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Featured Jesus and the Books of Moses

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by rlvaughn, Jul 5, 2017.

  1. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    In the topic The Flat Earth myth and the Bible we took a temporary trail of discussion about whether Moses wrote the Pentateuch. I though it might be worthy of its own thread. I'll start.

    There are several lines of internal biblical evidence that Moses is the author of the first five books of the Bible. The Pentateuch itself testifies to Moses as its author. The rest of the Old Testament also testifies to Moses as the author of the Pentateuch. Statements in the New Testament confirm Moses as the author of the Pentateuch.

    Perhaps the strongest evidence is that Jesus Christ, the criterion by which the Bible is interpreted, provides us with his testimony.
     
  2. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member
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    I've got a list of these at home.
    Here are a few problems can recall:
    • Moses' death recorded at the end of Deuteronomy (easily dealt with, really no problem at all)
    • Moses is often referred to in the 3rd person
    • Multiple insertions into the text; "At that time the Canaanites were in the land" (Genesis 12:6), "before a king ruled over the Israelites" (Genesis 36:31)
    • The Edomite kings of Genesis 36 were after Moses time.
    • Philistines entered the land of Canaan after Moses
    • In Numbers we find the phrase, “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.”
    • In Deuteronomy we find the phrase, "There never arose another prophet in Israel like Moses.”
    • Hebrew writing was archaic even during David’s time – the text includes Aramaic words.
    Rob
     
  3. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    How do you see the problems in relation to Jesus's witness to Mosaic authorship?
    Agreed. Probably most common idea is that the record of Moses's death was written by Joshua. The miracle of inspiration can easily include things prophetic. Moses could have, by inspiration, written of his own death. I don't think most people who argue that a few editorial inclusions would negate Moses's authorship (or be troubled by it), and the spirit of prophecy can explain certain things would not have known otherwise.
    I don't see this as any difficult problem myself. Authors can and often do write of themselves in the 3rd person.
    Re Genesis 12:6, I guess I've never picked up on this as being an insertion, but just a description of who was there when Abram came. But if an inspired editorial insertion it would negate not Moses's authorship. Re Genesis 36:31. If Moses wrote these books, he would have been aware that God told Abraham and Jacob that kings would come from them (Genesis 17:6; Genesis 35:11), and he himself prophesied of that very thing in Deuteronomy 17:14–20.
    Maybe someone has or thinks they have figured this historically, but I'm not sure I agree.
    Not sure about this either. Genesis indicates Abraham and Isaac came into contact with them in this land.
    Yes, many think an humble man could not have written this, but the product of inspiration insures he writes what God wants rather than what he wants.
    Interesting that this phrase is included in a book that has a strong claim to Mosaic authorship. I think this has been explained by many as inspired editorial, but the spirit of prophecy could also reveal this fact.
    I'll defer to someone more knowledgeable regarding the Hebrew language on this one, but it would be nice if you tease out the meaning of this a bit.

    It seems a lot of the objections are encompassed in the ideas that the Pentateuch contains information Moses could not have known and that details from times later than Moses are inserted into the writing (especially in the book of Genesis). I don't see these as insurmountable as ascribing fault to Jesus's understanding of the authorship of the Pentateuch.
     
    #3 rlvaughn, Jul 5, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2017
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  4. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Did Jesus view Moses as its author? if yes, than done deal!
     
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  5. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    It is self-evident that Moses did not write Chapter 34 which concerns his death. That does not mean that he did not write the rest of it. Matthew Henry died before he finished his commentary, and it was completed and prepared for the press by others. That doesn't prevent it from being his commentary. I seem to recall that Charles Dickens' last book, The mystery of Edwin Drood, was unfinished at his death and completed by others. The book is still credited to him.
     
  6. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member
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    ...the nature of the composition of the Pentateuch is similar to that of the books of Samuel and Kings, as well as the Gospels. Moses used written texts that he gathered from various sources and provided them with commentary, much like a modern producer of a documentary film.
    John H. Sailhamer, The Meaning of the Pentateuch: Revelation, Composition, and Interpretation (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2009), 207.

    Memory techniques such as repetition, formulas and patterns helped those that recited the message to organize and preserve its narrative. Because oral renderings were relied upon and because the writings were fragile and not readily available, they were not consulted often and they were almost lost (2 Kings 22).

    Over the years, the meaning of passages became unclear, revisions and expansions (commentary) was needed; explanations were needed to make the message more understandable to its listeners.
    Language, writing, culture developed and changed, names of towns and cities changed, adversaries and foes changed; God’s Word needed explanation (Nehemiah 8:1-9).

    Observe how our English translations change and gander at the ‘NASV’… the New Anglo-Saxon Version. That’s only a 1000 years of change.

    The late John Sailhamer, a conservative theologian, in his book, The Meaning of the Pentateuch, looked at the evidence of change and writes:

    In its view of the shaping of the Mosaic Pentateuch, the compositional approach does not differ significantly from the classical evangelical view. It sees an original Mosaic Pentateuch with several important post-Mosaic additions. Where the compositional view differs from the classical view is in its attempt to point to meaningful interrelationships between the Mosaic Pentateuch (“1.0” version) and the canonical Pentateuch (“2.0” version). The present canonical Pentateuch is the same Pentateuch as the Mosaic one, though it is a more recent edition of that Pentateuch and has been refitted (retrofitted) with new “prophetic extras” designed with its new canonical environment in mind. The new Pentateuch interfaces with the rest of the OT canon. It is intertextual and front-loaded with connectivity to the rest of Scripture.
    John H. Sailhamer, The Meaning of the Pentateuch: Revelation, Composition, and Interpretation (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2009), 203–204.

