The Author(s) of the Torah?

The history of the Bible begins with Moses. Revered by all three of the Abrahamic Religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam Moses was not only a figure of great historic importance for not only his deeds but also his record of the events that frame the story of a culture, a nation, and all humanity. Tradition holds that the first five books of the Old Testament, the Torah or Pentateuch, were written by the patriarch Moses sometime between 1440-1400 BC. This though, like so much else in regard to the Bible, isn’t without its critics.

And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend…” –  Exodus 33:11-

One of the most common objections to the Mosaic authorship comes with the notion that the Torah was in fact written by several individuals, not Moses himself. Conceived amongst the turmoil of the French Revolution, the idea saw its first inception borne from details of the Creation account of Genesis, where the physician Jean Astruc alleged that that phenomenal event was recorded as two separate accounts; Genesis Chapters 1 & 2 respectively. Building upon this initial doubt, Julius Wellhausen – a German writer – developed the notion that the first five books of the Old Testament were not written by Moses, nor a simple pair of writers as alleged by Astruc, but rather by no less than four individuals, their works – seeing their advent at a far later time than the day of Moses himself – ultimately becoming the Torah as we know it. Wellhausen’s notion became known as “the Documentary Hypothesis.”

Though the Documentary Hypothesis found a relatively stable following among liberal scholars over the years, it has essentially been discredited through good research. Historically, there simply is no valid reason to trust the assertions of the Documentary Hypothesis. Furthermore, for the Christian, we can place our faith in the words of Christ Himself, who  – by referencing the authorship of Moses in his review of the Old Testament by way of a seven-mile Bible study – undoubtedly confirmed that Patriarch’s role in the Torah’s composition:

And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” – Luke 24:27

All considered, we thus will part ways with the “Documentary Hypothesis” here. Much has been written elsewhere about it, good scholarship has decimated it, history has abandoned it, and Christ Himself denied it any validity. Moses, it seems certain, was responsible for the Torah. He had a role in the formulation of Genesis, and he wrote the great majority of the rest of the Torah. (The only portion in question concerns his death in Deuteronomy, Chapter 34, which either he wrote prophetically prior to the event in question or otherwise it was recorded by his successor, Joshua )  Even so, critics still cling desperately to other objections.

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