Who wrote the Torah?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by baylor52279, Dec 31, 2001.

  1. baylor52279

    baylor52279
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    I know there are many differeing views on who wrote the first five books in the OT. I persoanlly ascribe to the JEPD view. Any thoughts?
     
  2. Aaron

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    You should read A Survey of Old Testament Introduction by Gleason L. Archer for a scholarly refutation of the Documentary Hypothesis. It is required reading in many Baptist seminary OT courses.
     
  3. Aaron

    Aaron
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    Oh, I forgot. Moses wrote the Torah.
     
  4. BWSmith

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    I ascribe to the documentary hypotheses with several important divergences.

    - J hexateuch grundschrift from Jacob to Joshua, written between Rehoboam and Hezekiah's reigns that was expanded to include the Abraham/Isaac material. (But Gen 14 may be authentic fragment of Davidic propaganda validating Jerusalem.)
    - E hexateuch from Abraham-Joshua and Dt core written between Jeroboam and northern exile.
    - Fragments of E supplement J to form JE between Hezekiah-Manasseh.
    - Priestly grundschrift begins with centralized Hezekiah temple period.
    - Josianic Dtr writes non-P Gen 1-11, most of the rest of Deut. & DtrH1.
    - Exilic Dtr redaction across Primary History.
    - 2TP Priestly redaction of Primary History.
    - Continued evolution after split with SP and LXX; (Gen 5/11 chronology in Masoretic Hebrew in 2nd c.BC).

    Comments?
     
  5. ATeenageChristian

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    I believe Moses wrote the Torah. That is why there are the 5 books of Moses starting with Genesis.
     
  6. BWSmith

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    Moses wrote about his own death, referred to himself in the third person, used the term "to this day" about events contemporary to his time, and spoke of his own position as being "beyond the Jordan"?

    Moses didn't write the Pentateuch. The Pentateuch is intertwined with the Former Prophets, and they jointly were developed from the monarchy down to the Maccabean period.
     
  7. Helen

    Helen
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    Moses wrote the vast majority of the last four books of the Pentateuch, as KNOWN by Hebrew scholars for centuries -- millennia. The editorials and the account of Moses' death may well have been written by Joshua or Caleb.

    Genesis, on the other hand, gives EVERY indication of different authors, but not what Smith is suggesting here. The indication is that of eyewitness accounts. The fact that details of conversations are written down denies the fact that this is some kind of oral tradition passed down. Genesis 5:1 specifically refers to the fact that the earliest section is a written account.

    Some of the earliest Sumerian documents we have unearthed have an interesting difference in them, in the way they are signed off. For most of wirtten history, the author has signed his name under or near the title or opening of the document. However the earliest tablets we have uncovered show that the authors of the earliest days signed off at the END of the document.

    Interestingly, this is what we appear to see in Genesis. "These are the generations of" are the earliest signatory phrases. Adam himself signs at the end of his recollection there in Genesis 5:1. The next author starts the end of Genesis 5:1 with a tie-in phrase to Adam's account and a parallel structure to the beginning of Adam's account in Genesis 2:4b:

    2:4b -- "When the Lord God made the earth and the heavens..."

    5:1b -- "When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God."

    Genesis 1:1-2:4a may well have been written by the and of God Himself, as was the first version of the Ten Commandments which Moses smashed in anger. Or it may have been dictated. But only God was the eyewitness who could have borne testimony to the first chapter of Genesis.

    After Adam wrote, Noah picks up the account, and his tablet ends with Genesis 6:9: "This is the account of Noah."

    Noah's three sons pick up immediately and combine to author the next material through Genesis 10:1, where they sign off saying, "This is the account of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, Noah's sons, who themselves had sons after the flood.

    Shem himself picks up the geneological list and the recounting of the Babel catastrophe, closing in Genesis 11:10 with "This is the account of Shem."

    Abraham's father, Terah, writes a short section, then, ending with Genesis 11:27: "This is the account of Terah."

    Isaac is the next author and recounts his father's life and experiences, signing off in Genesis 25:19: "This is the account of Abraham's son, Isaac.

    Right before Isaac signs off, however, he includes his half-brother's geneological account in verses 12-18, and precedes them with "this is the account of Abraham's son Ishmael..." which then is a matter of clarity so that the two accounts are not signed within one verse of each other.

    Jacob does the same thing, as the next main author, closing his portion of the history in Genesis 37:2 -- "This is the account of Jacob." Immediately before that, however, as Isaac had done with Ishmael, Jacob includes Esau's own account of his geneology, which is chapter 36 and signed at the beginning, as Ishmael's insertion had been.

    With the exception of the account of Judah and Tamar in chapter 38, the rest of the book of Genesis is part of Egyptian history and was probably written by Moses or a scribe ahead of him.

    Moses, as a prince in Egypt and a leader of the Israelites both, would have been the ONLY person to have access to all of these records, and so would have had to have been the person who collated them, and then wrote his own history. This is why the first five books of the Bible are referred to as the books of Moses.

