The Cultural Background Of The Pentateuch In Defense Of Mosaic Authorship -- By: Jacob Gaddala

Journal: Journal of Dispensational Theology
Volume: JODT 015:44 (Apr 2011)
Article: The Cultural Background Of The Pentateuch In Defense Of Mosaic Authorship
Author: Jacob Gaddala


The Cultural Background Of The Pentateuch In Defense Of Mosaic Authorship

Jacob Gaddala

Jacob Gaddala, missionary to India; and, Ph.D. student, Piedmont Baptist College and Graduate School, Winston Salem, North Carolina

Most Christians have been taught that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. However, outside the more conservative seminaries and churches, it is commonly held that Moses did not write these books, and that they are a compilation of works by numerous writers over an extended period of time. One author of an Old Testament survey wrote, “It would be foolish, for instance, to rationalize the burning bush, as though this vision were something that could have been seen with the objective eye of a camera.”1 Holders of this view reject the notion of supernatural revelation and regard much of the Pentateuch as folklore and Hebrew storytelling. Conversely, the conservative view holds to Mosaic authorship and regards the books as a literary unit (this does not mean that Moses did not use other documents to write his books). However, since other Old Testament authors affirm Mosaic authorship, as do numerous New Testament writers and the early church fathers, the veracity of the Bible as a whole begins to dissipate if Moses was not the author of the Pentateuch. In this context, this article limits to identify the cultural issues mentioned in the Pentateuch which cannot be explained by a late author and which in themselves defend the Mosaic authorship.

History Of The Documentary Hypothesis

Until the rise of deistic philosophy in the eighteenth century, the Christian church had always accepted the claims of the Pentateuch to be composed by the historic Moses of the fifteenth century BC. A few Jewish scholars, such as the pantheistic Spanish Jew, Benedict Spinoza, had suggested the possibility of later authorship of a least parts of the Torah, but these conjectures had been largely ignored by European scholarship, until the deistic movement created a more favorable attitude for historical skepticism and the rejection of the supernatural. In 1670, Spinoza had expressed the view in his Tracatus Theologico-Politicus that the Pentateuch could hardly have been written by

Moses, since he is referenced in the third person nor could he have recorded his own death, as in Deuteronomy 34.2

French physician Jean Astruc developed the original Documentary Hypothesis in 1753, and it went through many different alterations until Karl Graf revised the initial hypothesis in the mid-nineteent...

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