Study notes: Who wrote the books of Moses?

A balanced and informative introduction to why biblical scholars consider that Moses did not write the Pentateuch, the ‘five books of Moses’.

Pondering Islam

My study notes on Chapter 6 of ‘The Old Testament: An Introduction to the Hebrew Bible’ by Stephen Harris and Robert Platzner.

Introduction

Traditionally, the Pentateuch, or the five books of Moses, have been understood by Orthodox Jews to be the authored by Moses (this understanding of the bible is called Mosaic authorship). This view was accepted by scholars up until around 250 years ago, when new theories on the authorship of these five books (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Numbers) were proposed. To this day, the Documentary Hypothesis remains the most prominent. Its broad outline is accepted by most biblical scholars to this date.

The traditional view of Mosaic authorship is based on several verses of the Pentateuch. Exodus 17:14, 24:4 and 34:27-28 depict Moses writing down commands of God at various instances. In Deuteronomy 31:24, Moses is said to have written the “words of this Law to…

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Categories: Islam

2 replies

  1. I was pretty sure that theory is all but abandoned by most Old Testament scholars. Source hypotheses almost always alter and change as each generation comes and goes, since in reality, they are not much more than unfounded academic guesses.

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