying, "Hilkiah the priest has given me a book." And Shaphan read it in the presence of the king.
    11When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes.
    12Then the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam the son of Shaphan, Achbor the son of Micaiah, Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah the king's servant saying, 13"Go, inquire of the LORD for me and the people and all Judah concerning the words of this book that has been found, for great is the wrath of the LORD that burns against us, because our fathers have not listened to the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us."
     
    #2 Marcia, Nov 28, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2008
  3. Jim1999

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    Your question is a valid one. How on earth did we get information about events that happened so many years before Moses lived?

    Aside from the fact that the veracity of the scriptures is supported in the New Testament, we must rely on profane history of the Hebrew people. They were very meticulous in recording events. For example, if a scribe made a mistake whilst writing the records, he had to destroy the work he had done, ceremoniously cleanse himself and start again. This gives us some idea at how important a correct record must be.

    Then, we must assume that Moses received Divine information and hence recorded information that could not be known otherwise.

    There are some events that are recorded in profane history and this verifies biblical events recorded in the Old Testament. Some archeological digs have turned up evidence to support these events.

    In Genesis and Exodus, we have some indication that the people of that time did know how to write, read and reason. They did record events for posterity.

    The creation events are repeated somewhat in similar order by other religions that started up in ancient times. Did they just copy Genesis? Or did word of mouth histories reach them and they then recorded these events? We don't have evidence to verify how this came about. Again, this is where we use the New Testament, which did have known documents, and work backwards to verify the Old Testament.

    It appears that Moses did have a special relationship with God and hence made the activites of God known to his people.

    The Bible is not a history text, but where it speaks on history it is accurate and has been proven by both scientific and archeological research.

    There is much more, but must stop off at this point.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
    #3 Jim1999, Nov 28, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2008
  4. LeBuick

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    Interesting discussion so I hope you don't mind if I jump in with a couple of questions/thoughts of my own.

    I have somewhat believed the theory that the Genesis stories were passed on and discussed word of mouth from the elders to the Children prior Moses, one who was highly educated by Pharaoh, who took on the task to write them down. I can also go along with divine inspiration filling in the details.

    We know the Law or the "Covenant" was carried on the "Ark".

    We also know Lev thru Deut has no dispute that Moses was there as those books took place.

    The biggest problem with that theory is how did the stories get past the great flood?

    So that leaves us with the totally divinely inspired version. I guess this helps explain how Moses wrote of his own death...

    Dt 34:5 So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD.
    6 And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.
    7 And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.
    8 And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.
     
  5. Marcia

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    Yes, the books of Moses are divinely inspired! That's why they are in the Bible.

    Some believe that Joshua may have written about Moses' death in Deut.
     
  6. LeBuick

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    How do you define "divinely inspired"? I suspect we have different definitions. I believe the Gospels were divinely inspired yet 3 of them wrote exactly what they saw or heard.
     
  7. Joseph M. Smith

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    It is not appropriate to dismiss the results of critical scholarship simply by tagging them as "Higher Criticism" and suggesting that scholars who work as critics do not see inspiration in the Pentateuch. There are all sorts of evidences -- linguistic, textual, contextual -- to indicate that the Pentateuch is a developed work whose compilation and redaction took many years to accomplish. If I think -- not believe, but think -- that the Pentateuch as we now have it may have been finished somewhere in the post-Josiah period, does that make it any less valuable for spiritual guidance? The insistence that, as the Chicago inerrancy statement would have it, that the books of the Bible are written by the authors named in them or attributed to them, seems to require too much. Let's focus for theologizing and spiritual purposes on the themes and the concepts of the Bible.
     
  8. Pastor Larry

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    But that "evidence" has been soundly refuted and shown to be a bigger fantasy than an Mosaic authorship. Archer, for instance, in his Introduction to the Old Testament deals with this very effectively.

    It seems only to require truthfulness. If a book says Person A wrote it, when really Person B wrote it, then it is not telling the truth.

    It is an unfortunate dichotomy you draw here. Theology and spiritual purposes depend on truthfulness. The Bible is not a book of moral stories from which theology may be drawn. It is revelation from God.
     
  9. robycop3

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    Moses heeded the words of Jethro & delegated some of his authority insteada trying to micromanage ALL ISRAEL by himself. He most likely dictated most of the Pebtateuch to a scribe or scribes as Paul did, choosing devout men, Levites, for the job. One of those scribes might well have written about Moses' death, or it coulda been Joshua.
     
  10. Deacon

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    Then Joshua built an altar unto the LORD God of Israel in mount Ebal,
    as Moses the servant of the LORD commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron: and they offered thereon burnt offerings unto the LORD, and sacrificed peace offerings.
    And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel.
    And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel.
    And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law.
    There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.

    Joshua 8:30-35 AV 1873

    And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
    Exodus 24:4 AV 1873

    And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and unto all the elders of Israel.
    Deuteronomy 31:9 AV 1873

    Those last eight verses of the Pentateuch have been debated for thousands of years.
    The Talmud contends that Moses wrote the Pentateuch except for the last eight verses which are attributed to Joshua.