    Is this made up? No. Here are a couple of comments from two well-studied scholars of this material:

    -------------

    Oswald T. Allis of Princeton and later Westminster Theological Seminary
    in "The Five Books of Moses" Presbyterian & Reformed (1964) did a
    pretty good number on the JEDP idea, or the Graf-Wellhausen hypothesis, which is its correct name:

    "WE HAVE PREFERRED to call the theory which we have been
    examining the Development Hypothesis, rather than to use the
    name "historical" which many of its advocates prefer. The aim of
    the historian should be to present actual facts in such a way that
    they will appear in true perspective and correct relation to other
    facts. That it is the aim of the advocates of the Graf-Wellhausen
    hypothesis to do this, need not be called in question. But, as we
    have endeavored to show, their treatment of the available facts is so
    dominated by a theory the correctness of which they hold to be
    proved and the acceptance of which they consider to be the badge
    of true scholarship and a truly scientific spirit, that this tendency or
    bias must be taken account of in appraising their methods and
    conclusions. It is significant that the rise of this new and
    revolutionary theory followed closely upon the publication of
    Darwin's Origin of Species (1859), which gave such encouragement
    and impetus to all theories of development. But its roots are to be
    traced farther back, to the Hegelian philosophy and the positivism
    of Comte, to a theory of development which whether idealistic or
    materialistic is "naturalistic" because it tends directly to the denial
    of that supernaturalism which is so prominent and distinctive a
    feature of the Bible. Even a cursory examination of the literature of
    the higher criticism makes it clear that it has been increasingly
    dominated by three great principles of evolutionary theory: (1) that
    development is the explanation of all phenomena, (2) that this
    development results from forces latent in man without any
    supernatural assistance, and (3) that the "comparative" method,
    which uses a naturalistic yardstick, must determine the nature and
    rate of this development." (Allis O.T., "The Five Books of Moses,"
    1964, pp.259-260)

    The best evidence to my mind against over-elaborate source-theories in Genesis
    at least is P.J. Wiseman's pointing out that Genesis contains easily recognisable
    evidence even in English translations of what its underlying sources were, in the
    oft-repeated phrase "these are the generations of..." which have the same form
    as the footer (or header) inscriptions on ancient eastern clay tablets.

    Another conservative OT scholar R.K. Harrison, took up Wiseman's insight
    and wrote:

    "According to the Graf-Wellhausen documentary hypothesis of
    Pentateuchal origins, Genesis assumed its present form through
    various editorial processes that saw a combination of elements of J.
    E, and E sources into a continuous document. ... The present writer
    does not support ... [this] positions, and prefers to examine the
    problem of the compilation of Genesis against a background of
    ancient Near Eastern literary activity. It should be observed as a
    general principle that there may well be quite a number of sources
    designated in the Old Testament writings which have not actually
    been recognized as such by most modern scholars. Genesis appears
    to be a case in point, with the clue to the underlying sources being
    provided, not by the incidence of the divine names or the presence
    of supposed duplicate narratives, but by the phrase translated "these
    are the generations of," ..." (Harrison R.K., "Introduction to the
    Old Testament," Tyndale Press, 1970, p.543)

    and

    "The foregoing discussion can be summarized, therefore, by stating
    that the term [towledah] can be held to indicate the presence of a
    colophon in the text, and to constitute part of the concluding
    sentence of each section, thereby pointing back to a narrative
    already recorded. Accordingly it is eminently possible to regard its
    incidence as indicating the presence of a genuine Biblical source in
    the text.... Accordingly the present writer feels justified in following
    Wiseman in the assertion that Genesis contains in the first thirty-six
    chapters a series of tablets whose contents were linked together to
    form a roughly chronological account of primeval and patriarchal
    life written from the standpoint of a Mesopotamian cultural milieu.:

    1. The Eleven Tablets. Such a view is based upon the conviction
    that this approach alone does the fullest justice to the literary
    phenomena of much of Genesis, particularly in the light of what is
    now known regarding the antiquity of writing, the diverse nature of
    literary communications in the Near East during the second
    millennium B.C., and the special characteristics of contemporary
    scribal techniques. The tablets that may be isolated will be seen to
    have a title, a residuum of textual matter, and a colophon, along
    with certain additional features to be noted subsequently. The
    sources can be described briefly as follows:


    Tablet 1: Gen. 1:1-2:4. The origins of the cosmos
    Tablet 2: Gen. 2 :5-5:2. The origins of mankind
    Tablet 3: Gen. 5: 3-6:9a. The histories of Noah
    Tablet 4: Gen. 6:9b-10:1. The histories of the sons of Noah
    Tablet 5: Gen. 10:2-11:10a. The histories of Shem
    Tablet 6: Gen. 11:10b-11:27a. The histories of Terah
    Tablet 7: Gen. 11 :27b-25:12. The histories of Ishmael
    Tablet 8: Gen. 25:13-25:19a. The histories of Isaac
    Tablet 9: Gen. 25:19b-36:1. The histories of Esau
    Tablet 10: Gen. 36:2-36:9. The histories of Esau
    Tablet 11: Gen. 36:10-37:2. The histories of Jacob

    ...The present writer is of the opinion that the foregoing
    classification of material represents the genuine literary sources
    underlying the first thirty-six chapters of Genesis." (Harrison R.K.,
    1970, pp.547-548)


    =========

    There is another commentary which I will post right after this, also supporting this concept and written by a professor of OT studies.
     
