Thursday, September 13, 2007

Genesis: Authorship

Author: Moses (March 6, 1543 - March 6, 1423 BC)

Authorship: (Exodus 17:14; 24:7; 34:27; Deuteronomy 31:9, 24, 26; Joshua 1:7; 8:32; Daniel 9:11-13; Luke 16:29; 24:27; John 5:46-47; 7:19; Acts 7:22, 37-38; 26:22; Romans 10:19). Moses undoubtedly used older written sources, oral traditions, and direct revelation from God (Numbers 12:8) in composing Genesis. Trained by the best universities in the world in Egypt (Acts 7:22), Moses organized and wrote this book.

In the modern period, critics developed the JEDP theory, suggesting that the Torah came from four separate periods of Israel’s history and were woven together during the time of Ezra. Particularly in Genesis, stories which seem to be duplicated (eg., “two” creation accounts, 1:1-2:3 and 2:4-25. The second account is an expansion of 1:26-27 in typical Hebraic spiral thought.), sudden changes in style, particular divine names in the text, gave rise to this theory based on naturalistic and evolutionary assumptions. No one, however, has produced the J, E, D, and P documents which supposedly lie behind these five books. Also, much of what seemed strange about the Pentateuch in the 18th Century has since been found in other ancient texts.

There are no convincing reasons to abandon Mosaic authorship for several reasons.

1. The earliest and continual traditions of both Christians and Jews call Moses the author of Genesis. The rest of the OT regards Moses as author (Deut 1:8; 2 Kings 13:23; 1 Chron 1:1ff).

2. Jesus and the NT writers called him the author of an essential part of Scripture (Matt 19:4-6, 8; Luke 16:29; 24:27; John 8:56-58; Romans 5:12-15).

3. Moses was a highly educated prince in Egypt (Acts 7:22). Israel was a nation of uneducated slaves. He was the only Hebrew we know of who was literate at this time.

4. Being Jewish, Moses had access to Jewish family records (Gen 5:1; 10:1; 25:19, etc.) brought to Egypt by Jacob (Gen 46). A man bent on freeing the Hebrew slaves might naturally be assumed to know God’s covenants (Gen 3, 9, 12, 17, 22).

5. One striking feature of Genesis is the accuracy of how Moses detailed customs that were no longer practiced in his lifetime. Archaeology has shown the accuracy of his descriptions.

Genesis: Beginnings
Exodus: Redemption
Leviticus: Worship
Numbers: Wandering
Deuteronomy: Renewal