So Nimm Denn Meine Hande...

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Mosaic Authorship of the Pentateuch

There has been a question raised about the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch. So, to prevent any doubt, I figured I'd throw this on the main page and not somewhere hidden away in the comments. Here is why I believe that Moses wrote the Pentateuch:

1. Who does the Torah ascribe the authorship of the Torah to?


- “Moses wrote all the words of Jehovah” (Exodus 24:4).

- “Jehovah said unto Moses, ‘Write thou these words...’ ” (Exodus 34:27).

- “Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys by the commandment of Jehovah” (Numbers 33:2).

- “Moses wrote this law and delivered it unto the priests...” (Deuteronomy 31:9).

o (So, during the Israelites’ time in the wilderness, Moses was writing down, in a book, their history and the revelations of God.)

2. Who does the Old Testament ascribe the authorship of the Torah to?


- “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.” (Joshua 1:7-8)

- “There, in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua copied on stones the law of Moses, which he had written” (Joshua 8:32)

- “Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the law of Jehovah given by Moses” (2 Chronicles 34:14)

- “And they installed the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their groups for the service of God at Jerusalem, according to what is written in the Book of Moses.” (Ezra 6:18)

- “…Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you.” (Daniel 9:11)

- "Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel.” (Malachi 4:4)

o (By the time Moses had died, Joshua had a book that Moses had given him. Joshua made copies of said book and Joshua occasionally added to that book [Joshua 24:26]. The book that was written and passed down from Moses became known as the Torah, or the Pentateuch.)

3. Who does Jesus Christ ascribe the authorship of the Torah to?


- “And beginning from Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27)

- “For if ye believed Moses, ye would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” (John 5:46-47)

o (Jesus consistently quotes “the law of Moses” as well, with absolutely no hint of doubt in either its authorship or authority. Nobody challenged Jesus’ understandings of the authorship of the Torah either.)

4. Who do the Apostles ascribe the authorship of the Torah to?


- “The law was given through Moses” (John 1:17)

- “For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, ‘The man who does those things shall live by them’ ” (Romans 10:5)

- “Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.” (2 Corinthians 3:15)

- “For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.” (Acts 15:21)

o (Every Apostle, and all their detractors, consistently show a total confidence in the Mosaic authorship of the Pentaetuch; they quote it in a ‘matter of fact’ way, with no hint of authorial doubt. Beyond that, calling the Torah “Moses” is like talking about reading “Shakespeare”. It’s assumed that when one talks of “Shakespeare”, one is referring to his writings. Common figure of speech in both ancient and modern times.)

5. Who did the Pharisees and Sadducees ascribe the authorship of the Torah to?


- “Teacher, Moses wrote unto us, if a man’s brother die, and leave a wife behind him, and leave no child, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother” (Mark 12:19)

- Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" "What did Moses command you?" he replied. They said, "Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away." "It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law," Jesus replied. (Mark 10:2-5)

- Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?" (John 17:19) (Notice how none of Jesus’ opponents deny that question for it was a rhetorical question that everyone assumed!)

o (Essentially, everyone in the Bible assumed that Moses wrote the Pentateuch because, well, it appears that they actually believed that he did, and with good reason. It’s the consistent testimony of the entire Old Testament and is one thing that, to my knowledge, is uncontested for at least a thousand years after the death of Christ. When Christ quotes the Torah and says “Moses wrote”, not a single detractor of Christ’s replies “Woah! Woah! Woah! Hang on there! Let’s not assume this Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch! I believe that’s an archaic theory that has been overthrown by Hebraic Scholarship.” Not even close. Everyone in Jesus’ day assumed the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch)

So yeah…Moses wrote Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. It’s fairly clear from scripture and pretty hard to get around, though some people still question it. Then again, one can find people out there who doubt anything…I once found a webpage of some mathematician who believed that he lived in a space-time where there were 26 hours in a day and he had a few hundred pages of equations to show how he could go from ‘our’ universe of 24 hour days into ‘his’ universe. Unfortunately, the math was only a proof; the actual traveling to the other universe could only be done by him for reasons of some sort of cosmic, royal bloodline. HA! Until Next Time,

The Armchair Theologian


Blogger michael lewis said...

When I studied OT in college, this topic was approached and the various theories provided as to the authorship of the Pentateuch.

And I can understand from where those who deny the five books to Moses have form their premises.

Even my writing style has changed over the years as I have matured. So then, why shouldn't Moses have matured and improved or changed his writing style?

Let's simply apply Ockham's razor to this discussion and decide that Moses did author the Pentateuch.

10:18 PM


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