    Rob
     
    #6 Deacon, Jul 5, 2017
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  7. Greektim

    Greektim Well-Known Member

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    I love Sailhamer, but his views will have a hard time finding acceptance around simplistic thinking. I think a big error in OT studies is to think the books of the OT were penned the same way as the NT. OT books developed over time and show traces of compilation and editing. It is hard to talk about the "original manuscript" of an OT book b/c it just didn't come to be that way. What is more, and as Sailhamer noted, a book didn't really come into its full theological significance until it was part of its canonical whole. The ordering of the Hebrew Bible is more than a reading strategy, it was a pre-cross theology.
     
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  8. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    I'll freely acknowledge my spot among simple simplistic thinking, but I think to assume all disagreement with Sailhamer arises from such thinking assumes too much. James M. Hamilton Jr. of Southern Baptist Seminary, Louisville, has a pretty interesting review of the book, in which he looks at "points of appreciation, puzzlement, and disagreement."
    John Sailhamer’s The Meaning of the Pentateuch: A Review Essay
    Based on Deacon's excerpt above from Sailhamer, page 207, it seems Sailhamer thinks some of the NT was penned in the same way as the OT -- developed from various sources over time.
     
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  9. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member
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    He'd be referring to the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) that show common passages, often word for word similarities.

    Rob
     
  10. Aaron

    Aaron Member
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    Without the advent of the now debunked Documentary Hypothesis, Moses' authorship would not be in doubt. I had to go back to a volume on my shelves, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction by Gleason Archer whose scholarship on the Old Testament is eminent. He concludes that "modern theories which reject Mosaic authorship put more of a strain upon human credulity than can reasonably be borne".

    The evidences Archer cited are too numerous to fully cite here, but I want to highlight some that seem more dramatic to me (other than the direct witness of the Scriptures.)

    1. Eyewitness details appear in the account of Exodus which suggest an actual participant in the events, but which would be altogether beyond the ken of an author who lived centuries after the event.

    2. The author of Genesis and Exodus shows a thorough acquaintance with Egypt, as one would expect of a participant in the Exodus. He is familiar with Egyptian names . . . [and] also uses a greater percentage of Egyptian words than elsewhere in the Old Testament.

    3. The author of the Torah shows a consistently foreign or extra-Palestinian viewpoint so far as Canaan is concerned. [Descriptions of flora, fauna and the weather are Egyptian or Sinaitic.]

    4. Both Egypt and Sinai are very familiar to the author from the standpoint of geography.

    5. The atmosphere of Exodus through Numbers is unmistakably that of the desert, not of an agricultural people setteled in their ancestral possessions for nearly a thousand years (as Wesllhausen supposed.)

    6. There are significant archaisms in language, as well.

    If you want a more detailed discussion of these points, buy the book. :)
     
  11. Aaron

    Aaron Member
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    But this thread is about Jesus and the Books of Moses. There can be no doubt, unless one doubts the Evangelists, that Jesus attributed the authorship of the Pentateuch to Moses.

    To debate that, one must cast doubt on the reliability of the manuscripts, and the characteristic shallowness and unreliability of the living epistles of this age make that an easy task.
     
  12. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Some of this material by Gleason L. Archer can be found online in What Evidence Proves Moses Wrote the First Five Books of the Bible?
    I certainly didn't intend to limit the discussion to only that -- but for those of us who receive Jesus Christ as the eternal Lord and Saviour who was the Rock in a weary land with Moses and the children of Israel, his "opinion" on who wrote these books ought to carry some weight!!
     
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  13. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    The Lord was in the editing process though, as he guided them into their final canonical state, correct?
     
  14. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Joshua editing that into the final text would still make it inspired text.
     
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  15. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Jesus Himself assumed/knew that Moses had penned all of the first 5 books, so that makes it a done deal as to authorship!
     
  16. Greektim

    Greektim Well-Known Member

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    I use the terminology of "primary author" as in Moses was the primary author. There are clear marks of editing activity. But that doesn't make it less inspired. It simply acknowledges that the text (and the OT) was a development not a moment.
     
  17. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer Well-Known Member
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    Was Jesus asked if Moses wrote the Pentateuch? Nope. Instead, he referenced the writings ascribed to Moses in making His points, or mentioned things that Moses did that were recorded in the Pentateuch.

    That's different from making a claim from the authority of Jesus that Moses wrote the Pentateuch.

    My view is that Moses - the leader of the children of Israel - had people "officially" and unofficially recording the experiences of the journey out of Egypt into the Promised Land. Those materials were preserved, as well as the stories of the events that were told and retold, and then, eventually, everything that compiled together. Does that mean that Moses wrote every word? Not at all. But the writings were created under the leadership of Moses and eventually assembled and edited to create the history of the Hebrew people. It would be entirely appropriate to refer to those documents are the writings of Moses (as literally the words of Moses and also the writings of the time of Moses). That would mean that the extensive evidence of editing and various sources and styles should be expected.
     
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  18. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    The original books were to a large extent though written down by Moses before He died, correct?
     
  19. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Yes, and I think that you and I agree that by editing we so not see it as liberals do with Moses name only attached to it by 4 various editors, at different times, centuries after it all happened!
     
  20. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer Well-Known Member
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    I'm sure a sizeable portion was recorded during the lifetime of Moses, but some was obviously written after his death. We don't know enough to make specific claims about it.
     
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