  8. Helen

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    Here is what R. K. Harrison has to say on the subject of the possible source documents of Genesis:
    THE BOOK OF GENESIS: A. NAME AND OUTLINE

    While Genesis is an anonymous work, as are the other four books of the Pentateuch, its attributive author is Moses. However, to what extent he wrote any of its contents, with the possible exception of all or part of the Joseph narratives, is unknown. In attributing Mosaic authorship to the Pentateuch as a whole, conservative scholars have pointed out that the Torah in its entirety must not necessarily be assumed to have been the work of his own bands, any more than any of the stelae of antiquity were the product of direct activity on the part of their attributive authors. Some writers, such as Young, have not precluded the possibility that the writer drew on earlier written sources, but in general the ascription of Mosaicity to the Pentateuch implies its historicity and its formulation by Moses under divine inspiration, with the supposition that later editors may have revised the contents somewhat in accord with the traditions of the ancient Near Eastern scribes.

    The Jews designated Genesis according to its initial word, bereshith which is almost always incorrectly translated in English by the phrase "In the beginning." In Talmudic times the work was known as the "Book of the Creation of the World," while the English title "Genesis" was actually derived from the LXX rendering of Genesis 2:4a, "This is the book of the geneseos of heaven and earth," and from the subsequent headings (Gen. 5:1; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10; 11:27; 25:12; 25:19; 36:1; 36:9; and 37:2), the nature of which will be dealt with shortly.

    On the basis of the extant Hebrew text the book can be analyzed as follows:

    I. Prehistory: the Creation Record, 1: 1-2:3
    II The Story of Man, 2:4-11:26
    III. The Choice of Abraham, 11:27-23:20
    IV The Choice of Isaac, 24:1-26:35
    V. The Choice of Jacob, 27:1-36:43
    VI. The Choice of Judah; the Joseph Narratives, 37:1-50:26

    B. Toledot AND THE ORIGINS OF GENESIS

    According to the Graf-Wellhausen documentary hypothesis of Pentateuchal origins, Genesis assumed its present form through various editorial processes that saw a combination of elements of J, E, and P sources into a continuous document. In the view of those who advocate the "traditio-historical" approach to the problem of Pentateuchal compilation, Genesis arose through the preservation of "cycles of tradition" that grew up in various areas in oral form. These "traditions" developed around focal events such as the Passover and other similar occurrences significant for the religious life of the nation and found expression in the rituals and liturgies of the Israelites. In the more moderate forms of both these views there is no necessary attempt to deny historicity to the material involved, even though most of the scholars who support these approaches would prefer to attribute general rather than specific historicity to the subject matter.

    The present writer does not support either of these positions, and prefers to examine the problem of the compilation of Genesis against a background of ancient Near Eastern literary activity. It should be observed as a general principle that there may well be quite a number of sources designated in the Old Testament writings which have not actually been recognized as such by most modern scholars. Genesis appears to be a case in point, with the clue to the underlying sources being provided, not by the incidence of the divine names or the presence of supposed duplicate narratives, but by the phrase translated "these are the generations of," an expression that has perplexed a great many scholars, and regarded by the exponents of the classic documentary theory as a characteristic of the Priestly Code.

    In order to appreciate the significance of the Hebrew term toledot, it will be necessary to examine briefly the nature and format of cuneiform communications in the ancient world. Clay was the preferred material upon which the wedge-shaped symbols were impressed, and the resultant tablets, which could contain a wide range of literary material, varied in size and shape from a tiny square to a large cylinder. The general style of a tablet furnished some indication as to its contents; and as far as single tablets were concerned the material communicated usually consisted of letters, contracts, invoices, business correspondence, genealogical tables, and the like. Generally speaking individual tablets were not made too large, partly because of the sheer weight of the clay and more particularly because a large tablet would be more likely to break than a smaller one.

    It was the normal practice in Near Eastern antiquity for single communications of this kind to commence with some sort of title, followed by the body of the text, and then a colophon, which would sometimes contain, among other things, a hint as to the identity of the scribe or owner of the tablet and the date when the tablet was written. The imprint of a button or cylinder seal upon the clay tablet helped to identify the owner of the communication. If a more lengthy communication required more than one tablet, the proper sequence of the series was preserved by a system of titles, catch-lines, and numbering. The title was normally taken from the opening words of the tablet, and these were frequently repeated at the end of each subsequent tablet, being followed by the serial number of that particular tablet. The catch-line attempted to insure the continuity of the narrative by repeating the first few words of the following tablet at the end of the previous tablet, so that, if a series of tablets became disarranged, there could be no doubt as to which word or words were to be read immediately after the conclusion of a tablet. This practice is still followed in some modern legal documents, and occurs also in the Hebrew Bible, where on the bottom left-half margin the first word or two of the following page is to be found.

    The colophon, which concluded the individual tablet or the series, normally contained the name of the scribe or the owner of the tablet, as has been remarked above, and frequently it also included some attempt at dating. In addition, it often embodied the title given to the narrative, and if the tablet was part of a series it furnished the serial number and a statement as to whether the tablet did or did not conclude the series.

    That the expression "these are the generations of" is a distinguishing phrase of Genesis has long been recognized by adherents of the Graf-Wellhausen theory, as well as by more conservative scholars. S. R. Driver affirms that,

    "Šthe narrative of Genesis is cast into a framework, or scheme, marked by the recurring formula "these are the generations (lit. begettings) of"Šthe center narrative as we now possess it is accommodated to it."

    While Ryle could state that the phrase bore a close relation to the structure of the Priestly Code in Genesis, he rejected the subdivision of the book on the basis of this formula, although on entirely subjective grounds. Other commentators of widely varying schools of thought, however, divided Genesis up into sections that commenced with the phrase.

