Pentateuch

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The '''Pentateuch''' is the name for the first five books of the [[Old Testament]]: [[Genesis]], [[Exodus]], [[Leviticus]], [[Numbers]] and [[Deuteronomy]]. According to tradition, the Pentateuch was written by [[Moses]], though almost all serious Biblical scholars dispute this claim. [[Christian]]s and [[Jew]]s claim that [[Moses]] wrote them [http://ohr.edu/judaism/survey/survey1.htm]  though this is unlikely.
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{{wikipedia}}
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{{sab|http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/pentateuch.html|Who wrote the Pentateuch?}}
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The '''Pentateuch''', sometimes referred to as the '''Torah''' is a central religious text of [[Judaism]] and a significant part of the [[Christianity|Christian]] [[Bible]]. While historically considered a single document, <ref name="hub"/> in modern times it is divided into five books: [[Genesis]], [[Exodus]], [[Leviticus]], [[Numbers]] and [[Deuteronomy]].
  
In the 18th Century [[Thomas Paine]] understood it.  <blockquote>In the first place, there is no affirmative evidence that Moses is the author of those books; and that he is the author, is altogether an unfounded opinion, got abroad nobody knows how. The style and manner in which those books are written give no room to believe, or even to suppose, they were written by Moses; for it is altogether the style and manner of another person speaking of Moses. In Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers, (for every thing in [[Genesis]] is prior to the times of Moses and not the least allusion is made to him therein,) the whole, I say, of these books is in the third person; it is always, the Lord said unto Moses, or Moses said unto the Lord; or Moses said unto the people, or the people said unto Moses; and this is the style and manner that historians use in speaking of the person whose lives and actions they are writing. It may be said, that a man may speak of himself in the third person, and, therefore, it may be supposed that Moses did; but supposition proves nothing; and if the advocates for the belief that Moses wrote those books himself have nothing better to advance than supposition, they may as well be silent. [http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/thomas_paine/age_of_reason/part2.html]</blockquote>
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==Authorship==
  
In the book of Numbers [[Moses]] is described as the meekest of men, which would be arrogant if he wrote that himself.
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In the 20th century, the most popular theory of authorship, known as the [[Documentary Hypothesis]], thought there were four or five main authors of the Pentateuch, working over several centuries. More recently, several other theories have challenged this view.
  
{{Christianity}}
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According to tradition, the Pentateuch was written by [[Moses]], <ref>[http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_tora.htm]</ref> though almost all serious Biblical scholars dispute this claim. <ref name="hub">[http://biblehub.com/library/gladden/who_wrote_the_bible/chapter_ii_what_did_moses.htm]</ref> However, Moses was probably a fictional character and the Pentateuch had many authors over a significant length of time.
  
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{{quote|Moses was the human author of Genesis and the other books of the Pentateuch ...These five 'books of the law' were written by Moses alone, with the exception of {{Bible|Deuteronomy 34}}, which records the death of Moses... The Pentateuch, therefore, is an inspired, inerrant, authoritative document written by the man Moses. <ref>P. N. Benware, ''Survey of the Old Testament- Everyman's Bible Commentary'', 2001</ref>}}
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In the 18th century, [[Thomas Paine]] argued that Moses was probably not the author because: <ref name="paine"/>
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* Moses is not mentioned prior to the time of Moses,
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* Moses is discussed in the third person.
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{{quote|It may be said, that a man may speak of himself in the third person, and, therefore, it may be supposed that Moses did; but supposition proves nothing; and if the advocates for the belief that Moses wrote those books himself have nothing better to advance than supposition, they may as well be silent. <ref name="paine">[http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/thomas_paine/age_of_reason/part2.html]</ref>.}}
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Other reasons that Moses could not have been the author:
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* The Torah describes many events and places which did not exist until after Moses died.  It also describes his death.
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* {{bible|Numbers 12:3}} says, "Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth." If Moses were that humble, it is unlikely that he would have described himself in these glowing terms.
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===Documentary hypothesis===
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{{main article|Documentary hypothesis}}
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Most scholars in the 20th century subscribe to the "[[Documentary Hypothesis]]," which asserts that the Pentateuch was written by a group of four authors, from various locations in [[Palestine]], over a period of centuries. <ref>Evid3nc3, [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZY2eeozdo8 Atheism - A History of God (The Polytheistic Origins of Christianity and Judaism)]</ref> Each wrote with the goal of promoting his/her own religious views:
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* '''J''': a writer who used [[JHWH]] as the "unpronounceable name of God." It is often translated as Jehovah.
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* '''E''': a writer who used Elohim as the divine name.
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* '''D''': the author of the book of [[Deuteronomy]].
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* '''P''': a writer who added material of major interest to the priesthood.
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Finally, a fifth individual was involved:
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* '''R''': a redactor who shaped the contributions of J, E, P and D together into the present Pentateuch.
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==References==
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<references>
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{{Religion}}
 
[[Category:Bible]]
 
[[Category:Bible]]

Latest revision as of 02:03, 29 April 2015

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For more information, see the Wikipedia article:
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For more information, see the Skeptic's Annotated Bible article:

The Pentateuch, sometimes referred to as the Torah is a central religious text of Judaism and a significant part of the Christian Bible. While historically considered a single document, [1] in modern times it is divided into five books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

Authorship

In the 20th century, the most popular theory of authorship, known as the Documentary Hypothesis, thought there were four or five main authors of the Pentateuch, working over several centuries. More recently, several other theories have challenged this view.

According to tradition, the Pentateuch was written by Moses, [2] though almost all serious Biblical scholars dispute this claim. [1] However, Moses was probably a fictional character and the Pentateuch had many authors over a significant length of time.

"Moses was the human author of Genesis and the other books of the Pentateuch ...These five 'books of the law' were written by Moses alone, with the exception of Deuteronomy 34 Bible-icon.png, which records the death of Moses... The Pentateuch, therefore, is an inspired, inerrant, authoritative document written by the man Moses. [3]"

In the 18th century, Thomas Paine argued that Moses was probably not the author because: [4]

  • Moses is not mentioned prior to the time of Moses,
  • Moses is discussed in the third person.
"It may be said, that a man may speak of himself in the third person, and, therefore, it may be supposed that Moses did; but supposition proves nothing; and if the advocates for the belief that Moses wrote those books himself have nothing better to advance than supposition, they may as well be silent. [4]."

Other reasons that Moses could not have been the author:

  • The Torah describes many events and places which did not exist until after Moses died. It also describes his death.
  • Numbers 12:3 Bible-icon.png says, "Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth." If Moses were that humble, it is unlikely that he would have described himself in these glowing terms.

Documentary hypothesis

Main Article: Documentary hypothesis

Most scholars in the 20th century subscribe to the "Documentary Hypothesis," which asserts that the Pentateuch was written by a group of four authors, from various locations in Palestine, over a period of centuries. [5] Each wrote with the goal of promoting his/her own religious views:

  • J: a writer who used JHWH as the "unpronounceable name of God." It is often translated as Jehovah.
  • E: a writer who used Elohim as the divine name.
  • D: the author of the book of Deuteronomy.
  • P: a writer who added material of major interest to the priesthood.

Finally, a fifth individual was involved:

  • R: a redactor who shaped the contributions of J, E, P and D together into the present Pentateuch.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 [1]
  2. [2]
  3. P. N. Benware, Survey of the Old Testament- Everyman's Bible Commentary, 2001
  4. 4.0 4.1 [3]
  5. Evid3nc3, Atheism - A History of God (The Polytheistic Origins of Christianity and Judaism)
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