    The Master has said: "Joshua wrote the book which bears his name and the last eight verses of the Pentateuch. This statement is in agreement with the authority who says that eight verses in the Torah were written by Joshua, as it has been taught: So Moses the servant of the Lord died there. Now is it possible that Moses being dead could have written the words, 'Moses died there'? The truth is, however, that up to this point Moses wrote, from this point Joshua wrote. This is the opinion of Rabbi Judah, or, according to others, of Rabbi Nehemiah." [But] Rabbi Shimon said to him: "Can the scroll of the law be short of one word? ... No; what we must say is that up to this point the Holy One, blessed be He, dictated and Moses repeated and wrote, and from this point God dictated and Moses wrote with tears."
    (Baba Bathra 15a)

    A good book discussing the critical issues of the Pentateuch is:
    Exploring the Old Testament Series, Volume One - A Guide to the Penateuch by Gordon Wenham [LINK]
    It should stretch you but will not break you!

    Rob
     
    #10 Deacon, Nov 29, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 29, 2008
  11. Acumenical

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    There is a tradition that Ezra edited the Pentateuch into its final form. Moses wrote it, but Ezra added a few things here and there, and updated the language. Assuming this was done under inspiration, I have no problem with the idea. No one knows, of course, but it's not an unrealistic theory.
     
  12. LeBuick

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    I don't recall Moses saying he wrote the Pentateuch, is this referenced somewhere in scripture?
     
  13. jonathan.borland

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    Deut 33:10 (And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face") does seem to indicate that at least the final touches of the five books of Moses were seamed together by a much later "redactor," or, more properly called, "an inspired editor or prophet"
     
  14. Joseph M. Smith

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    I have not read the Archer book and so cannot comment on it directly, but did take the time to find and read a couple of online summaries, sympathetic ones at that. It sounds as though he began with an a priori premise about inerrancy and then labored to prove it. Yes, I am aware of the philosophical assumptions in the Wellhausen theory; the use of a Hegelian framework may have been altogether too tempting. Nonetheless, it is rather apparent, even reading the English Bible, that the Pentateuchal texts have been redacted and do not emanate from one hand or one time.

    Authorship and truth ... remember that there was a different approach to authorship in the ancient world ... so that attributing one's work to an ancient worthy was not seen as lying but as honoring the master. It was not plagiarism, as that would be claiming the master's work as one's own; this goes in the other direction. And so disciples of Moses may have seen their work as essentially Moses' work, just as later the authors we now call Deutero-Isaiah and Trito-Isaiah saw themselves in the Isaianic tradition.
     
  15. TheOliveBranch

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    SO was the Pentateuch together as Five Books just before the Babylonian captivity? I wondered if this book, or set of scripts was taken to Babylon or if it was brought in separately, then later formed as the Pentateuchor group of writings., if this makes sense.
     
  16. franklinmonroe

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    The question was: When were they brought together? We don't know. Of course, the collection could not precede the authorship (Moses about 1300 BC?) of the final book, as discussed in previous posts.

    Some partial records (like the genealogies) may have been passed along since Adam, from patriarch to patriarch, through Noah and beyond. The completed length of these literary works would have dictated individual scrolls for practical handling of each Hebrew text. The "Law" seems to have been firmly established before Ezra's time (500 BC?). So, while they may have been referred to as a unit, the Five Books probably were rarely actually 'bound' together before the time of Christ, and infrequently for even several centuries after.
     
    #16 franklinmonroe, Dec 1, 2008
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  17. Pastor Larry

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    Jesus said it multiple times. However, the specific point to which I was speaking was the larger point of authorship and authenticity, particularly in the prophets.
     
  18. Pastor Larry

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    No student of the OT should be without it. It is among the best introductions available.

    Of course. No intelligent handling of the Bible can begin with any other premise. To deny inerrancy is a serious flaw in scholarship and theology.

    That's not apparent at all. In fact, it falls flat on its face upon examination. There is no reason to suggest this at all apart from a need to deny supernatural inspiration.

    Um, no. This was well answered in a NT book edited by Dockery and Black called Interpreting the New Testament. While that specifically addresses NT psuedonymity, it is certainly appropriate in many respects for OT scholarship as well.

    Of course not. It's dishonesty. Plagiarism is when you copy someone else's work and call it your own. Dishonesty is when you claim someone said or wrote something when they actually didn't say it or write it.
     
  19. franklinmonroe

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    According to the Torah itself, Moses definitely did write stuff. Here are a few verses --
    And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill,
    and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. (Exodus 24:4)

    And Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys by the commandment of the LORD: and these [are] their journeys
    according to their goings out. (Numbers 33:1-2)

    And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished,
    That Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying,
    Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee. (Deut. 31:24-26)​

    God directly told Moses to write things (I don't think he disobeyed) --
    And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this [for] a memorial in a book, and rehearse [it] in the ears of Joshua:
    for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. (Exodus 17:14)

    And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. (Exodus 34:27)​

    These words may actually have been penned by another's hand but very clearly are attributed to Moses as their author --
    And Moses spake in the ears of all the congregation of Israel the words of this song, until they were ended...
    Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.
    My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:
    Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God...
    [see rest of chapter]...
    And this [is] the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death. (Deut 31:30, 32:1-3 & 33:1)​

    Does this prove that Moses wrote it all? No; but I don't see any other names being mentioned as the writer of the Pentateuch in scripture.
     
    #19 franklinmonroe, Dec 1, 2008
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  20. Jim1999

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    I dictate to my secretary what to include in a letter. She or he types the letter as I dictated. I am perfectly correct in saying I wrote this letter.

    I think not a few books in the Bible might fall under the same understanding, and so they are not incorrect when they say so and so wrote this book.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     

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