    But while scholars were agreed as to the importance of the express they appear to have misunderstood entirely both its usage and significance for the literary origins of Genesis. The reason for this is quite simple, for as Wiseman has pointed out, many of the sections in Genes commence, as is frequently the case in ancient documents, with genealogy. This practice led scholars to associate the phrase "these are the generations of" with the genealogical list in those cases where such register of individuals followed; hence they assumed, quite without warrant, that the phrase was being employed as a preface or introduction. Thus Driver could consider it as belonging properly to a genealogical system, implying that the person to whose name it was prefixed was of sufficient importance as to make a break in the genealogical series. For Driver it also indicated that the person named, along with descendants, would form the subject of discussion in the ensuing section until another name was reached that could be considered prominent enough to form the commencement of a new passage.
    This assertion, however, is completely contrary to the facts, for examination of the evidence in relation to the latter part of the statement would indicate that Abraham, the most prominent person in Genesis, ought certainly to have been named in connection with phrase under discussion. Yet curiously enough, while other lesser individuals were mentioned in the various records in this manner, there is not one instance where the phrase "these are the generations of Abraham" occurs in the Hebrew text. Furthermore, the phrase does not by any means always belong to a genealogical list, since in certain cases there is no addendum of such tabular material.

    What is evident, however, is that the principal facts concerning individual involved have been recorded before the incidence of phrase in question, and that they are not recorded after its occurrence. Thus when the expression "These are the generations of Adam" (Gen. 5:1) occurs, nothing more is stated about Adam apart from a mention his age at death. Again, the record that follows the sentence "These the generations of Isaac" (Gen. 25:19) is not so much a history of Isaac, son of Abraham, as a chronicle of events that occurred in the lives of Jacob and Esau. Still further, after the phrase "These are the generations of Jacob" (Gen. 37:2), the narrative deals with the story of Joseph, mentions Jacob only in a rather incidental manner as the unfolding the events warranted. This peculiarity has been a source of people and embarrassment to the vast majority of commentators schooled in critical methods of Graf, Kuenen, and Wellhausen, and in view of fact that the phrase quite clearly does not constitute an introduction preface to the history of a person, as is commonly imagined, it is of some importance to determine its precise meaning.
    The Hebrew for "generations" in the expression under discussion is toledot, and not the ordinary Hebrew word dor, which is translated "generations" over one hundred and twenty times in the older English versions. Dor corresponds to the word "generations" as implied by common English usage, and can refer to a past (Isa. 51:9) or future (Exod. 3:15) period, a class of people (Deut. 32:5), or to the heirs of a covenant (Gen. 17:7, 9). Toledot occurs ten times in Genesis in such a manner as to lend itself to the division of the material associated with it into eleven sections, each being styled "the generations ofŠ" it also occurs in isolation from a stereotyped phrase in Genesis 10:32; 25:13; 36:9 and elsewhere in the Old Testament.
    The word originated in the Hebrew root yalad, "to bear," "to beget," which doubtless accounts for the English rendering "generation." But from the time of the Hebrew lexicographer Gesenius it has been apparent from Old Testament usages of the word that it means a "history," narrative," or "genealogical record" of a family or some other such social unit. As has been observed above, the LXX has rendered the term by geneseos, and it is of some interest to the Christian student to note that the expression "biblos geneseos Iesou Christous," "the book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ" in Matthew 1:1 reflects closely the Hebrew phrase. "book of the genealogy of Adam" in Genesis 5:1. The Hebrew word was used regularly for the collection of Jewish traditions concerning the life of Jesus, and in modern times it has formed part of the title of Yehezkel Kaufmann's eight-volume history of Israelite religion.

    Thus the term toldeot is used to describe history, and more particularly in Genesis, at all events, of family history in its origins. Quite clearly, therefore, the phrase "these are the generations of" points back to the beginnings of the family history, and not forward to its later development through a line of descendants. In this connection it is of some interest to note that the phrase that occurs in Genesis 2:4 obviously points back to the narrative of the creation of the cosmos contained in the preceding chapter. It could not refer to the narrative that follows, since that section contains no reference whatever to the creation of the heavens. As Wiseman has commented, the phrase is only appropriate as a concluding sentence, so that most commentators, notwithstanding their usual interpretation of the phrase, made the story of creation terminate with it. Had they but perceived that all such sections of Genesis conclude with this formula, they would have possessed the key to the composition of the book. As it was, the majority of scholars found themselves in serious methodological difficulties in their assumption that the expression "these are the generations of" was employed in all the remaining instances as an initial, rather than a terminal phrase.

    On only two occasions in Genesis does a genealogical list follow the expression in the absence of intervening words, and yet here both lists are quite complete even without its use. While the formula is not necessarily connected with a genealogical table, in almost every instance a list of immediate descendants is given before the phrase occurs in Hebrew text. It is therefore obvious that the formula did not constitute preamble to a genealogical table, but that it was in fact an ending such a list. Notice should also be taken of the mention of sepher translated "book," in Genesis 5:1, where the reference can only be to a written "record" on a clay tablet, and also of the LXX version of Genesis 2: which reads, "This is the book of the origins of the heavens and the earth."

    A final point in connection with the significance of is that in least some cases the person mentioned in connection with the phrase might well have been the owner, or possibly the writer, of the tablet question, if Mesopotamian scribal practices are actually in evidence in the manner suggested. Thus in Genesis 6:9, the phrase "These are the generations of Noah" does not necessarily mean "This is the history involving Noah," since it is primarily the succeeding section that describes the activities of this individual. Instead, the expression could be interpreted as meaning "This is the history written (or possessed) by Noah," which once more would be in full accord with ancient Near Eastern literary practices. Again, in Genesis 10:1, the mention of sons of Noah implies that the preceding record of family history was their possession, a practice that can be documented extensively from family archives recovered from Nuzu, Mari, and elsewhere in ancient Mesopotamia.

    In Genesis 11:27, the reference to the "generations of Terah" contains little information about that individual except that he was the son Nahor. Quite evidently it was intended to indicate that Terah either wrote, or else had compiled for him, the list of his ancestors found verses 10 to 27. The excavations at Mari have shown the extent to which genealogical tables were treasured in antiquity as a means of establishing pedigree and for other social purposes, so that there is nothing inherently impossible in the action of Terah in this regard.
    C. THE SOURCES OF THE BOOK

    The foregoing discussion can be summarized, therefore, by stating that the term toldedot can be held to indicate the presence of a colophon in text, and to constitute part of the concluding sentence of each section thereby pointing back to a narrative already recorded. Accordingly it is eminently possible to regard its incidence as indicating the presence o genuine Biblical source in the text. It is not by any means accidental that much of the material in which the phrase under consideration occurs was either of Mesopotamian provenance or was written under the influence of Mesopotamian culture. Accordingly the present writer feels justified in following Wiseman in the assertion that Genesis contains in the first thirty-six chapters a series of tablets whose contents were linked together to form a roughly chronological account of primeval and patriarchal life written from the standpoint of a Mesopotamian cultural milieu.

    1. The Eleven Tablets. Such a view is based upon the conviction that this approach alone does the fullest justice to the literary phenomena of much of Genesis, particularly in the light of what is now known regarding the antiquity of writing, the diverse nature of literary communications in the Near East during the second millennium B.C., and the special characteristics of contemporary scribal techniques. The tablets that may be isolated will be seen to have a title, a residuum of textual matter, and a colophon, along with certain additional features to be noted subsequently. The sources can be described briefly as follows:

    Tablet 1: Gen. 1: 1-2:4. The origins of the cosmos
    Tablet 2: Gen. 2:5-5:2. The origins of mankind
    Tablet 3: Gen. 5:3-6:9a. The histories of Noah
    Tablet 4: Gen. 6:9b-10:1. The histories of the sons of Noah
    Tablet 5: Gen. 10:2-11:10a. The histories of Shem
    Tablet 6: Gen. 11: 10b- 11: 27a. The histories of Terah
    Tablet 7: Gen. 11:27b-25:12. The histories of Ishmael
    Tablet 8: Gen. 25:13-25:19a. The histories of Isaac
    Tablet 9: Gen. 25:19b-36:1. The histories of Esau
    Tablet 10: Gen. 36:2-36:9. The histories of Esau
    Tablet 11: Gen. 36:10-37:2. The histories of Jacob

    Apart from Tablets one and two, which deal with the origins of the cosmos and mankind respectively, and do not contain proper names in their colophons, there appears to be no event recorded in which the person or persons named could not have written either from personal knowledge or from other reliable sources. Furthermore, where individuals are mentioned by name in the colophons, the history recorded in the various sections isolated above and identified with suggested tablets ceases in all instances prior to the death of the person named at the conclusion of the tablet. The present writer is of the opinion that the foregoing classification of material represents the genuine literary sources underlying the first thirty-six chapters of Genesis.

    On closer examination the first postulated tablet (Gen. 1:1-2:4) bears the title "God created the cosmos," interpreting the phrase "the heavens and the earth" as a merismus form, and this title is repeated in the colophon (Gen. 2:4). There is no series number associated with the latter; the colophon contains no personal or other names, and there is no catch-line linking it with the second suggested tablet (Gen. 2:5-5:2), which deals with the origins of mankind. The abruptness of the transition from Genesis 2:4 to the following verse might indicate that the original title of the second proposed tablet bad either been lost in antiquity, or else had been deliberately removed in process of editing. Be that as it may, the colophon of this source contained no proper name and no evidence of ownership. It is just Possible that the scribe who wrote the tablet attempted to convey the antiquity of his material by using the phrase, "in the day that God created mankind" (Gen. 5:1), a circumstance that may also be true for the expression "when they were created" in Genesis 2:4 . In the light of the critical theories common in an earlier generation, which repeatedly asserted the influence of Mesopotamian traditions over those of the Hebrews, it is significant to note that more recent appraisals now limit this as far as the material covered by the first two tablets is concerned to a possible three points, including the initial waters and the divine respite after the creation of man.

    Tablet three, as isolated above (Gen. 5:3-6:9a), bears the title "And man," narrates his descent, and mentions Noah, who is named in the colophon (Gen. 6:9a), perhaps in his capacity as owner of the source The title of Tablet four (Gen. 6:9b-10:1) is "Shem, Ham and Japheth,' and the text deals with the Flood and its aftermath. This material is terminated by the colophon in Genesis 10:1, where the allusion to the period " after the Flood" may perhaps constitute a scribal attempt a dating. The title of the tablet, it will be noted, is repeated in the colophon. Tablet five (Gen. 10:2-11:10a), is apparently entitled "The sons of Japheth," and deals with the Table of Nations and the Babe incident. It is concluded by the colophon, "These are the generations of Shem."

    Tablet six (Gen. 11:10b-11:27a) is comparatively brief, and is entitled simply "Shem." It contains the genealogical list of Terah, an mentions his death, along with the fact that Nahor lived on until Abraham was seventy-five years old. If the reference in Genesis 11:26, which recorded the age of Terah, was actually a scribal attempt at dating, the according to the Samaritan Pentateuch it was written just one year after the last chronological event mentioned in it, namely the death of Nahor. The repetition of "Abram, Nahor, and Haran" before and after the colophon formula indicates that the phrase constitutes a catch-line, and conforms to the usual scribal procedure of repeating the first words of the subsequent tablet after the last line of its precursor.

    Tablets six and seven are thus linked in series, with the latter (Gen. 11:27b-25:12) forming a lengthy account of the life of Abraham and concluding with his death. The title of the tablet is apparently "Abram, Nahor, and Haran," and the text can presumably be dated by the reference to Isaac dwelling at Beer-lahai-roi (Gen. 25:11). These family histories were evidently in the possession of Ishmael, brother of Isaac, and seem to be closely linked with the brief contents of Tablet eight (Gen. 25:13-25:19a), as indicated by the colophon. The events recorded in Tablets seven and eight ceased just prior to the death of Isaac, who was mentioned either as the possible writer or else as the owner of the tablets. He survived Ishmael by some fifty-seven years, according to the text, and presumably came into possession of the family records on the death of his brother.

    The title of Tablet nine (Gen. 25:19b-36:1) is apparently "Abraham begat Isaac," and the narrative content deals at length with the relationship between Jacob and Esau, and with subsequent events in the life of Jacob up to the death of Isaac. Possibly the reference to his interment constitutes a scribal attempt at dating, but whether this was actually the case or not, the histories were clearly of Edomite origin, as the explanatory gloss in Genesis 36:1 would indicate. Tablet nine was followed closely by Tablet ten (Gen. 36:2-36:9), a fragmentary record also from Edomite sources and dealing with the descent of Esau. There is little doubt that Pfeiffer was correct in postulating the existence of a "South" or "Seir" source in Genesis," but owing to his improper methodological approach to the literary problems of Genesis he was only able to isolate a few relevant fragments, and he included in his S1 and S2 much that had no connection whatever with Mount Seir.
    Quite evidently Tablets nine and ten belonged to such a "source," as did the final text, Tablet eleven (Gen. 36:10-37:2), part of which Pfeiffer attributed to S. Genesis 36:31, placed at the commencement of a list of Edomite kings, is obviously a post-Mosaic editorial or scribal comment. It could only have been written at a time when Israel had a king, since it is not a theoretical anticipation of the possibility of kingship, as in Deuteronomy 17:14ff, but evidently originates in the reality of an Israelite kingdom. As such it may well represent editorial activity on the part of the prophet Samuel. Immediately before the colophon in Genesis 37:2 is the statement that Jacob was living in the land of Canaan, and this can be taken as evidence for the time and place of the composition of Tablet eleven. Within a few years Jacob had moved into the land of Egypt, but this reference points to his place of abode when his historical record was closed. Jacob bad obviously returned to the south country and taken up his residence in Hebron, where his father Isaac was living.

    It can hardly be mere coincidence that the material discussed so far has been preserved in so characteristically an ancient Near East fashion. As with all similar ancient literature, these tablets constitute highly valuable sources for the delineation of patriarchal origins, and it i a testimony to their antiquity and to the esteem in which they were held that they have survived in the Hebrew text in something which in al probability approximates to their original form, a circumstance that makes it possible for them to be recovered by means of the application of an accredited methodology. Precisely who was responsible for editing this material is, of course, unknown, but since another such tablet can be recovered from the text of Numbers (perhaps Num. 1:1-3:1), it seem legitimate to suppose that the redactional activity was by and large the work of Moses.
    In view of the overwhelming support given by Near Eastern literary traditions for the recovery of such clearly indicated underlying sources, it can only be a matter of considerable regret that some eminent orientalists have refused to follow the course indicated by the facts in their translations of Genesis. Thus T. J. Meek rendered toledot in Genesis 2: by the expression, "the following are the origins of the heavens," thus completely misunderstanding the significance of the original. In the same manner E. A. Speiser treated the colophon of Genesis 5:1 as though it were a heading. While this may have been due in part in his translation to sheer considerations of format, it still remains the case that the reader would have no inkling whatever of the real character of the constituent source, being invited instead to relate the composition o Genesis to the outworn traditions of the literary-critical school. Like other thoroughgoing advocates of the Wellhausenian position, Speiser could hardly be expected to adopt a format that would belie his convictions with regard to the origin and nature of the Pentateuchal writings Meek, however, was in an entirely different category, since he consistently professed independence of any given literary-analytical scheme. It can only be concluded, therefore, that be was either unaware of the significance of the evidence, or else that he, like many other scholars, refused to go where the facts of the matter led.

    2. The Joseph narratives. The remainder of Genesis deals with the Joseph narratives (Gen. 37:2b-50:26), the Egyptian background of which has been so well attested by scholars as to make further comment unnecessary. Most probably this material was still in oral form when Moses was alive, and it may be that it was he who reduced it to writing in magnificent literary Hebrew. Quite possibly Moses was responsible for substituting leather for the Amarna Age tablet-form vehicle of communication.16 In this general connection it should be noted that whereas in certain instances in the Pentateuch Moses was directed to inscribe the divine revelation upon durable material such as stone (Exod. 34:28), it is probable that the more durable leather came to be employed at this period by the Hebrews as writing material in general preference to papyrus, used extensively in all periods of Egyptian history. Quite aside from the Jewish tradition that the Torah should always be written upon leather, since this was apparently the original material vehicle of its transmission, the passage in Numbers 5:23f. only makes the fullest sense if leather was the material which the people were using at that time.

    If it is correct to assume that the major part of Genesis was transmitted by means of cuneiform tablets, it is comparatively easy to imagine the process by which it was ultimately compiled, given the existence of a Joseph story comparable to the Tale of Sinuhe, whether it was a written Egyptian document or an oral Hebrew tradition." A person such as Moses would have been eminently suited to the task o' assembling ancient records and transcribing them in edited form as a continuous record on a leather or papyrus roll. Given this basic-document, it would be well within the realm of possibility to envisage the activity of later generations in matters of textual revision, the incorporating of marginal comments, or the bringing up to date of certain chronological material (e.g. Gen. 36). For while it is important to affirm the general literary fixity of the material as a whole, it is also necessary to allow sufficient freedom for accredited scribal activity to operate in a customary manner at later stages, in consonance with the traditions evident in ancient Near Eastern literary sources.

    [last two paragraphs in the next post. This one could not handle the whole thing!]
     
  9. Helen

    Helen
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    There can be no real question as to the immense antiquity of the source material that is to be found in Genesis. Evidence for this includes the large number of Babylonian words that occur in the earlier part of the book, the topographical references, such as those relating to Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 10:19),19 and the number of glosses required to bring ancient names up to date (e.g. Gen. 14:2, 3, 7, 8, 15, 17; 16:14; 23:2; 35:19). Primitive geographical expressions such as the "south country" (Gen. 20:1; 24:62) and the "east country" (Gen. 25:6), which were used in the days of Abraham, never recurred in the Old Testament narratives as a description of the countries adjoining the south and east of Palestine, since these regions subsequently acquired familiar an well-defined designations. Archaeological discoveries at Mari, Nuz Boghazk6y, and elsewhere have been of particular value in furnish in abundant literary materials for an understanding of the narratives concerning the Hebrew patriarchs and the conditions of life that existed i Palestine and Egypt during the Amarna Age and the Hyksos periods .

    By definition Genesis is the Book of Origins, the great introduction to the drama of human redemption. The prologue is cast in universal term suitable to the subject-matter, and depicts the creative activity of God fashioning the cosmos and placing man upon the earth. The universality of sin is depicted, along with the fact that, as rebellion against God, it must always stand under divine judgment, a situation exemplified by the account of the Deluge. The rise of Abraham, the first of the two major emphases of the Pentateuchal writings, is associated with covenantal relationships, and the stage is thus set for the occurrence of the second great concern of the Torah, namely the deliverance of Israel from Egypt in the dramatic event of the Exodus.
    --R. K. Harrison, Prof. of Old Testament, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, Introduction to the Old Testament, Eerdsmans, 1969. pp542-553.
     
  10. Chris Temple

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by baylor52279:
    I know there are many differeing views on who wrote the first five books in the OT. I persoanlly ascribe to the JEPD view. Any thoughts?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Mark 12:26 (ESV)
    And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, 'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'?

    Luke 16:29-31 (ESV)
    But Abraham said, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.' [30] And he said, 'No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' [31] He said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.' "

    Luke 24:27 (ESV)
    And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

    John 5:45-46 (ESV)
    Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. [46] If you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.

    Let's see ... Do I believe someone from Baylor, or Jesus Christ?

    It's a no-brainer. :rolleyes:

    [ January 01, 2002: Message edited by: Chris Temple ]
     
  11. jpbrooks

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    I would like to know if biblical skeptics have any actual historical or archeological evidence at all to support any (alternative) claim that the Torah and its concept of a supernatural God derived simply from stories (e.g., "myths") that were created by people not mentioned in the bible.
    I have heard some skeptics claim that the first books of the Old Testament were obtained by borrowing and expanding on the religious mythologies of the societies that surrounded the ancient Hebrews.

    BTW, I suspect that that claim is false. Is there historical evidence to disconfirm that skeptical claim?

    [ January 02, 2002: Message edited by: jpbrooks ]
     
  12. BWSmith

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    Helen, brevity is the source of wit.

    I'm not responding to long-winded, cut-and-paste jobs. If you have a point to make, summarize it. If you must point to all this stuff to make your point, get a free website from Geocities, make a page with all this stuff, and pass us a link to it.

    Moderators, are there not any rules against this kind of thing?
     
  13. BWSmith

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    Temple, nowhere in the passages you have cited does Jesus verify that Moses wrote the Torah. He refers to them by their common name, "the Books of Moses" and indicates that Moses wrote "something", and that is all.
     
  14. BWSmith

    BWSmith
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    jpbrooks wrote:
    &gt; I would like to know if biblical skeptics have any actual historical or archeological evidence at all to support any (alternative) claim that the Torah and its concept of a supernatural God derived simply from stories (e.g., "myths") that were created by people not mentioned in the bible. I have heard some skeptics claim that the first books of the Old Testament were obtained by borrowing and expanding on the religious mythologies of the societies that surrounded the ancient Hebrews. BTW, I suspect that that claim is false. Is there historical evidence to disconfirm that skeptical claim?

    I have never heard anyone reputable claim that the entire Torah was obtained from borrowing near-east mythologies.

    Gen 1-11 and the birth of Moses are the only sections that parallel near-east mythology, and the writers of Genesis and Exodus likely used existing oral traditions already present in Israel's culture. They may have been written as polemic against the near-eastern mythologies, but they are distinct enough to have their own pre-literary history in monotheism. Any borrowing necessarily occurred in the oral stage.
     
  15. Helen

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    BW, I have watched your posts for a long time on this. What I posted there was not supposed to be witty. It was documented evidence by scholars in the field that Genesis is a series of eyewitness accounts.

    It took awhile to get all that together as it was not simply a cut and paste job.

    However you are free to ignore the evidence and go your own way on this they way you have before.

    The reason Genesis and some of the mythologies have similarities is because they all remember the same key events. However what makes mythologies mythologies is that mythological elements were added. Genesis is the straight stuff from the eyewitnesses. If you take the time to read what I put down for you above, you will see the evidence for that.

    Genesis is for real. The first eleven chapters, too.

    God is trustworthy with His Word. He's not in the business of fooling people with borrowed myths.
     
  16. BWSmith

    BWSmith
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    Helen wrote:
    &gt; BW, I have watched your posts for a long time on this. What I posted there was not supposed to be witty.

    It's a shame that you don't recognize Shakespeare when you see it.

    &gt; It was documented evidence by scholars in the field that Genesis is a series of eyewitness accounts. It took awhile to get all that together as it was not simply a cut and paste job.

    I don't care how long it took you to put that together. It's length goes beyond what is appropriate for this format.

    &gt; However you are free to ignore the evidence and go your own way on this they way you have before.

    It's your responsibility to present your argument within a reasonable frame of length. That's not ignoring evidence on my part, but ignoring an attempt to obfuscate the subject by posting a glut of bytes and challenging us to digest it or you win.

    &gt; The reason Genesis and some of the mythologies have similarities is because they all remember the same key events.

    Like the chief god splitting open the chaos-ocean and carving out a flat-earth from it?

    &gt; However what makes mythologies mythologies is that mythological elements were added.

    Like a raqia (firmament) or a tehom (deep) or a tannin (sea monster)?

    &gt; Genesis is the straight stuff from the eyewitnesses.

    Did God create the eyewitnesses before the first day?

    &gt; If you take the time to read what I put down for you above, you will see the evidence for that. Genesis is for real. The first eleven chapters, too.

    Get it down to a reasonable length or no one will read it.

    &gt; God is trustworthy with His Word.

    Which has nothing to do with the Bible, which was written by man.

    &gt; He's not in the business of fooling people with borrowed myths.

    Myth is a vehicle of truth, unless you are a literalist who can't digest a symbolic account.

    If God had detailed the creation in correct terms, Gen 1 would be longer than your posts. Thank God the writers of Gen 1 are better than you are at discerning how best to present the truth.
     
  17. DocCas

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by BWSmith:
    Helen, brevity is the source of wit.

    I'm not responding to long-winded, cut-and-paste jobs. If you have a point to make, summarize it. If you must point to all this stuff to make your point, get a free website from Geocities, make a page with all this stuff, and pass us a link to it.

    Moderators, are there not any rules against this kind of thing?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Translation: Helen has so destroyed my argument that I can not offer any counter argument so I will get huffy instead. :D
     
  18. Helen

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    BW, neither real life nor real research comes in quick half-hour segments with time for commercial breaks.

    You want it short, sweet, and non-referenced? OK -- there is a plethora of evidence both internal and external to the Bible that Genesis is a series of eyewitness accounts. The first eyewitness was God, as mentioned in the above posts. The accounts were not oral, but written starting with Adam himself who signed off in Genesis 5:1 stating that his was a written account.

    The research into this started with Wiseman in the thirties when he realized that the earliest tablets we have from the Middle East are written in the exact format used in Genesis, a format which was changed very soon after -- this marks Genesis as an extremely early series of documents.

    The work has been read, analyzed, and agreed to by some of the top Old Testament scholars and professors of the day.

    In the meantime, the JEDP ideas have been shown so chronically wrong so many times that it is an embarrassment that they are still around.

    That's all for this segment, folks. Come back after the commercial break and we will show you how to bake Basque Shepherd's Bread. You will not want to miss it!
     
  19. BWSmith

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    Thomas wrote:
    &gt; Translation: Helen has so destroyed my argument that I can not offer any counter argument so I will get huffy instead.

    Cute. Thanks for pretending to moderate a discussion.
     
  20. Chris Temple

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by BWSmith:
    Temple, nowhere in the passages you have cited does Jesus verify that Moses wrote the Torah. He refers to them by their common name, "the Books of Moses" and indicates that Moses wrote "something", and that is all.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Right - so Jesus just played along with the "lie" the Jews believed, that the Torah was Mosaic. Kinda an inside joke ;) between the Father and Son, I guess :rolleyes:
     

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